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It’s important to start planning your trip to Denali, Alaska in advance. Visiting Denali is a once-in-a-lifetime trip for a lot of people. Advance planning will help you get the best rates on your vacation and make sure that you get the accommodations and excursions that you want. Last-minute deals do exist. However, if you have a family or a big group, these deals may not work with your situation.
Give yourself time to learn about the things to do in Denali and their prices. Then plan accordingly. If you wait too long to book excursions, you risk missing out.
Here is a recommended timeline for what to start planning for and when, so that you have the best vacation possible.
1 year before your trip
No matter when you plan on coming to Alaska, you are likely to find an experience unlike anything you have ever done. Here are the things we recommend doing one year before your vacation in Denali:
- Take the time to think ahead about your budget, what you want to get out of your time here and build a list of things you know for sure you don’t want to miss out on.
- Start discussing your plans with your friends and family and whoever you plan on traveling with. Decide on travel dates that work with everyone’s schedule.
- Consider booking an adventure tour. Adventure tour companies generally start accepting reservations for the following season in September and often have deals for people who book early. As an example, if you want to visit for the summer solstice, you can book about 9 months in advance.
6 months before your trip
With 6 months to go before your trip to Denali, it’s time to make reservations!
- Book your flights. You don’t want to wait too long because the closer you get to your desired travel dates, the more expensive flights will be.
- Book your travel accommodations. Hotels, campsites, RV parks, and other accommodations in Denali fill up quickly, especially during the peak summer season. If you have a specific property in mind, don’t wait too long to book it.
- Will you be camping inside or outside Denali National Park? Reserve your campsite and start testing your camping gear.
- Book a pet hotel near home for your pets. Or confirm with a friend/family member that they will watch them. You have your travel accommodations, make sure Princess has hers!
- Start planning your daily itinerary. When you take a once in a lifetime trip, you don’t want to leave your activities to chance. Plan out which day you want to visit the park and which days you want to spend outside the park. For example, if you take a bus tour into the park in the morning, there is time to eat when you get back and then go on an adventure tour, like a guided ATV tour.
- Traveling from overseas? Make sure you have your travel documents in order at this point, such as your passport and any visas that may be required for your trip. If you’re traveling from the lower 48, you won’t need a visa and passports are optional.
1 month before your trip
Now is the time to make a list of everything you need for your trip!
- Make sure you have all the necessary clothing and gear for whatever activities you have planned. Do you need binoculars? Or extra batteries for your GoPro?
- Think about what you need to do to prepare your home for being gone for an extended period of time, such as stopping your mail or arranging for someone to check on your house.
- Make copies of all your important documents, such as your passport and driver’s license, in case you lose them while on your trip.
A few weeks before your trip
At this point, you should have everything you need for your trip, and you can start getting excited!
- Double check your packing list and start packing your bags.
- Make a list of last-minute things you need to do, such as withdrawing cash from the ATM or picking up travel insurance.
- Start looking up restaurants you want to eat at and attractions you want to visit so that you can make sure you have them all in your travel itinerary.
A few days before your trip
By this point, you should be all packed and ready to go!
- Double-check your travel itinerary to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.
- Let your boss know that there is a good chance you’ll fall in love with Alaska and decide to stay.
- All that’s left to do now is relax and enjoy your vacation!
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