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Flying vs Driving

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Flying vs Driving

So my friends and I were planning our spring break trip and we were thinking of going up to Alaska, probably Fairbanks. We were talking about whether we should fly or drive up there. We are from Minnesota so we know that we would need passports to drive up there and that it would take probably 3 or 4 days. Flying would be the fastest way but is it cheaper than driving? I already looked up some flight and hotel deals and they don't seem too bad but then we would have to rent a car and since we are all only 21 we either wouldn't be able to or there would be an additional surcharge. Basically we are trying to figure out the cheapest way to get there.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
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44 reviews
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1. Re: Flying vs Driving

You do know that probably your typical spring break - March? - that it is still winter here . . .are you wanting to see Alaska in the winter?

Really depends on how much time you have - most people plan on a week to drive each way . . . and then at least 7-10 days to explore Alaska. Do you have that much time off? If you only have a week, flying would be the only sensible option. As far as cheaper, think of gas in Canada, motels/eating out, etc. Really would depend on the price of the air tickets to know if it is cheaper or not. :)

Soldotna, Alaska
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2. Re: Flying vs Driving

The ALCAN at that time can be unpredictable. I have driven it to and from minnesota 3 times in the spring and fall. 2x in may and once in april. Last april we got stranded in a snowstorm in the mountains. Plows are few and far between so If you don't have a 4wd vehicle I wouldn't plan on driving it. The drive is gorgeous, however with your limited time not feasible. its a 4-6day drive depending on how you drive, vehicle issues and weather one way. If you want to do Alaska on limited time, fly. Take a few weeks in the summer and make the drive, Its a great experience and you will get to experience what Alaska is really about. Also, Most of the drive is long and boring.

Wasilla, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Alaska
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3. Re: Flying vs Driving

If your goal is to just drive the Alcan and not see any of Alaska other than a few hours in Fairbanks, you should have time to drive it, unless you get caught up in a weather event or have mechanical problems.

Why Fairbanks? As mentioned, it'll still be winter here in Alaska.

If you fly into Anchorage, you could spend your time at the Alyeska Resort at Girdwood and do some skiing or snowboarding.

Anchorage, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Anchorage
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13,064 posts
234 reviews
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4. Re: Flying vs Driving

Previous posters have good responses...

I'm with Andrew on the time it takes to drive here; 4-6 days minimum, one-way.

A possible estimate on the drive could look like this:

Gas roundtrip (6,000 miles @ 20mpg - 300 gallons) = $1200

Hotels (10 nights, 2 rooms, $150/night) = $3000

Food (10 days, 4 people?, $25/day) = $1000

So just for 10 days of travel to get you here and home in a car it's over $5000.

Plane tix for 4 people = $750 * 4 = $3000

Car rental (under 21) = $1000 (for an SUV with: http://www.highcountryanchorage.com/)

Total to get here & have a car = $4000

The rest of the costs while here should be the same regardless of what you do (I think!).

Lake Tahoe...
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63 reviews
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5. Re: Flying vs Driving

That's some Spring Break (and in my day it was known only as Easter Vacation - and only for a week ending on Easter). I'm also surprised being from frigid Minnesota they are asking such a question about driving.

What would I do? I'd go home and visit my folks who are paying for my education (unless you are on your own) or spend a week at a ski resort. Can't do anything like that anymore. Excuse my judging here

6. Re: Flying vs Driving

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