Car Rentals-- When you receive your rental car take a good look at the tires. If they look worn do not hesitate to ask for a car with better tires. It is common for travelers to get flats, especially in summer-- because the rental car companies are not doing good maintenance on the tires. In winter, do get a mid-size car or larger. The rental companies do not put snow tires on their cars. In winter do reserve a 4 wheel or all wheel drive car. You need it. Don't let the rental car company tell you otherwise. They will say their car has all season tires. This just means it doesn't have snow tires and if you are driving on anything but a flat road or no ice road you may well get into trouble.
Arriving in Alaska by Air-- If you are delayed, and will be getting in late (like after mid-night), do call your rental agency and ask them to wait for you.
Should I Rent a Car or Do Cabs? By all means, rent a car when you are traveling in Alaska. The beauty of the state and the wonderful surprises happen when you drive around. Also, Alaska does not have good public transportation and cabs are very expensive.
Weather Summer-- How should I pack? Pack for cold and very hot. No matter where you are in Alaska in summer, the weather can go from very cold to amazingly hot very quickly. Alaska has a lot of mini-weather systems. It does not matter what the weather forecast is. In the place where you are standing, you may have your own weather. Here at Dale and Jo View Suites we have experience it raining on one side of the house and not the other. Also, you will find the weather 5 to 8 degrees warmer if you are up on a mountain, ridge or other higher elevation.
Being Safe-- Wild Water in Alaska-- If you are doing anything around natural water in Alaska, be aware that our water stays extremely cold all year. If you fall in, you will quickly become hypothermic. Do not assume that you can swim your way out of a canoe turning over.
Being Safe-- Alaska Animals-- Moose look cute but they will stomp you to death if you get too close or get between them and their young. Black bears kill more people than brown bears. Do not view bears with any food on you. If you have been handling food, clean your hands and mouth well before viewing bears. Hike with a bell or make noise as you hike. Most bear attacks happen because the hiker surprised the bear. Remember run from a moose. Stand your ground for a bear. If it is winter and you out aurora viewing and you encounter wolves, stand close together (if you are more than one person).Then move as a group to shelter. Do not run. If you are one person walk backwards, facing the wolves, and move back to shelter.
Being Safe-- Your pets-- A wolf can take down a 100 pound dog and run with it in it's mouth. If you are traveling with a dog keep it on a leash. Lost dogs are mostly eatten dogs in Alaska.
Being Safe-- Pack water always. Fairbanks is very dry, but all of Alaska is spread out and you may find yourself far from safe drinking water. When hiking take twice as much water as you think you need.
Being Safe-- Crime-- Do not leave your car unlocked ever. Do not leave anything valuable in a restaurant or out in easy view in your car. Thieves look for easy cars to steal, ipods, camera's, and, of course, pocket books.
Alaska Insects-- Pack a mosiquito head net. If you are in a low area you may get swarmed by mosiquitos. Spray a hat, shoes, socks, and the back of your hands. Rather than spray your face, it can be more pleasant to spray a scarf you wear around your neck. Bug spray usually needs to be reapplied after 20 minutes. Watch out for black flies. You will almost not notice a fly buzz by you. They are quiet and quick. But black flies leave bad bites that cause some people to get hives. If you notice a fly being interested in you, get far away from it. Bug spray does not seem to deter black flies. They are most common in open areas. Wasps in Alaska come in many varieties. Many are meat eatters and are aggressive. Pay attention. Do not let a wasp lite on your skin, they will bite as well as sting.