A common misconception is that a trip to Alaska is expensive. This idea is likely a holdover from the boom-days when the trans-Alaska pipeline was under construction. Back then everything was in short supply - from housing to coffee - so naturally costs ran high. The same thing happened during the gold rush, when a pound of bacon cost 40 cents (that's about $10 in modern-day currency).
But today, Alaska has lower prices than many other places in the U.S. According to the national Consumer Price Index, Anchorage is a lot more affordable than San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston and Honolulu.
According to an annual AAA survey of vacation costs, Alaska is a less expensive destination than about one-fifth of the American states - an average of 22 percent less. In other words, Alaska is priced fairly near the middle.
Lodging and Dining Costs
Accommodations in peak season are typically $130 and up. Restaurants in Alaska charge similar prices as found in most major U.S. cities. Those numbers offer a good starting point for your budget planning. But you also need to consider your individual circumstances and whether meals are included as part of a tour package.
The average Alaskan visitor spends about $140 a day per person on lodging, meals, and activities - essentially everything except the cost of getting here and going home.
However, with a wide range of travel options, from luxury lodges to charming inns, from rustic cabins to backpacking, the cost of an Alaskan vacation can vary. Ultimately, the cost of your trip will be determined by your personal travel style and preferences.
Getting to-and-from your destination is often a large part of a vacation budget. The cost of getting to Alaska can vary widely, depending on your means of transportation. For example, transportation costs can be low, if you find a bargain airfare on the Internet. On the other hand, the cost of a package tour or cruise would include transportation - as well as lodging and meals, and might save money in the long run.
The Bottom Line
Research shows that you'll probably spend about the same as you've spent on past vacations that take you beyond your state borders. So whatever your budget, an unforgettable Alaskan experience really is within your reach!
Ways To Save
- Check for travel deals and specials listed on our site
- Consider traveling in the "shoulder seasons" of May and September
- Take advantage of early booking discounts usually in January and February
- Save on transportation costs by focusing your trip on one region
- Ask about discounts for seniors and children