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  1. #1

    Default 2-week roadtrip from minneapolis to anchorage and beyond.

    on august 26th, 2011, two friends and myself will be embarking on what i hope to be the most epic adventure of all time. we will be traveling from minnesota to alaska, hoping to visit denali, homer, anchorage, fairbanks, etc. we will try to fit in as much as we can before we head back. one of my fellow travelers has lived in alaska before, and i was born in homer, although i have not been back since i was very young. as we are in the preliminary planning stages of this trip, and i am an organizing nerd, i would love some insight from seasoned road-trippers.

    we are planning to rent a vehicle in minnesota, and return it there at the end of the two weeks. we are hoping to make it there in four days. once we arrive, we will have some friends here and there to stay with, but were hoping to camp in denali at some point as well.

    since the farthest i've traveled by vehicle is from minneapolis to chicago, i welcome any and all advice. :)

    does it make more sense to rent an rv for the two weeks so we can save costs by cutting out hotel stays? or should we stick with a midsize vehicle and crash at a hotel only when we absolutely have to?

    is four days a reasonable amount of time to allow ourselves to get to alaska?

    is it a good idea to camp in denali? what are the chances of being visited by a grizzly bear?

    i'm sure i will think of more questions, but for now, i just want advice...and of course to make new friends on the forum. :)

    thanks all!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default big problems

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    You've got a few major problems with your plan.

    First is the amount of time. 2 weeks is barely enough time to drive to Alaska and back. Your plan to make it there in 4 days is simply not possible.

    MSP to Anchorage is nearly 3200 miles. On interstate freeways, you'd need a minimum of 5-6 days to cover that distance, but the Alaska highway is a much more rugged and slow going road. Basically you are looking at a minimum of 7 days of hard driving, each way.

    Even if you have more time, I suspect your idea for transportation is going to be very problematic as well. Most rental car companies will not allow you to drive their cars to Alaska. An RV will certainly not be a money saving option, as it will cost you significantly more than a car/motel trip. However, if you find a car to make this work, trying to sacrifice sleep to save money is not a good plan either. If you aren't staying in motels, then you need to find another option like camping, because having 3 people try to sleep inside any car is just not going to work.

    Sorry to start you out with bad news, but you've got quite a bit of work ahead of you in terms of making changes to your initial idea, if you want to create a reasonable plan that will actually be the fun adventure you are looking for.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I'm afraid that the only reasonable way to see that much of Alaska with only 2 weeks is fly to Anchorage and rent a car or a RV there and fly back.

  4. #4


    thanks for the replies! i'm glad i started on this site sooner than later...i will definitely be re-tooling the trip, perhaps to three weeks, and do some research as to whether or not driving the rental car across the border will be an issue.

    it's too bad that cost plays such a huge part in this. i would love to rent a car and take a reasonable amount of time to get over there...oh well, i'll figure it out.

    thanks so much for the advice!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Driving a rental to Alaska

    It is possible to drive a rental car to Alaska.

    In 2004, I rented a vehicle from Budget in Seattle, and questioned - when making enquiries; again when booking; and again when I picked up the car - if I could drive this car 'all' over the United States, and if I could drive in Canada. Each time I was assured that I could drive it anywhere in North America north of the Mexican border. The only limitation was crossing the Mexican border.

    At no time did I tell them I intended to drive this vehicle to Alaska. I focused on 'all' of the United States and Canada.

    [As well, I questioned their unlimited mileage policy. I did not want to get back and find there was some definition of unlimited miles, of which I was not aware. They assured me that I could do 60K miles if I wanted to. Ended up driving 6400 miles in 28 days.]

    This was by no means a leisurely trip, in fact it was for the most part quite rushed, with little time for sightseeing and photography. Went to Seward, Anchorage and Fairbanks.

    One thing you need to remember is the speed at which you will travel on the Alcan and northern roads in general. Usually 80 kph, but in areas of wildlife it can be as low as 40 kph. Besides wildlife, you need to make allowance for road construction. It is constant, hold ups are frequent and unending.

    And then there were the delays for wildfires. Often there were road closures or pilot cars to take traffic through the worst affected areas. Waiting 45 mins at any of these, was not uncommon.

    Having driven to Alaska and back twice, both in the early season (May - June) and at the end of the season (August - September), I can assure you there was no difference.

    Lifey recommends you take at least 21 days

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