Tips On Planning A Trip To Fairbanks || Knoxville TN Destination Photographer
As most of you may know in November of 2015 I took a major bucket list trip to Fairbanks, AK. The purpose of the trip was to chase the Northern Lights (check out that blog post) and of course to explore Alaska for the week. It’s so hard to put into words how amazing Alaska was, it was seriously like being on another plant!
The Alaskan way of life is so much different than any other way of life I have experienced in here in America. The people in Alaska still depend on the land for a lot of things. They hunt for a lot of there meat and a lot of people still use animal skin for winter clothing such as gloves, hats and coats. The winters are unforgiving so their houses have to be built a certain way and even their cars have to be plugged in at night to to a special heater so they will start the next morning. Daylight or lack of daylight plays a big part into how they life out everyday life. Alaska can range from 0 hours of daylight to 24 hours of daylight depending on what part you are in so that fact alone can change how to day plays out.
Despite me going during the time of year where Fairbanks was only getting an average of about six hours of sunlight, I still had an amazing time! Each day I would explore as much as I could, go back to the hotel take evening nap, have dinner, watch tv and then get geared up to go chase the Northern Lights… just to do it all again the next day. My time in Fairbanks was spent juicing it for all it was worth, but I defiantly have some tips that will help you get the most out of Alaska adventure.
Tips On Planning A Trip To Fairbanks
- Determine what you want to see while you are in Fairbanks. The reason I say this is things like The Aurora Borealis (aka Northern Lights), different types of wildlife or parks like Denali National Park are only available to see certain times during the year. Most people don’t realize this until it’s too late and they are already in Alaska. I chased the Northern Lights, went dog sledding, took a mail plane to The Arctic Circle and explored random roads daily.
- Buy Arctic gear. REI and Zappos.com have great selections of sizes and options for both shoes and clothing. This tip is a must if you plan to be in Alaska during any part of the winter. When I was there and out shooting the Northern Lights it got -18 below, meaning that if I would have taken my gloves off and touched my tripod my fingers would have received frostbit.
- Rent a 4-wheel drive truck, its a must no question about it. However wait to upgrade once you arrive at the airport. You’ll save money if you rent a economy car online and then upgrade it.
- Book your flight and hotel in advance. The farther out you book them the cheaper you can get them. For me the hotel didn’t need to be luxurious because I would be out exploring, however looking back it may have been good to have booked a nicer hotel. Seeing there was little daylight I did spend more hours in the hotel than I normally would have, so I’d say this would depend on when you are traveling to Fairbanks.
- Explore places to eat. Eat local! The Loose Moose Cafe is my favorite place to eat in Fairbanks. I think of this place and I crave their buffalo, cheese and jalapeño dog and fries! The staff is pretty awesome as well, I made some lifelong friends Sarah and Kolby there! (can’t wait to see them again) Also if you can find a potlatch or pot-luck at a local event go because you may be able to score some moose meat. You can’t buy moose meat in Alaska, so it would be a treat to be able to try it. I didn’t get to try it but I did find a potluck and was able to try some awesome traditional Alaskan food.
- Plan to have your plans changed! I always try to plan out my trips loosely anywhere I go. I like to have a list of things I want to do, but not to plan them so tight that I end up hating my vacation. Plus, with Alaska’s weather your plans could be changed for you very fast. Here are some things to do in Fairbanks if you missed my past blog.
- JUST GO! Top thinking about it and do it!!