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  1. Default San Francisco to Anchorage, next August

    I will probably travel to the West Coast next July and will be in Eugene or SF (undecided yet) on July 31st. I will then need to be in Anchorage on August 8th, and a road trip through Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alaska sounded like a lot more fun than a plane ticket! That would be a week for 4000 or 5000km.

    However, if you forget about 24h in NYC last summer, I've never been to North America (I live in Denmark, though I'm French), so I don't really know what it's like to drive over there, and I have no idea of the price of such an expedition. I would have to rent a car and then give it back in Alaska (I'll fly back from Anchorage two weeks later), and then of course there is fuel... Could you please give me just a very rough idea of how much I can expect to have to pay for all that? And any other tip/advice/warning would be more than welcome, as I don't really know what to expect.

    Also, I don't think it's doable by myself (too tiring and expensive) and haven't found (yet) any friends to come with me, so if you are interested or know where I can find people who would be, please let me know :)

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default That's an ambitious trip for a first-time roadtrip in North America!

    Welcome to the RTA forums!

    The first thing you'll need to do is figure out if you can even rent a car to do this. You will want to contact the major car rental agencies via their websites (Hertz, Avis, Budget, National, Nationwide, are the main ones that I'm aware of) and get quotes. Make sure they understand your route, pick-up and drop-off points, and that you'll be driving through Canada.

    Another option that will be equally as scenic would be to drop off your car in Bellingham, WA, and take the Alaska Marine Highway up to Anchorage. This is a ferry that will be taking the same route that people take cruises to see. You will see some awesome scenery and even have time to get out at a few of the stops along the way and explore a bit. If the car rental issue doesn't work out, this is a very viable option and far more fun and scenic than flying would be.

    I don't have any idea how much the car rental will be. You're really going to have to spend some time at those car rental websites exploring this. Rates really vary a lot depending on location, time-frame, type of car, amount of drop-off fee, etc. I would imagine that this is going to cost you, at minimum, $1000 just for the rental and drop-off fee. Probably quite a bit more. And it's also possible that you will be unable to find a one-way rental for these routes. Out of curiousity, I tried Budget and it doesn't appear to allow this kind of rental. Hope you have better luck with the other companies.

    I would expect gas will run you about $600-700.

    Lodging will vary depending on whether you choose low-end or high-end lodging; camping vs. hotels, for example. Camping will normally run your about $15-25/night. For hotels, $50-80 is an average range.

    Eating out of your cooler will probably cost you about $10-12/day. Fastfood meals start at about $5 and then costs go up from there depending on restaurant and the type of food you select. If you eat all meals in restaurants, but pick fairly simple meals in moderate-priced restaurants, I think you could eat for about $40-50/day.

    The Milepost is considered a must for planning a roadtrip from the continental US through Canada into Alaska.

    Please let us know how we can help you further after you've done a bit more research.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Possible Third Option

    Bienvenue sur les forums de RoadTrip Amérique! Velkommen! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    I don't think you're going to be able to find a rental car company that will let you drop a 'lower 48' car off in Alaska for any price. I tried my usual search engines and was unsuccessful. I even tried using a few of the major companies' sites, again without any luck. But there is an alternative that would let you see some of the gorgeous scenery on the way up to Alaska and that is to take the ferry from the Seattle area. There is train service from either San Francisco or Eugene to Seattle and then you would take the Alaska Marine Highway (ferry) to Juneau - Valdez - Whittier and then by bus to Anchorage. The train should cost around $75-100 and the ferry on the order of $550-600, and it might take a few days to complete the entire journey from San Francisco to Anchorage.


  4. Default

    Thanks a lot to both of you, it is extremely helpful. I realize that even if it was possible, I just couldn't afford driving a rental all the way. The ferry solution looks pretty amazing, and I've always wanted to travel by boat, so I think it will be a quite easy decision :)
    Amtrak is going all the way from Eugene to Bellingham, which is where the ship departs from. But I think I'll only go to Juneau and then take a bus (if I can find one) or fly the remainder of the way, as it is an extra 250$ to go to Whittier. Do you have any idea what the cheapest way to get to Anchorage from Juneau is, by any chance? And also whether Heines or Juneau are worth spending a couple of days in (good dayhikes, maybe?)


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default water access only

    The ferry will really be your only option if you want to go to/from Juneau. I believe it has the distinction of being the only state capitol that isn't accessable by highway. There is a land connection via Haines, but I think its unlikely that you'll find regular bus service from there to Anchorage.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Extra days in places...sure!

    Juneau and Haines are both places that people take vacations at. I've not been to either so I can't give you any specific recommendations for things to do at either but I'm very confident a quick look around these forums or a google on the web will yield a variety of things worth a few extra days.

  7. #7


    juneau has quite a bit of hiking and is a good town. many people spend at least a day in juneau and a day in haines. haines is a popular cruise stop.

    the cheapest way from juneau to anch. is by ferry, however is will take quite a bit longer than flying. it may be worth the money to fly to anchorage and save time. i don't beleive there is any bus connection from haines to anchorage. if there was anybody would be crazy to use it. it is , i believe it is at least a 24 hour drive if not longer. for the cost of a bus ticket the ferry or flying would be far better.

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