It's not just airlines that drop prices as fall approaches. Vacations and holidays of all sorts kick in their "value-pricing" after the peak summer travel period has ended. Those specials start at different times in different places. But the overriding theme is this: when fewer travelers are on the road, prices go down. Occasionally, there also are some special events.
Alaska Travel Adventures runs a handful of activities for cruise passengers in the southeast Alaska ports of Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway: Jeep tours, kayak trips and salmon bakes. But the company also has a fleet of RVs for rent. Between now and Sept. 30, the company is running a 50 percent off sale. You have to rent the RV for at least four days. And there's a mileage charge: 35 cents a mile or $39 per day for unlimited miles. The actual cost varies by the length of the RV, how many days you rent and the specific date. The regular prices range from $129 to $249 per day. So, take 50 percent off of that. Use the discount code "Staycation 50" when you call (800-323-5757).
ABC Motorhome Rentals also has a sale for fall rentals: $99 per night between Aug. 28 and Sept. 30. There is a five-night minimum rental required. The special applies to 22-, 24- and 30-foot motorhomes (800-421-7456).
Cruise companies are not bashful about offering discounts. If you haven't seen southeast Alaska, a cruise from Seward or Whittier down the coast can be a great way to go. Checking on iCruise.com, there are several late-season specials, including:
– Norwegian Jewel, sailing on Aug. 27 from Seward. Ports include Skagway, Hoonah, Juneau, Ketchikan and Vancouver, B.C. The seven-night cruise offers cabins with ocean views for $563 per person, double occupancy.
– Star Princess, sailing on Sept. 8 from Whittier. Ports include Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Vancouver, B.C. The lowest price for the seven-night cruise is the same: $563 per person, double. But that's for an inside cabin. Upgrade to ocean view for $614 per person.
There are many other dates and ships from which to choose. All of the cross-gulf cruises that I checked end up in Vancouver, B.C. So it's up to you to buy your own air ticket back to Anchorage. The cruises also run northbound.
Down at Alyeska Resort, they have a "Summer Tram" and a "Fall Tram" package. The Summer Tram package starts on Aug. 19 for $229 per room. The package includes tram tickets for two adults and three kids. On Sept. 16, the price drops to $149 per room for the "Fall Tram" special.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Rockwell Kent's time on Fox Island in Resurrection Bay, Kenai Fjords Tours and the Anchorage Museum are hosting a dinner and lecture by historian Doug Capra. Fox Island, of course, is a much more comfortable destination now than it was 100 years ago. The special tour on Sat., Aug. 25 is from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Cost is $82 per person.
The Alaska Railroad is offering its annual "Great Alaska Beer Train" on Oct. 6. The train rolls gently along between Anchorage and Portage while passengers enjoy beer from the Glacier Brewhouse and dinner. Cost is $182 per person.
The Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge is putting on a fall wine dinner Sept. 15. All of the wines at the dinner will be from Rombauer Vineyards. The six-course dinner features some interesting ingredients, including elk, duck and rabbit. Cost for just the dinner is $125 per person. But it's a good idea to spend the night. Room rates start at $99 per night.
Take a drive to the end of the road at the Homer Spit this fall. Land's End Resort, at the end of the spit, offers a "Getaway Package" for overnight accommodations and dinner for two. The cost starts at $139 per room and goes up if you want a nicer room with a view of the ocean. Land's End runs this package through the winter from Sept. 19, 2018 til April 30, 2019.
If you haven't made it out to Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, maybe this is the year! Kennicott Glacier Lodge offers a late-season special for as little as $99 per night between Aug. 15 and Sept. 8. You can opt for a "glacier view" room for a little more: $169 per night. It's a five-hour drive from Anchorage to Chitina. The last 60 miles is a go-slow road, similar to the Denali Highway between Cantwell and Paxson. Thirty-five miles per hour is a good speed there. When you reach McCarthy, there's a phone by the footbridge where you can call the lodge to come and get you.
Whether you're going by land, sea or rail, there are some fun options for fall travel right here in the Great Land.