If you missed last week’s column about “Alaska Resident” specials, fear not: There’s a whole new crop that popped up in the last few days.
There’s been an increase in specials that are set aside for Alaskans. They stand up nicely next to military discounts, AAA discounts and other schemes to prompt you to hit the “buy” button for your next adventure.
This is the first year in a long time that the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge is open in March, April and May. The early-season rates start at $159 per room. But between now and May 31, Alaska residents can trim 30% off the room rate. Use the discount code “AKRES30″ when making reservations online.
In addition to the discounted rates for Alaskans, the lodge has a variety of special activities throughout the spring, including “Thursday Tastings” for wine and snacks, Friday night board games and live music on Sundays.
Alyeska Resort also offers a discount for Alaska residents of up to 30%. I found the best rates during the middle of the week, where the regular price is $245 per night, plus taxes and a nightly $25 resort fee. Applying the discount brings the base rate down to $171.50 per night. Taxes and the resort fee add $45.58 to the total, for an all-in price of $217.08.
More Alaskans are taking a “spa day” at the resort’s new Nordic Spa. My kids love the pool. Or, there’s a big mountain right outside the back door for skiing.
Next week, the first cruise ships of the season will start calling at ports along the Inside Passage. The big ships get the headlines, but there are plenty of smaller vessels exploring many miles of coastline throughout Southeast Alaska.
A couple of years ago, when the cruise season was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, the folks at John Hall’s Alaska came up with the idea of a “land cruise” that combines overnight stays in Juneau and Sitka, plus visits to Glacier Bay, Skagway and other iconic locations in the region.
John Hall’s Alaska charters one of Allen Marine’s fast catamarans to take travelers to the far reaches of Glacier Bay, or to the popular Icy Strait Point cruise stop in Hoonah. Thrill-seekers can get on Alaska’s longest zipline — more than a mile long.
The Allen Marine catamarans are specially designed for wildlife and whale-watching in Southeast Alaska. On your daily journeys to see glaciers or wildlife, you’re likely to see lots of whales, too.
Dubbed the “Platinum Inside Passage” package, it is all-inclusive, featuring meals, tours and accommodations at the Aspen Hotel in both Sitka and Juneau. In addition to hotel accommodations and transportation on board the chartered boat, the tour cost includes admission to the Sitka Raptor Center and Fortress of the Bear in Sitka. In Juneau, a trip to Mendenhall Glacier is included, along with a visit to Glacier Gardens.
The itinerary also features a day-cruise to Skagway and a visit to the Red Onion Saloon.
There’s a maximum of 40 travelers permitted on the tour.
The regular price for the weeklong itinerary is $4,599 per person, based on double occupancy. Alaska residents can choose from two discounted sailings, July 15 or Aug. 12, priced at $2,700 per person. Call 800-325-2270 to make reservations. According to Hall’s website, all the other summertime departures are sold out. Airfare to or from Juneau or Sitka is not included.
Out in Palmer, the Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau has an entire webpage devoted to Alaska resident discounts. Most of the offers feature a 10% discount for locals, but there are lots of offers, including:
• 10% off helicopter tours with Alaska Helicopter Tours.
• 10% off four-wheeler tours to Knik Glacier with Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours.
• 10 % off gear rental or guided tours from Paddle Sports by True North AK. Use the “Summer23″ discount code.
• 15% off Alpenglow Luxury Camping for “glamping” near Matanuska Glacier.
• 10% off a selection of inns and bed-and-breakfasts.
It’s going to be a busy summer here in Alaska. But sometimes plans change. Sometimes a ship doesn’t sail, or there are last-minute vacancies that must be filled. Are you a flexible flyer? A spur-of-the-moment traveler? Well, there’s probably a special travel deal in your future!