Preparing for the Trip

About Your Trip

You are about to take what many people consider to be the trip of a lifetime. We are delighted that you have chosen Gray Line Alaska for this special journey. We anticipate that you may have questions and special concerns about your vacation. To help make the most of your adventure, we have prepared this Alaska travel advice to use before and during your trip. Please review this information carefully before you leave home for your Alaska tour. Print out a copy if you would like to take it with you on your vacation.

Climate

Alaska and Canada offer a wide variety in their climates as well as in their scenery. Within the course of your trip, it is not unusual for temperatures to range from 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the time of year. Southeastern Alaska’s temperatures range, in general, from the high 40s to the low 80s with strong possibility of rain. The interior of Alaska and the Yukon Territory can heat up in June and July with temperatures often reaching the upper 80s.

Packing Advice

First and foremost, dress for comfort. Because of the variable weather conditions, casual clothes that can be layered easily are highly recommended. Bring a jacket if you are traveling to the glaciers or to the Arctic, as it is often cool and windy in these locations. On some days, you will want a light raincoat and a waterproof hat or umbrella. An all-weather jacket or windbreaker with layers to wear underneath is ideal. Comfortable, sturdy walking shoes are a must. Dressy evening wear is not needed in the casual atmosphere of Alaska. Your luggage may not always be accessible to you during your trip. Always carry your medication, travel documents, money, and jewelry with you in your carry-on. Do not pack these items in your suitcase. Please be sure to bring a sufficient supply of medication and carry it in its original container. Gray Line Alaska assumes no responsibility for the following items: perishables, medicine, liquor, cash, jewelry, gold, silver or similar valuables, securities, financial instruments or other valuable documents, cameras, film, binoculars, cell phones, and video equipment. We strongly suggest that these items be carried with your hand luggage at all times.

Luggage Procedures

If you have booked your hotels with us, upon arrival in each city you will receive a welcome envelope with information about your stay in that city. It will include tour times and boarding instructions for any sightseeing tours purchased and luggage tags for your onward travels. Please be sure to attach these tags to your luggage and follow the instructions. Due to space limitations, please limit luggage to two pieces per person, not to exceed 50 pounds per bag. For the best protection of your belongings, we recommend hard sided luggage and caution against the use of garment bags with hanger hooks that protrude from the top.

**Special luggage restrictions for guests staying at Denali Backcountry Lodge**

Due to limited bus space, guests are only allowed one 35-pound SOFT-SIDED piece of luggage. Other luggage will be stored at a nearby Denali hotel and retrieved on your arrival back to the park entrance. A Denali Backcountry Lodge employee will assist you with your luggage storage once you arrive in Denali.

Motor Coach Travel

During your tour, you will generally travel in company owned motor coaches, which are air conditioned, comfortable and restroom equipped. However, there are segments of your Alaska tour which may require the use of other buses without these amenities. There are no reserved or assigned seats, and seating is rotated regularly on longer tours so everybody has an opportunity to see the scenery from all vantage points. As a courtesy to others, smoking is not permitted on board the motor coaches or train cars. Periodic stops will be made for pictures, snack breaks, and stretching.

Tipping

Tipping is, of course, a personal decision, and is not required. Some of our guests choose to reward exceptional service and use the following guidelines (per person/per day):

  • Driver, Rail, and Land Excursion Guides: $2.00 per half day of service
  • Tour Directors: $5.00 – $7.00
  • Hotel Bellmen: A baggage handling tip for two pieces of luggage per person is included in your tour for all hotels shown on your itinerary, unless otherwise stated

Travel Documents

You will be provided with travel documents for your tour via email or fax. The document will be your tour itinerary and will be the only document you receive. Please keep this document with you at all times, not in your luggage. Gray Line Alaska has gone voucherless, meaning, with the exception of a few services, you will not be issued or need a voucher for tour services. Your itinerary will list your day-by-day services. You will be listed on a manifest for each service. To receive service, you only need to give your name and in some cases show ID. In each city you will receive a welcome envelope with your room information, any tickets for sightseeing tours in that location included in your itinerary, and luggage tags for your next destination, if needed.

Meals

Meals are not included, unless specifically stated in your itinerary. Due to the remote location and limited menus at many of the meal stops, as well as unexpected delays, we recommend guests with special dietary requirements make arrangements to bring along some food to meet their special needs. Most hotels can prepare a box lunch for you if requested the day prior to departure.

Reconfirming Your Airline Reservation

Since arrival and departure times are subject to last minute changes by the airlines, we recommend that you call your airline(s) 24 hours before your flight departure to verify the flight number and arrival and departure times shown on your air schedule. Also please remember to reconfirm all flights booked directly with the airline by either you or your travel agent. Gray Line Alaska cannot accept or confirm seat assignment requests. However, your travel agent may assist with these arrangements once you have received your flight schedule.

Transfers

Some Alaska tour packages do not include a transfer from the airport to hotel or vice versa. Please check your itinerary to determine if your tour package includes an airport transfer. If the tour includes airport transfers and we did not provide your airline tickets, you must advise us of your flight information. If we do not have your arrival or departure flight information, we may not be able to provide you with a transfer. Please contact Gray Line Alaska at 800-544-2206 with your flight information.

Travel Guidelines for Specific Destinations

Denali

Denali National Park is a beautiful and majestic place, and many Alaska visitors consider it the highlight of their trip. To fully enjoy your stay there, it is helpful to understand that your accommodations will be remote and basic. The hotels are only used during the summer season, and the amenities they offer are limited. Your room will have a clean bathroom and comfortable bed, but may not have a television, radio, or telephone. Most hotels consist of several buildings scattered over the hillside. You will need to walk to the restaurant for meals and the terrain can be challenging. There are few paved walkways or trails and sturdy walking shoes should be worn at all times.

Important Luggage Information for Talkeetna and Denali National Park

When traveling to Talkeetna and/or Denali your luggage may be transported on our luggage trucks. Depending on your itinerary and destination after you leave Talkeetna and/or Denali you will receive special information and luggage tags in your welcome envelope. Please follow these instructions. If you have questions please check with the local tour desk the night before you are scheduled to depart for your next destination.
If you are traveling on our luxury railcars, please limit your carry on to a soft-sided tote bag or backpack no larger than 17″x14″x4″ with a zip enclosure. There is limited storage space on the railcars. Wheeled carry-on cases that are used as carry-on luggage on airlines are too large and are not suitable as hand-carried luggage on motor coaches and trains.

Extra Cost Provision

Weather can occasionally adversely affect scheduled flights and travel within Alaska. If you are required to spend an additional night due to weather or other circumstances beyond the control of Gray Line Alaska, you will be responsible for your own hotel and meal costs. Neither the tour operator nor the airline will assume this additional expense. If you have special medical needs, please be sure to take along enough medication in case of unavoidable delays.

Pick up Points

If your hotels were booked by Gray Line Alaska in conjunction with your sightseeing tour or package tour, you will be picked up at your hotel for all tours and departures. If, however, Gray Line Alaska did not book your hotel, you will need to call our local representative to confirm pick up location and time.

Refunds for Unused or Canceled Services

All parts of your tour, including optional tours, hotel overnights, and transfers, are subject to our cancellation policies. Consequently, unused services are not refundable. Please keep this in mind during your trip should you decide to alter your itinerary or cancel a portion of your tour.

Gray Line Alaska Representatives

If at any point you should need assistance in one of the following cities, you may contact our representatives at the numbers listed below.

  • Anchorage (907) 277-5581
  • Dawson (867) 993-5599
  • Denali (907) 683-2406
  • Fairbanks (907) 452-2843
  • Juneau (907) 463-3943
  • Skagway (907) 983-2241
  • Talkeetna (907) 733-3600
  • Whitehorse (867) 668-3225