Saturday, February 20, 2016

Alaska Travel - 3 Tips to Making It Real!

As a traveler coming to Alaska, you know that choosing a place to stay can make or break the enjoyment your trip provides: a safe, quiet, and welcoming accommodation offering a good night’s sleep is key! As a B&B host for nearly ten years and traveler myself, I have that desire wherever I travel, and recently, I found two articles featuring guidelines for picking where to stay.

Telegraph Traveler’s destination expert, Tim Jepson, suggests in his Alaska Travel Guide that confining yourself to the waters by cruising prevents you from experiencing many of Alaska’s wonders. He offers tips for high season, shoulder season, and winter travel from North America and Europe, providing recommendations related to daylight, snow, and temperatures. Most importantly, he suggests booking well in advance for accommodations and vehicle rental. His mention of downloading the GPS-driven Alaska App, which is free from iTunes, will guide you to travel information you can carry with you.

Downtown Anchorage
Courtesy VisitAnchorage 
The Anchorage area bed & breakfasts have a professional association (AABBA) that offers peer review of the inns, resulting in a group of about 30 that are inspected & approved through the process of checking business practices, cleanliness and hygiene, safety, and amenities. Speaking on the topic of what’s different about staying at B&Bs in Alaska, the Association offers tips such as looking for inns with room-darkening window coverings for the summer’s lengthy daylight hours and making your reservations well in advance. B&Bs here are, by local regulation, located within the structure of the inn keeper’s home but are separate from the owner’s living space. Everyone is unique and private.

Three Tips for Travelers

Experience ‘real’ Alaska – to get the flavor of Anchorage, stay at a local bed and Breakfast (B&B). You can stay in one that bears the ‘inspected and approved’ award by checking the AABBA online or by calling the Hotline at 907-272-5909. You open the opportunity to stay in areas where moose roam, where hillside views over Turnagain Arm waters can’t be beat, and where chatting with the B&B host will help you decide which tour or feature you might select for the day.

Customize your selection of activities - Talk with your B&B host both before and during your stay. Ask about various trails, sights, cruises, restaurants – because we live here, we have enjoyed them ourselves, and we know the people who run the shops and services. They are our Associate/Travel Partners. With the frame of reference of long term experience and working relationships, we can help you customize your own selection of where to go and what to do. Want the off-the-beaten-path choices? Prefer the well-traveled selections? Let us know.

Set up your reservations and transportation in advance – In the high season, the cost of accommodations and vehicle rentals is astounding. B&Bs offer a good value with breakfast included.  And some B&Bs offer special services or amenities that you might seek, such as hot tub, freezer space for your fish, or the ‘going green’ commitment to the environment. Ask your B&B host about this.

Anchorage is best seen when you have private transportation. Having a rental car is by far the best way to see it, from Flattop Mountain to downtown museums, from whale watching to boarding the train for a day on the rails. Stay at an inspected & approved B&B to learn about Alaska by meeting its residents.  Check the AABBA website for photos and more information on B&Bs and the companies and restaurants known as Associate/Travel Partners. We work together to build great memories of your Alaska travels!

--written by Mary M Rydesky, host of Jarvi Homestay Bed & Breakfast and president of AABBA. Mary samples the day cruises, train rides, glacier tours, walking & hiking trails - oh, and the restaurants, too! Just ask what Anchorage can offer you! Follow her Anchorage travel suggestions on Facebook.

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