Alaska – fondly known as ‘The Last Frontier’ is the largest of all states in USA – it is so huge that the entire state of Massachusetts can fit in one national park in Alaska, the Denali National Park. Most of the area here is uninhabited due to hostile living conditions, and can only be accessed by Air Taxis or tiny Bush planes.
So it goes without saying that you could probably spend few weeks or months exploring Alaska at your pace, in solitude (the population density is 1 person / mile!), but you’d likely end up burning a hole in your pocket by the time you leave.
But, there is a way to see the best of Alaska in a week or a little less in a decent budget, if you visit at the right time, take the splurging out, and go for cheaper tour activities and alternatives.
Here is everything you need to plan that week out:
How to get to there from India
The largest city in Alaska, Anchorage has a major airport that you can fly in to, after a stop or two at any of the major US cities. But due to weather conditions, most flight services are seasonal and peak during the summer months of June-September. Although, if you’re planning to see Northern Lights in winter, then you can fly in to city of Fairbanks – there are fewer airlines to choose from.
I’d highly recommend getting a window seat on your flight, and choosing a day-time landing flight as the views of the snow-capped peaks and pristine glaciers from up above are simply mind-blowing on descent to Anchorage.
Visa Process for Indians
Indians can apply for a B1/B2 tourist visa at one of the U.S. Consulate locations at Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad or at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. The first step of visa is to fill and submit the DS-160 form, and then schedule a visa interview appointment at one of the consulates here. The entire process should take around 2 weeks but schedule an appointment in advance as the consulates are busy. Add a few other US cities before or after your Alaska trip as the visa process is painful and a bit expensive ($200)
Best time to visit Alaska
If you trust the guidebooks, the best time to visit Alaska is in summer months of July-August, but be ready for sky-high prices and hordes of tourists! I would recommend the shoulder season though – early summer, from end of May to mid-June, or early September.
Visit in early summer for jaw-dropping snow-capped peaks in every photo of your trip and visit in October-March for mind-boggling shots of Northern Lights that are best viewed in Fairbanks.