Why is Alaska so expensive to visit? (And ways to minimize costs)

If you’re wondering, “Why is Alaska so expensive,” it boils down to a couple of reasons that make complete sense. There are so many people visiting here that they know they can charge more for activities that people want to do. Furthermore, visiting Alaska is so expensive because you’re here for 10+ days, and things add up.

Most vacations people go on last 5-8 days. For Alaska, it’s much longer, and the costs add up!

All links are affiliate links. They cost you nothing but help support me as a creator and writer when you click and buy through them.

Why is Alaska so expensive
Why is Alaska so expensive?

Is Alaska An Expensive Place to Visit?

Alaska is probably the most expensive place I’ve ever been outside of Iceland. However, with how limited their tourist season is, they have to make as much money as possible to survive the rest of the year. At least gas is not super expensive, which helps considering how much driving you’ll be doing.

Related: Guide for visiting Alaska in August

Why is Alaska so expensive to visit

Alaska is just expensive in general. With it being so far away from the rest of the Lower 48, it costs a lot to ship things up here. Additionally, businesses know people are traveling to Alaska and can increase prices because it’s such an attractive place.

Simple economics.

Why is Alaska so expensive
Why is Alaska so expensive?

What is the most expensive month to go to Alaska?

I don’t think a set month is the most expensive. However, June through August are the three most costly months by a long shot. This is when millions of people flood into the state’s borders and travel around.

Thanks to the increase in demand, prices increase as a result.

If you’re looking for slightly lower prices, visit in May (before Memorial Day) or September after Labor Day. Your days will be chillier, but they shouldn’t be drastically different.

Why is Alaska so expensive
Why is Alaska so expensive?

Strategies to Save Money in Alaska

While everyone wonders, “Why is Alaska so expensive to visit,” there are plenty of ways to keep your costs low and still have a fantastic time. You’re still going to spend money, but you don’t need to go broke to see the sights.

RELATED: What to do in Talkeetna!

What is the cheapest time to visit Alaska?

The cheapest time to visit Alaska is in the winter months. I’d estimate anywhere from late November to early February will have the most affordable flights and lodging. You must also contend with the shortest and coldest days of the year.

This would be perfect if you’re stoked about seeing the northern lights and other wintry options. However, many people come to Alaska for summer days, and this cheap option will not satisfy that.

Why is Alaska so expensive? Four ways to make a trip to Alaska less costly

Camp across Alaska

Camping in Alaska was one of my favorite ways to experience the Last Frontier. Most campsites are $25-$30 a night, far less than the $150+ you’ll spend at a hotel. But, throughout a long trip, it adds up considerably.

If you don’t want to camp, use Expedia to book cheaper hotels to save you money!

Limit your restaurant meals and go to the grocery store

This is a huge way to save money. Restaurant meals are very expensive in Alaska, with most meals costing $45 or more. You can get less expensive food, but the allure of eating fresh seafood is strong.

I recommend only eating out once or twice a week and cooking the rest of your food at your campsite or hotel room.

Why is Alaska so expensive
Why is Alaska so expensive

Don’t buy trinkets

“Why is Alaska so expensive,” you ask. It’s partly the trinkets! If you keep your credit card in your wallet as you window shop, you’ll return home with a lighter suitcase and a lot more money.

Related: Flightseeing over Denali National Park

Buy alcohol from stores

There’s always a temptation to add a glass of wine or beer to your dinner. Resist the urge and do water. This will help keep costs in check. Then, if you still want to drink, go to the grocery store and get some wine and beer there for a fraction of the cost!

How much did I spend while visiting for 22 days?

My partner and I spent 22 days in Alaska in May of 2021. Coming out of the pandemic, travel was still wacky, and we were able to find some good deals on flights. Additionally, I could use my photography and social media business to get discounted rates on our campervan, flightseeing tours, and bear-watching.

We also camped across Alaska for two of the three weeks. Again, this drastically kept our costs low.

Even with all of our cost-saving ways, we still spent about $5,500 combined over three weeks in Alaska.

Why is Alaska so expensive

Is it worth it to go to Alaska?

Most definitely, yes, it is worth it to go to Alaska. It’s my favorite state, and my 2021 trip is something I’ll treasure forever. The wildlife, mountains, ocean, glaciers, and people are incredible. If you’re a nature lover, you will treasure your time in this state.

How many days in Alaska is enough?

I always tell people to take at least ten days to visit Alaska. It’s a vast state, and it takes time to drive across it. But, on the other hand, you don’t want to be rushed, so ten days give you enough time to see two major sections. But this is why Alaska is so expensive. You have to be here for so long that it just adds up!

Why is Alaska so expensive – Wrapping Up

You can see why it’s so expensive and ways to cut costs and stick to your budget. However you plan to travel to Alaska, I hope you have a fantastic time and leave with lifelong memories!

Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.

Download my free Backpacking FAQ E-Book.

New to hiking? My guide will get you up to speed!

Follow my adventures on TikTokFacebook, and Instagram.

Are you an outdoors brand or tourism board and would like to work together? Please take a look at my photography portfolio here.