Travel

Yukon or Alaska?

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[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
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Yukon or Alaska?

Alaska and the Yukon are both on my list of places I'd like to visit but I'm not sure how feasible (in terms of cost and time) it is to visit both on the same trip so likely will have to pick one or the other. Looking to hear people that have been to both.

Right now I'm thinking of doing this on my own: https://alaskatours.com/alaska-vacation ... aska-tour/ in August/September...anyone do something similar?
16 replies
Sr. Member
Aug 3, 2017
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It really depends on your priority places to visit and your tolerance for long drives. I’ve visited Yukon and Alaska on the same trip, but only saw Skagway, Alaska. I’ve never been to the places you mentioned for comparison, but I highly recommend a Dawson City visit if you can make that work.
Deal Addict
Dec 7, 2011
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Whitehorse
The Yukon is awesome. You could even drive to Tuktoyaktuk on the North Coast! That highway was only opened last year - the first time Canada's North coast can be accessed by road.

In Summer, there are two border crossing between the "main" part of Alaska and the Yukon, so you could drive a loop. You may want to compare the cost of renting a car or RV in Whitehorse vs. Alaska - or maybe you want to buy an old beater and sell it afterwards. That is surprisingly simple in the Yukon, and if you buy from a private person I think it's tax free.

For flying, I strongly suggest taking Air North to/from the Yukon. They include two free pieces of checked luggage, and are generally a much more friendly airline than Air Canada (and this is a Star Alliance Gold passenger talking here).

Because someone mentioned Skagway: Don't make this one of your destinations. This town exists to take money from cruise ship passengers. It is boring. However, the drive from Whitehorse to Skagway is great(stop at the Emerald Lake!), and from Skagway you can do some splendid hiking trips. Just the town by itself is not worth a visit.
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Nov 9, 2003
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Grimsby
We did the 14 day land/sea Alaska/Yukon trip with Holland America last August, fabulous. Food is quite expensive, we had to buy our own mostly during the land portion. The wilderness trip into Denali can start early in the morning, our bus left at 6.35 a.m. and we were far from the earliest. Great experience though, each bus is equipped with a good video camera and if a passengers spotted wild life the driver stopped and zoomed in.

Before we left I searched for comments and drew the conclusion that hotel accommodation was not too good. However we found everything to be fantastic so I presume the moaners were city folk expecting 5 star hotel standards. Air conditioning is seemingly sporadic, we enjoyed temperatures between 14 and 19 degrees.

In Fairbanks we enjoyed the ice sculpture palace and the gold panning at Gold Dredge 8. We then flew Air North from Fairbanks to Dawson City landing on a dirt runway, Dawson is a very different town well worth a visit.
Deal Guru
Dec 11, 2008
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We did a 14 days with a cruise. We did some land tours in Alaska as part of the package and then did the 7 day cruise down to Vancouver (12 days). And we did 2 days on our own before the tour and did some other excursions like kayaking/glacier hiking etc.

So we spent 2 days on our own in Anchorage, did glacier hiking and kayaking through other tour operators (took us to Whittier etc). Then onto the 12 day tour which was 5 days land tour and 7 day cruise. 5 days we went up to McKinsey and Denali park and stayed in their lodges, provided bus and train transport etc. Then onto the cruise ship for 7 days and stopped at Juneau, Ketchican and Skagway.

The Skagway stop on the cruise, instead of walking around town we did a 10-hour tour up to Yukon and it was one of THE best days of the cruise. Gorgeous, saw Emerald Lake etc.

The 12-day was part of Princess Cruise and the one tour was done by a separate tour operator we found online, amazing guide and service.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
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Eastern Ontario
Have not done either Alaska or The Yukon... yet

But I will pass this info along for anyone reading this topic:

Too many Travellers leave the Far North for their Old Age Bucket List
(cruises are filled with folks 70+ oohing & aahing at the scenery from the ship)

When infact, the North is a spot better enjoyed by the young & active ... actually immersing themselves in all it has to offer via hiking, kayaking, etc
[OP]
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Feb 4, 2010
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Even though I haven't been either, I agree it's something that should be done while you're still able-bodied (assuming you like outdoor activities)....lots of hiking, doing a glacier kayaking trip too.

I booked my flights to Alaska yesterday so it's a definite go. No cruise - a road trip...got my itinerary all figured out, which includes an expensive polar bear excursion. Was humming and hawing over it but it's something I REALLY want to do so I'm going for it ...plus it's cheaper than doing one in Churchill Manitoba (even though I rather support a Canadian business). Fingers crossed I will see the northern lights. Alaska is one of those places you have to book things well in advance because the "tourist" season is so short.
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Nov 9, 2003
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Grimsby
PointsHubby wrote:

Too many Travellers leave the Far North for their Old Age Bucket List
(cruises are filled with folks 70+ oohing & aahing at the scenery from the ship)

When infact, the North is a spot better enjoyed by the young & active ... actually immersing themselves in all it has to offer via hiking, kayaking, etc
Perhaps too many leave this trip till older because we were busy bringing you lot up and providing a better life than our parents were able to provide us.

The 8 day land portion of our land/sea trip was a perfect plan for older folks without children owning to the huge distances travelled by bus and train. We were 80 and 82 and enjoyed the trip immensely. Yes, we were glad to get on the ship in Skagway to have a lay in for a change Smiling Face With Open Mouth but we would not have missed the land section, it was great. There were plenty of opportunities to walk or hike at the various stop overs.

Hierophant is obviously a younger person and should have a fantastic time going the freelance route. In his/ original post he suggested August or September, he might want to ensure any hotel he is planning on using will be open in September. I write this because our hotel in Dawson City closed September 2nd and was drained and boarded over by the 5th.

OP I hope you enjoy the experience as much as we did.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
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Thanks Owbist. Yukon is out for this trip - too expensive to include so I will do it separately.

My accommodations and car rental are already booked - and will be putting deposits down for the tours probably this week, at least the polar bear one. Now just have to wait 8 months lol
Deal Guru
Dec 11, 2008
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PointsHubby wrote: Have not done either Alaska or The Yukon... yet

But I will pass this info along for anyone reading this topic:

Too many Travellers leave the Far North for their Old Age Bucket List
(cruises are filled with folks 70+ oohing & aahing at the scenery from the ship)

When infact, the North is a spot better enjoyed by the young & active ... actually immersing themselves in all it has to offer via hiking, kayaking, etc
+1

We went to Alaska when we were 32.

And we will be heading to Antarctica in Feb, will be 36.

Was a bit funny because on the Alaska cruise, we stood out. Being a young asian male couple. Some older folk thought we were teenagers and asked us when we go back to school. It was also funny how it was a joke because many people greeted us and we greeted them back not recognizing them because "they looked the same". LOL. Very nice folk though for sure.
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Feb 7, 2017
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Eastern Ontario
Owbist wrote: Perhaps too many leave this trip till older because we were busy bringing you lot up and providing a better life than our parents were able to provide us.

The 8 day land portion of our land/sea trip was a perfect plan for older folks without children owning to the huge distances travelled by bus and train. We were 80 and 82 and enjoyed the trip immensely. Yes, we were glad to get on the ship in Skagway to have a lay in for a change Smiling Face With Open Mouth but we would not have missed the land section, it was great. There were plenty of opportunities to walk or hike at the various stop overs.

Hierophant is obviously a younger person and should have a fantastic time going the freelance route. In his/ original post he suggested August or September, he might want to ensure any hotel he is planning on using will be open in September. I write this because our hotel in Dawson City closed September 2nd and was drained and boarded over by the 5th.

OP I hope you enjoy the experience as much as we did.
True enough

Although at 60+ myself, I would fall into the category of old enough to be probably one of your kids Smiling Face With Sunglasses

Just saying, on reflection...

That I wish I had ticked this off the Bucket List sooner than later
Like when we were FIRST empty nesters
With all the kids off to college (10+ years ago)
Than still having it on our To Do List Now

Big difference in physical abilities as you age every decade (50s - 60s - 70s - 80s and on)

If you are still able to motor around in your 80s at a clip, then kudos to you
But, let’s face it not all can
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
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Center of Universe
We went on an Alaskan cruise and arrived 1 day early, to get in some sightseeing and it was very beautiful.
If I had a bucket list, it would have been on the list :)
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
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This is not an Alaska or Yukon question but I didn't want to start a new thread about it. My flights are with Delta and it says "Baggage fees will be assessed at the time you check in." I've never heard this before...usually you know the upfront costs at the time of booking. Do you think I will be charged a baggage fee for checked luggage? I'm assuming this is based on full/empty the flight is?
Deal Guru
Dec 11, 2008
10367 posts
1719 upvotes
hierophant wrote: This is not an Alaska or Yukon question but I didn't want to start a new thread about it. My flights are with Delta and it says "Baggage fees will be assessed at the time you check in." I've never heard this before...usually you know the upfront costs at the time of booking. Do you think I will be charged a baggage fee for checked luggage? I'm assuming this is based on full/empty the flight is?
Since it is North American flight, they will charge you for baggage if you need to check luggage in. If you do carry-on, they won't charge you. They only ask about luggage when you check in (24 hrs before flight or when you arrive at airport) etc.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
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speedyforme wrote: Since it is North American flight, they will charge you for baggage if you need to check luggage in. If you do carry-on, they won't charge you. They only ask about luggage when you check in (24 hrs before flight or when you arrive at airport) etc.
For a 2 week trip I don't want to stress about fitting everything in carry-on, plus I'm taking camping gear and need checked luggage...worth paying the extra $60.
Deal Guru
Dec 11, 2008
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hierophant wrote: For a 2 week trip I don't want to stress about fitting everything in carry-on, plus I'm taking camping gear and need checked luggage...worth paying the extra $60.
For sure, just pay the fee and not worry about cramming stuff :)
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
5913 posts
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Well I bit the bullet and put down the deposit for the polar bear excursion and I also had to pay 50% deposit on the accommodation....no turning back now!! Super excited - I've only read positive things about it. So glad to make a life-long dream come to reality

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