Monday, August 3, 2015

Other Alaska Road Trip Expenses

Kennecott (I think Joel tilted the camera a little...)
To make trip planning and the math easy, we allocated 30% of our Alaska road trip budget to miscellaneous expenses. Since we only had four expense categories and the first three (food, fuel, lodging) were pretty easy to guesstimate and came to $7,000, throwing in another $3,000 for whatever else came up brought the total budget to a nice even $10,000. How much easier could the math be than that?

Even though we usually shy away from guided tours, one of the things I was dedicated to seeing was the old mill town of Kennecott in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and the only way to get into the 14-story mill building is on a guided tour through St. Elias Alpine Guides. I also knew Joel wanted to explore a glacier and figured doing so with a guide would save me from inadvertently stumbling into a crevasse. So our first planned misc. expenses were a half-day glacier tour and the Kennecott mill building tour. (Note: After talking to Gaia, however, we opted for the full-day glacier tour instead and I’m so glad we did!)

In addition to the guided tours at Kennecott, our miscellaneous expenditures also included:
  • Annual National Park pass purchased in April ($85 with shipping, but those 62+ can get a lifetime pass for just $10!)
  • Two camp chairs and step stool purchased before we left home ($40) 
    (NOTE: Above are affiliate links to similar items.)
  • Folding camp table we picked up at Big 5 on the way through Oregon ($30)
  • 100 feet of 13,000-pound-test rope ($155) that we bought at a specialty rope place in Bellingham, WA and a bunch of rigging in case Joel had to pull our car out of a creek crossing 
  • Dolly’s House and Tongass Historical Museum entrance fees in Ketchikan, AK during 6-hour ferry stop ($21) 
  • Currency exchange fees in Whitehorse, YT ($6) 
  • Tunnel fee going to Whittier, AK ($12) 

M/V Columbia - our transport to Alaska
On top of all that, I included the cost of the ferry ($2,191) under misc. beings it was an extra not originally in our budget. Good thing we allocated enough to this category!
  • Misc. budget = $3,000 
  • Actual misc. cost (inc. ferry) = $2,905 
  • Money left for another trip = $95

So now what? 

Beings we hadn’t run out of money, we decided to visit relatives in MO before we came home. An added bonus to that side trip was seeing a bunch of new country and visiting 10 more National Parks during our extra travels. And despite adding another 6,000+ miles and a few more weeks to our vacation, we still got home with about $2,700 to put toward future travel.

I wonder where we should go next… 

Any suggestions? 

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