Ready? Set? Go!

We have surpassed 18 hours of daylight, and having enjoyed a good Memorial Day weekend, we are ready for a great Alaska summer! Are you?

Get ready: If you’re still in the trip planning phase, here’s the order I would make reservations if I were you:

–Get your Denali National Park bus tour reserved first. Their capacity to carry tourists into the park is capped at a certain number, and we will have more visitors to Alaska this summer than ever before. It will be tight at these “bottleneck” areas, at things that all of you want to do!

–Next, decide which days you’re going to either Seward for a Kenai Fjords boat tour, or to Homer, or both, then reserve your flight from home to Anchorage so it encompasses the right days for your plans.

–Next, reserve your cottage or room with us on your way up to Denali, and on the way back for a couple days, before heading south to the Kenai Peninsula. We still have good spots open, depending on the dates you’d like to stay.

Get set: If you have your reservations with us already and just aren’t sure what to do during the days you’ll be in our Mat-Su Valley area, check out the page of my website called Explore the Area. There you’ll find our top recommendations of the best things to do, day-trip itineraries of activities that pair well together, lots of dining and hiking suggestions, and local tips and advice, too.

How should you pack? That’s a toughie. At the moment, it’s darned cold here! But the forecasts are calling for a warmer than usual summer in our area. That probably means early morning temperatures in the high 40s to low 50s, followed by sunny afternoons that somehow manage to feel “hot” at 72-74 degrees! But we’ll have some drizzly days, too, so staying warm and dry is a necessity, too, so you can still get out there and do everything you want to do! An extra pair of socks is great when you go to the glacier in case you accidentally step wrong into a wet spot and get your whole foot soaked. Layers are key–have a long sleeve shirt or jacket that you can peel off when it gets nicer and short sleeves feel better. We offer a guest laundry room, so instead of packing outfits for each day of your trip, think about more kinds of cool/warm weather clothes that you might wear several times during your trip and launder in between.

Oh: And don’t buy brand new hiking boots that you will wear for the first time on that hike you’re planning up here, for goodness sakes! Just wear your tennies or other good, sturdy shoes that you already know and trust. Attaining good footing in shoes with strange grips that are all new to you can be a recipe for a twisted knee or ankle, even though you thought they would provide support, if your foot “sticks” or grips in a way you’re not used to.

Go: If you’ve got a day of adventure in front of you, having sunscreen and bug spray with you is a good idea, as is a bit of TP or tissues in case you need a roadside pit stop and you are miles from a bathroom! Drink more water than you think you should. It can range from breezy toward windy here which is dehydrating. And with it being daylight all the time, you will not have sun cues to tell you the day is getting long and you haven’t sipped enough beverages to stay hydrated. Grab a refillable water bottle at a store and fill up as you go. Almost everywhere in Alaska, the well water is very good tasting. It’s cheaper than bottled, and it saves us having to recycle your plastic. All recyclables are shipped out of Alaska, “backfilling” Wal-Mart shipping containers (Thanks, Wal-Mart!) to the Seattle area. It gets processed there, since we don’t have such large plants to do that here. Recycling actually costs us money and isn’t as easy as putting it out on the curb for someone else to haul away!

Another good take-along is The Alaska App. www.thealaskaapp.com If you download this onto your phone before you leave home, it makes a great on-board guide as you drive through Alaska. You don’t need an Internet signal to get to its wide variety of content, and you’ll learn so much more if you’re reading the history of the area, facts about topography and animals, and the best places to eat or stop along the way.

A last good habit I’ve learned from other guests is to edit your photos every day and delete the ones that aren’t so great, to free up more room for tomorrow’s great shots!

I hope these tips will help you arrange the best Alaska vacation you can have this summer! I hope to see you soon!

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