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Chicago,IL USA

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Posted: 06/24/20 10:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This group was very helpful to me when I was planning a road trip to Oaxaca (which we have done the last two years with great success).

This time we are thinking of buying an 18ft travel trailer for a trip to Alaska in 2021. I have signed up for the beginner travel trailer forum. Just not sure if this is the right decision...curious as to others experiences. Trying to work out a budget so my main question is, how often do you have to stay at campgrounds or can you boondock much of the time. I'm sure there are a lot of variables but if could point some out to me I would really appreciate it.


Playa la Ropa, Zihuatanejo, Mexico


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Posted: 06/24/20 11:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Moved from RVing in Mexico and South America to RVing in Canada and Alaska.


No paticular place.

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Posted: 06/24/20 12:17pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What's your RV experience?

Properly set up it's certainly a reasonable rig to do alaska if you can be comfortable in an 18ft trailer.

The further northwest you get, the easier it is to boondock. Unless you consider walmart boondocking, then you can do it most of the way.

What are you towing it with and what are the weights for the trailer?

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Johnny G1

Clearwater, British Columbia ,Canada

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Posted: 06/24/20 12:20pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

No boondocking any more in Whitehorse @ Wally World.

98 Mountain Aire 34' 210 Cummins Puller and 2001 dodge dully with all the toy's, 400 + hp pullin a 28' 5th wheel Travel Aire. Lots of fun.


South Eastern British Columbia

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Posted: 06/24/20 02:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

When I pulled my 5th wheel ( now have a camper) we would budget $175 per day. That includes fuel, food to cook in the rig, campsite, and $20 per day for “stuff”.
Now when you only travel for a few hours per day, you cut down on fuel costs.
When you stay in a campground for more than one night you save on fuel, but you still have campground costs, food ...etc....
The only time we hit the $175 per day was when we did long days drives and we stayed in a campground. Or if we ate out a lot or did a lot of tours/ museums etc to pay for.
Now if you dry camp ( a lot of people call it boondocking) you will cut your costs dramatically, but you will always have fuel costs and food.
My wife is from Northern BC ( Stewart) and we have done a lot of trips up there over the years. I’ll bet you will love northern Canada and Alaska, they are beautiful, and make sure you have “loads” of time available for your trip, which is about the one piece of advice we will all agree on.
And traveling to Alaska is not all the different from driving around where your from, it’s just a long ways to go to get there, and most major Hwys are paved. The distances are longer between towns as are fuel stops.
One tid bit of info on fuel is always fill the top,1/2 of your ya tank, meaning If your in a town or see a fuel station fill up if your fuel gauge is near 1/2.
We were caught once up north when I didn’t fill up at Bell 2 and I just rolled into the old gas station at Maziaden Jct. on fumes... never did that again...
Have fun.

* This post was edited 06/24/20 02:21pm by SideHillSoup *

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Posted: 06/24/20 10:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are some places to boondock, more the further north/northwest you get. There are also plenty of state and provinical/territorial/municipal campgrounds that typically have a fire ring and picnic table for $10-$20 per night, dropped in an iron ranger. Many do not have potable water or a dump station, though pit or vault toilets are generally available and quite often non-potable water. The Yukon provincial campgrounds offer free campfirewood as well.

In the larger cities and bigger tourist destinations, it's somewhat harder to find really cheap or free camping, but there are options available in most places that are not too outlandishly expensive.

Church's book ("Traveler's Guide to Alaskan Camping") is an excellent and thorough guide to camping accomodations.

I would definitely suggest taking the trip, and reserving as much time as practical for it! Depending on exactly where you end up going, it may be rough on your trailer, but IMHO totally worth the wear and tear. It seems to me a bit of a truism that the very best camping experiences, at least in that part of the world, are on some of the least smooth roads.


Bluff Dale, Texas

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Posted: 06/25/20 10:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Alaska state park RV sites are only $15 to $20 a night. Most have no power or water. One location to dump.

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North America

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Posted: 06/28/20 03:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All good advice. You probably will not be spending much time other than sleeping in the RV because there is so much to do and see on this trip to Alaska. So, with regard to size of the RV, smaller is better. Easier and more economical to haul. Easier to get around with and park in smaller spaces.

Take a small portable grill so you can do most of your cooking outside. Be conscious of the wildlife for they can be amble in places. If your planning a one month trip and your finances allow more, double the length of your trip. You won't be disappointed.

Enjoy your trip. Leave the need to rush in the lower 48, relax, have fun, and soak up the beauty all around you.




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Posted: 06/28/20 08:07am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We spent the summer of 2019 in AK. It was not long enough. We drove 12,103 miles from central IL.
We bought a used 26 ft trailer specifically to pull to AK. The shortest you can live in the better. We looked for a twin axle trailer and are glad that's what we got. We lost a bearing and damaged the axle north of Wasilla. Having 2 axles we were able to limp to a repair shop. A single axle we would have been sitting. The nearest tow service that could have towed us was in Anchorage about 75 miles away.
We didn't find the prices to be all that much higher than in the lower 48, maybe a bit higher as around large cities in the lower. Our total cost came to about $1/mile.
There are plenty of places to dry camp. And you'll want to do that just to experience it.
Here are some suggestions for traveling:
1) Take your time. There's a lot to see.
2) Watch your speed. Disregard the speed limits. Keep it slow so you can watch for wildlife. You definitely don't want to see a moose up close. On our way back from the Arctic Circle a moose ran out of the brush and stopped close enough to the side of my truck I could have touched her. Surprised both of us. We saw several vehicles on the road that had hit moose and bear.
3) Take a generator. It will make dry camping a lot more enjoyable.
4) Carry an extra 5 gal of fuel. As another said, never miss a chance to fill up even if you just filled up a few miles ago. There are places it's a long ways between stations. Even if the map says there's a town ahead don't expect to find services there, or in some cases even find the town.
5) Visit Anchorage and Fairbanks but don't spend a lot of time in them. They're cities. Cities are not Alaska. Go to the U of AK Museum in Fairbanks and the museum in Anchorage. Good exhibits and well done.
6) Leave early, avoid the crowds. We left IL May 16. I wish we would have left 2 weeks earlier. We had some cool nights in Alberta and some places the lakes were still frozen over. But we avoided the crowds. The later in the summer you leave the more crowds you'll run in to.
7) When at Denali, if you take a tour bus to see The Mountain, get the earliest bus in the day you can. It's a long trip from where you catch the bus to the visitor's center for viewing. The later in the day you get to the visitor's center the less chance you have of being able to see Denali. Clouds roll in during the day. Only about 30% of the visitors get to see Denali due to cloud cover. You do not want to go all that way and not see Denali.
8) Keep a daily diary of everything you did each day. What you saw, what you spent, things that happened. You will see so much that by the time you get home you'll be on information overload. You won't remember some of the things that you thought you'd remember.
9) Take a camera for each person. Old school, but get pocket cameras. Something you'll always have with you. Then make sure no one goes anywhere without their camera, even if it is stepping out of the camper for a few minutes. And get an extra battery for every camera. Phone cameras are OK but you'll find a separate camera more useful in the end. And take pictures of everything and pictures everyday. We took over 4000 pictures and each one is a memory.
10) Spend the time and money on day tours/cruises/ferries out of Homer, Seward, Valdez, Skagway, Haines, etc. Particularly Haines to Juneau. The captain does more than just take you from Haines to Juneau. When whales and other wildlife are spotted he stops and gets closer for pictures.
11) Stop in visitor centers in each town. Each has an interesting story to tell no matter how small the town.
12) You'll no doubt go thru Watson Lake Yukon. Do a websearch on Sign Post Forest if you have not heard of it. Make your sign before leaving home.
13) Avoid Seward, AK over July 4. That's the Mt Marathon race. Town will be packed and there's not a lot of room there to begin with.
14) Most important - Get the latest edition of Milepost. It will be your Bible. Read it before you leave and then follow it mile for mile as you travel.
15) If you see a road - take it. There aren't a lot of roads in AK and everyone we took had a great view or story.

Camped in every state


Mountain Home, ID

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Posted: 06/28/20 09:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All good advice Wadcutter!

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