There are some places on Earth that are changing or disappearing at an alarming rate. Glaciers are melting, cultures are being lost, languages are dying, animals are going extinct. We live in a crazy time. Wow! I sound so pessimistic I might get a gig on CNN or FOX News or could run for President in the Republican party!
Alaska happens to be of those rapidly changing places. Aside from change, there are a few factors making Alaska an appealing travel destination in the very short term. Let me tell you about it.
1. Northern Lights
The northern lights are in a heightened state of activity, and the winter of 2015/2016 should be a great time to see them. If you check out the Alaska photography Facebook groups, you will see near daily photos of the sky blowing up in crazy colors. In a few years these nightly displays will be diminished and visitors hoping to see them will be disappointed. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
2. Glaciers Are Melting
Last year when I walked up and saw Exit Glacier near Seward for the first time in 7 years, my heart sank. The Glacier has retreated so much that it isn’t even that incredible anymore. Unless you are hiking up to the top, I’d almost recommend skipping it.
Having said that, what remains of the glaciers can be truly incredible but some of the most accessible glaciers will continue to recede. Don’t wait too long.
3. You Aren’t Getting Any Younger
Okay, this is going to be playfully ageist, but stay with me for a minute. Most visitors to Alaska are, in a word, old. The Alaska Tourism Board ran a now defunct campaign called Alaska Before You Die, with catchy billboards like this:
We used to joke that is should be amended to say ” See Alaska RIGHT before you die,” or “See Alaska while you are dying.” The best part about visiting Alaska is the adventure of hiking, kayaking, rafting and exploring the wilderness. It is difficult to do this with a knee replacement or a pacemaker.
Too many tourists go around the state in a tour bus, experiencing the Great Land through a window, not unlike watching a documentary. Go while you are young or young at heart. Go while you can properly enjoy it!
4. Alaska Is A Relatively Good Deal Right Now
Alaska can be expensive. Shipping food and supplies to the state isn’t cheap, and since most hotels and tour companies are only open 4 months a year, they have a limited time to make money. This leads to higher prices across the board.
However, Alaska is relatively cheap right now. Due to a price war with Delta and AK Airlines, flights to Juneau have been very low lately, and cheaper gas prices worldwide have led to cheaper flights in general. In fact, if you rent a car, you can get gas for under $4 a gallon – dirt cheap by our standards.
In addition, there has been a building boom the last few years. In Denali Park, for example, approximately 750 hotel rooms have built in the last 10 years. If you travel during the shoulder season, there are deals to be had.
5. I work in Tourism
My wife and I work in the tourism industry, and your dollars help support us. So please come soon. If you are an American and you go overseas to travel, you don’t love America and your act is almost treasonous. So come visit and tip well.
Anyone have a trip to Alaska planned soon?