I can’t do this by myself what was I thinking? What if I get lonely? What if I can’t handle solo travel? What if I don’t enjoy it? How could I think I was strong enough to go to Alaska alone?
All these thoughts ran through my head days before my trip, as the feeling of anxiety replaced my excitement. I wanted to bail and pretend that I had never thought I was capable of taking a trip by myself. I feared the unknown. Well long story short, I put my thoughts aside and I went to Alaska.
Backstory: In early May, I saw a deal for a roundtrip ticket from Seattle to Anchorage, Alaska for $117 on airfare watchdog (check out my post on How to Score Cheap Flights). It was such a great deal, I could not pass it up! So I emailed my summer internship manager for permission and got approved. Next thing I knew I was booking my first solo trip. I went home with the biggest smile on my face and spent hours on Pinterest reading blogs on how to make the most of my weekend in Alaska. After my experience in Alaska, here is my guide.
Here is my Ultimate Guide to a Weekend in Alaska:
Summary: June 9-12th from Seattle, WA – Anchorage, AK
Flight: Thurs. – Sun BOTH red eyes = $117 RT
Weekend Car Rental: Budget Car rental = $162 (airport pick up and drop off)
Accommodation: Base Camp Anchorage Hostel for two nights = $64
Total NOT including gas or food: $807
1st day: Ice climbing with Mica Guides
On my first day I woke up, ate breakfast, and headed to my ice climbing tour about two hours north east of anchorage. The drive was beautiful and I could not believe I was in ALASKA. Make sure to eat in Anchorage or bring something because food options are limited on the road. I ended up eating McDonald’s for breakfast.
For my ice climbing tour I brought my backpack and filled it with:
- Down jacket
- Rain Jacket
- Long sleeve shirt – (Avoid cotton because it does not dry quickly)
- Tank top
- Long yoga pants – Recommend waterproof pants instead or on top of
Mica guides provided all the equipment I needed for the activity. The tour consisted of 5 people total with 1 guide. The size of the group gave it a homey feeling. We took a car out to the Glacier and boy was it STUNNING. I felt like a total badass and in that moment I knew that I didn’t want to wait for someone to see the world when I am 100% capable of doing it solo. We then trekked over to the ice where we put on our crampons. Being from Texas crampons were new to me, they are these spiked metal plates that attach to your boots used for walking in ice or snow. The trek wasn’t easy but I wouldn’t say it was very difficult either. Once we reached our first wall a slight panic began to hit me but I tucked it away and went first.
I’ve done indoor rock climbing before and I figured ice climbing would be very similar, haha rookie mistake. Other than the fact that you are increasing height as you climb they are very different. For rock climbing you are spreading your body out as much as possible over the wall. You feel your grip tighten on one hand, as you let go of the other to reach for the next rock. All this brings me a sense of comfort. As for ice climbing the only part that is touching the wall is the sharp tip at the end of your crampons. IT WAS TERRIFYING but exhilarating. Oh and you have an ax (one or two, we started with one) which at one point you take out of the ice and the only thing supporting your weight are the tips at the end of your crampons. All I could think was HOW ON EARTH ARE THOSE SMALL TIPS GOING TO SUPPORT ALL MY WEIGHT?! Well they did, since I’m here writing about it. Throughout the day we explored further into the glacier and did more challenging walls. Our guide did a great job of teaching us the technique and increasing difficulty with time. I highly recommend Mica Guides for ice climbing or any of their adventures. I enjoyed my day tour with them and regret not doing the luxury camping but it’s okay because I’ll be camping on Antarctica in December of 2018.
Dinner Recommendation: Moose’s Tooth -> Amazing Pizza I would fly back to anchorage just for a slice.
2nd day: Exploring Anchorage
- Farmers market
- Walked around downtown
- Anchorage City Trolley Tour -> Earthquake Park
- World’s Largest Chocolate Fall
- Movie Theater
I made the mistake of thinking there was a ton to do in Anchorage for a whole days worth of exploring… I ran out of things to do pretty quickly. I ended up going to watch a movie haha. Oh well, lesson learned! Hopefully you don’t do the same.
3rd day: Glacier Jet Skiing… WHAT?!
So for my last adventure in Alaska I decided on doing a tour with Glacier Jetski Adventures in Whittier about one hour an fifteen mins from Anchorage. It was an amazing way to do a sightseeing tour of glaciers and experience jet skiing in a different environment. The Prince William Sound was a perfect location! I saw a ton of waterfalls, glaciers, and even a whale for A WHOLE TWO seconds. Glacier Jetski Adventures provided everything I needed. Underneath the gear they provided, I wore long yoga pants, a tank top, and a long sleeve shirt (no cotton). Our group consisted of three guests including myself and two guides. The tour was the priciest part of my whole Alaska trip but worth every penny!
Looking back I had every reason to be nervous/afraid of going to a new place by myself. To be honest I STILL feel that way every time but instead of turning around and letting it stop me. I take a deep breath and just go.
What if I get lonely? -> A weekend was the perfect amount of time for my first solo trip. In-between admiring Alaska’s beauty, taking tours, meeting people, and getting out of my comfort zone I didn’t really have a chance to get lonely on this trip. But loneliness can happen and it hit me hard in the Philippines -> story to be told.
What if I don’t enjoy it? -> Haha you’re kidding right? My trip was so much fun but Saturday was not ideal and thats okay because that’s traveling. Things will not always be great and at times you will have rough moments but just like anything in life you need to look at the positives and learn from your mistakes.
Tips from my Trip
- Rent a car
- Book tours, accommodation, and car rental beforehand
- Do not plan on spending more than 2-3 hours in downtown Anchorage
- Do not expect much food on the road to different areas of Alaska
P.S. Be on the lookout for my next two posts which is the start of my seven month journey beginning in “South East Asia” and “Top Apps to use When Traveling?”