Go Wild With an RV Adventure

RV trips through Alaska can be an adventure for the whole family. (Photo courtesy www.pacetrek.com, Paul Staso)

For those who missed yesterday’s fabulous Alaska Travelgram Show and special guest Cindy Draper of ABC Motorhome & Car Rentals can be found HERE. RV travel in Alaska is both big business and big fun, and Cindy did a great job outlining all the ways a family can enjoy road-trippin’ the 49th state.

AKontheGO has received a few inquiries specific to family travel via the RV, and since we’ve taken the plunge to drive Alaska’s highways with a toddler and a ‘tween, we have a few points of clarification and survival to offer. Please, readers, if you have other ways to make an RV journey more enjoyable for kids and parents, do comment below. We’d love to hear your suggestions!

Personal Space: Let’s be realistic; there is not a ton of personal space inside the typical RV rented at a business like ABC. That said, there are ways to mitigate the situation, mostly surrounding the area of packing. We found that allowing AK Kid to sleep in our bed took away the need for a pack n’ play. Big AK Kid kept all his stuff up in the overcab area and slept there every night. (Ours was a 24 ft rental).

Boots, outdoor gear, chairs, and some boxes of extra food we stored in the myriad lockers located under the vehicle. Amazing amount of space. RV factories know how to maximize space, use it all.

Miles of open space await visitors to Alaska's backcountry.

Cost: With fuel prices approaching $5/gallon just about everywhere in the U.S., it is a valid question for a family to ponder. Should we suck up the gas or pay for a hotel? As we mentioned on the show yesterday, cost is relative when visiting Alaska. Lodging is expensive everywhere. Plan to pay a minimum of $199/night (on average) for a hotel room at an ordinary, chain-owned establishment. Multiply that, perhaps, by extra charges for more kids/family and multiple nights, and a bill of $1,000 is easily attained. RV’s, with their self-contained kitchens boasting microwaves, ovens, and stoves, can cut drastically down on the normal daily vacation food bill X 3. Worth considering.

ABC offers discounts for military, senior, and AAA. They also provide a reduced rate for early booking and trips over two weeks, and multiple units rented at once. Grab the family or a bunch of friends and make a caravan!

Instruction: Yes, you can drive an RV. Yes, ABC can and will give you a primer on driving. Try to avoid backing up. Ask AK Dad about this, heh heh. Don’t forget to ask about procedures for filling up water and dumping sewage.

Little Things: It’s always about the little things with kids, isn’t it? Although ABC and many other companies offer a lovely package of the basics one will need (especially wonderful if from out of town), here are some items we found helpful to pick up at the local store or from our garage….

Paper towels, garbage bags (extra strong), dish cloths, rags, and a small whisk broom. Call me crazy, but I like a clean camp, and Alaska is a gritty, muddy sorta place.

Small mat or rug for outside the door. See why above. Shoes off, please.

Ask for extra bath-sized towels or more blankets to block out late-night light. Trust me on this.

Alaska Milepost. Awesome mile-by-mile book full of current road info, lodging, and activity information. Find one at any Alaska Costco. Ask for it, everyone knows. Bonus! It’s a great tool for kids to act as “navigator”….

Games, toys, etc. Coloring books, craft supplies, decks of cards, Yatzee all worked well for us. If an Alaska resident, bring bikes. A standard hitch will fit any bike rack, which saved us from additional driving, and provided a chance to explore a community in depth. Valdez, Seward, and Anchorage all have wonderful trail systems suitable for any ability.

An RV trip around Alaska can mean immersion into a wild, untamed side of the state many visitors miss. Visit ABC Motorhome for sample itineraries and lists of activities, or tell us your own RV adventure.

Bon Voyage!

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