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PittsburghNative

Alaska on a budget: Favorite tour companies you have used

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I’m trying to save some money by doing most of my excursions through a vendor. I’m visiting Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, Sitka, ISP and Victoria.

 

Im already set for Skagway, as I booked directly through Temsco for a heli/dogsledding tour.

 

Any recommendations of companies you have dealt with? I also don’t know if I should explore on my own both Ketchikan and ISP. I will say I’m not interested in flight seeing, fishing, and whale watching.

 

Any advice will be much appreciated!

Edited by PittsburghNative

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Every port is covered, with the recommended vendors, just down the board. Not sure how we can tell you whether or not you should DIY or private tour in any ports...that would depend on what you want to do. We DIY a lot in ports, its usually even less expensive than private tours. All it takes is some research. 

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19 hours ago, CruiserBruce said:

Every port is covered, with the recommended vendors, just down the board. Not sure how we can tell you whether or not you should DIY or private tour in any ports...that would depend on what you want to do. We DIY a lot in ports, its usually even less expensive than private tours. All it takes is some research. 

 

I was researching different third party vendors and several come up at each port...it’s hard to choose between vendors when you know nothing about them.

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We are not allowed to name a vendor unless we have used them, so any comments here are considered recommendations. TripAdvisor is another great place to get recommendations.

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In Juneau I've used Juneau Car Rental and Avis to do my own excursions for the day.  First time was Avis and this past May I used Juneau.  I didn't really have a problem with either except the lady at the Avis office was not there (gone to get gas in a car....I was told) so we had to waste about 30-45 minutes waiting on her to get back.  (Why she would go right when she knew we were going to arrive???)  Juneau Car Rental was right near where we docked at AJ so we walked a couple hundred yards and the car was immediately ready.  If you book well in advance you can get a good deal - probably less than $75 for the day plus refilling the gas tank.  We went to Mendenhall Glacier both trips (free parking - minimal entry fee) and out to St. Therese Shrine.  We enjoyed our day.


In Ketchikan we rented a car from First City Car Rental which was EXCELLENT.  Their rep met us at the dock with the car parked nearby.  About 5 minutes of signing docs on an iPad and we were on our way - less than $100 for the day plus refilling the gas tank.  We returned the car to the parking lot near our berth and locked the keys inside.  We were able to ride north from the center of town to Totem Bight and then all the way to the end of the road to Settler's Cove.  Settler's Cove is sort of a state park with picnic areas, walking trails, waterfalls, etc.  Very nice!  We also drove south out of town to a blacksmith shop I knew about from previous visit.

 

Renting a car for the day in either town is a very economical way of seeing the place at your own pace.  I don't like being herded onto a bus with 50 other tourists and like the freedom of stopping wherever we want.  Do a little research on what there is to see and you'll not be driving at random.  It's almost impossible to get lost as there is only one main highway.

 

We also rented a car for the day in Sitka - I looked back at your ports...  There's a bus that will take you to the main sites but, as I said, I like  freedom.  I think the car in Sitka was right around $100 too.  We grabbed a cab the second we got off the ship at the Old Sitka Dock and picked our car up at the airport - reversing the process at the end of the day.  We drove to The Fortress of the Bear, the Alaska Raptor Center then parked near downtown (free parking) to walk around and shop plus see a few of the historic sites (St. Michael's Cathedral and the Russian Bishop's House) and eat lunch.  The post office is on the way to or from The Fortress of the Bear & Raptor Center if you need stamps or to mail something.

 

Good luck!

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