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Alaska land tour


Frozen-two-some
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Who knows what will happen next summer but Alaska is experiencing a severe labor shortage.  The 2022 policy for the Denali Princess complex and the McKinley Chalets is that they are only booking their cruise tour clients.  I don't know the situation with the Denali Bluffs or the Grande Denali.  But there are also hotels, small inns and B&Bs in the Healy area which is located about 11 miles north of the Denali National Park entrance.

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I think booking independently is the better way to go. You can control your schedule and see what you want to see. A rental car gives you the most options. Reserve in November and watch for price drops.

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We are doing our own land tour as it gives you more flexibility and you get to see more. We had no problems reserving hotels, car etc, but having said that we did reserve everything 12 months in advance.

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There are plenty of Vrbo and Airbnb options in Alaska.  However, it is hard to find rental cars.  We ended up booking a car with Turo for our trip next month, and there were plenty of choices there, at a lower cost than the Rental Car companies.

 

We are doing a hybrid this year, exploring the Seward and Kenai Fjords area before joining our tour group in Anchorage.  Then once we get to Dawson City, we are renting a car there and doing those two days on our own. Lots of people choose to rent a car in Skagway to drive to Canada, which is a great way to spend a day, also.

 

But the included trains and flights with the land tour were worth doing through HAL.  Also, in Alaska, there is not much difference in cost doing excursions with HAL vs. booking directly with private companies.  The $10 difference is what we would have spent to get to the tour company location via ride share.  We are booking some private excursions at our port stops because what we wanted to do is not offered currently by the cruise line, and we are happy with our choices.

 

However, if traveling to the Yukon is not in your plans anyway, and you will just be traveling to Denali, then by all means, you can rent a car and easily do it on your own and explore areas not covered by the typical land tours.

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Both (DIY and cruise tour)  have pros and cons.  You can certainly plan a DIY trip and customize to what you want.   However, we really enjoyed our cruise land tour.   I just am not a fan of driving while on vacation, I do enough of that in my normal life !  Plus we really enjoyed meeting others in the group, I think I would have missed that.   The two options are quite different experiences I would say, but both have advantages.  

 

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