So You're Going to Alaska (A Few Things You Should Know)
Things to Know About Alaska
So you are going on a trip to Alaska. Congratulations! You will see a wide variety of beautiful scenery, majestic animals, glaciers, and have many adventures. However, depending on where you are coming from, Alaska can be a whole other world. There are a few things to know before you go to Alaska, although they are mostly minor annoyances. This is a list of things that will better prepare you for your adventure to the United State's "Last Frontier".
- The climate is dry. Some areas of the world are the same as Alaska when it comes to having a dry climate. The people coming from those areas are used to it. But others that come from humid areas will find a dry climate can be quite different. It is essential to bring some type of body lotion with you to keep your skin from drying out. It can happen pretty quickly, within a few days to two weeks. It's better to be prepared.
- The Sun. Alaska, during the summer, has very long days. It's common knowledge. Around Anchorage, it will be dusk at 11 pm during the summer solstice. If you are travel for the summer, be prepared to be hard-pressed to sleep when it's dark. A suggestion would be to bring a sleeping mask with you for your trip. During the winter, it is dark most of the day, so sleeping will not be a problem so much as keeping awake will be.
- Wild Animals. Many people hope to see animals such as moose, bears, otters, and whales on a trip to Alaska. Bears and moose are those that you will see just wondering around, moose more so than bears. If you see one on a drive and decide to take a picture, be aware of the cars behind you. Also, that they are wild. Also, that if you hit one in a car, you are completely destroying your car. A little fun-fact: Alaska car insurance must cover windshield replacement. During the winter, plows do not use salt to melt the snow and ice on the roads. They simply use sand. Because sand, rocks and other particles of dirt will fly up and crack car windshields easily, the car must have insurance that covers the damage. If they did use salt, bears and moose will come into the road more often to lick it, causing accidents.
- Cellphones. Most everyone has a cellphone now. But Alaska has most of the cellphone towers in populated areas. Your cellphone may not have a signal if you leave the cities, which can prevent problems if something were to go wrong. In short, cellphones outside of cities are not as reliable. Just be prepared.
- Gas Stations. It seems like it would be as common to have a gas station in every town in Alaska as it is with almost every other area in the United States. In fact, to some, it can be more obvious since Alaska has a good amount of oil. However, that is not true. Outside of the cities, gas stations are rare. It is a good idea to fill up your tank before leaving for an adventure and refilling the tank at the destination, if possible.
- Earthquakes. Many areas of Alaska are on or near a fault-line. Earthquakes happen. Most of the time, they are small and not too dangerous. For a person not used to Earthquakes, they can be scary when it wakes you up in the middle of the night. But just be prepared to experience some.
- Cost. Almost everything is more expensive in Alaska. Case-in-point, a well known 24 inch sandwich from a common US fastfood chain is $6 instead of $5. But not everything is extremely expensive, since during the tourist season, it is possible to find adventures that are cheaper than others.
Alaska has a lot to offer people. There are day-cruises, glaciers, hiking, camping, shopping, culture, and many other wonderful things to experience. Every day can bring you something new. Besides from the minor annoyances of Earthquakes, cost, possible sleep-deprivation and the major possible annoyance of your phone not having a signal, Alaska is wonderful. Keep in mind, when you do visit, that the people are friendly and many will have experienced or know someone who has experienced your particular adventure and can offer you suggestions to make it even more fun or safe. Enjoy your trip to "The Last Frontier".