7 Reasons NOT to Drive Your RV to Alaska

Alaska is on many an RV’s wish list, but here are several reasons NOT to drive your RV to Alaska…

Alaska, the last frontier, is a dream destination for many adventurers looking for wilderness and breathtaking landscapes. There is no arguing that it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

While it may seem like the perfect place for a motorhome trip, there are several factors to consider before embarking on such a trip.

In this article, we’ll explore seven compelling reasons why you might want to think twice before driving your RV to Alaska.

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7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t RV to Alaska

Despite how it may seem, these reasons are not meant to scare you away from your Alaskan dreams! They are meant to prepare him and help him make an informed decision about including Alaska on his bucket list.

1. Long travel time and distance

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One of the first challenges you’ll encounter when planning a motorhome trip to Alaska is the long distance and time it takes to get there and back. Even if you start in Seattle, Washington, you’re looking at over 43 hours of drive time to get to Anchorage (~2,260 miles!).

If you follow Rule 330, that’s 7 days of travel time. One way! From the far northwest of the contiguous United States!

So no matter where you start from in the contiguous United States, you are looking at a minimum of 2 weeks to get there and back. Then add at least 2 weeks in Alaska to make the trip worth your while.

It’s 4 weeks round trip from Seattle, and probably a minimum of 6-8 weeks from other starting points.

Of course, the trip to Alaska is an experience in itself. You’ll see some beautiful country, but that includes crossing into Canada (which we’ll get to at the end).

2. Monstrous mosquitoes

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Did you know that the mosquito is the state bird of Alaska? Okay, not really, but a lot of people joke that it is. They are THAT big.

These bloodthirsty insects can quickly turn a peaceful camping experience into a swarm of stinging misery. While insect repellants and protective clothing can help, dealing with these pests can be a significant hassle for RVers in Alaska.

Here are some resources to help:

3. Spotty internet and cell service

If you depend on a stable internet connection for work or other essential tasks, Alaska will present a real challenge. While some larger cities and towns offer reliable connectivity, more remote locations (aka most of Alaska) may only have intermittent or slow internet connections.

This can be frustrating for digital nomads or anyone who needs to stay connected on the go. The same goes for cell service!

That also means you CANNOT trust your GPS devices. We learned this lesson from an unfortunate tragedy that occurred in Nevada, let alone the Alaskan wilderness!

That’s why we always recommend bringing a printed road atlas in your RV, especially if you’re traveling to Alaska!

Official Mike and Jennifer summer tops for you to explore

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4. Unpredictable weather

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Alaska’s weather is known for its unpredictability, even during the summer months. Rain is common and snow can start as early as September in some regions, limiting the travel season for RV enthusiasts.

It’s crucial to prepare for changing weather conditions and pack accordingly, as extreme weather can significantly affect your RV trip. And your safety.

Here are some resources to help (including the cold weather camping video above):

5. Limited Recreational Vehicle Services and Repair Facilities

recreational vehicle repair

Alaska’s vast and remote landscapes mean that access to RV services and repair facilities is limited. We’ve all been experiencing significant delays (and high costs) in the contiguous United States.

So imagine the delays and costs of getting an RV fixed in Alaska. And again, consider the safety risks if you suffer a breakdown in the Alaskan wilderness.

Therefore, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you perform all routine maintenance and check systems before traveling to Alaska. You should also know how to perform basic RV maintenance in case it breaks down on your trip.

Here are some resources to help:

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6. Alaska is expensive

The cost of living in Alaska is generally higher compared to many other parts of the United States. This reality extends to goods and services, including groceries, fuel, and RV supplies.

Shipping items to Alaska can be expensive and most things need to be shipped to Alaska. So inflated prices can add up quickly during an extended RV trip.

Budget-conscious travelers should keep this in mind when planning their spending.

7. Canadian border crossing and laws

Crossing the Canadian Border in an RV (Post Pandemic)

The land border crossing between Canada and the United States was closed for 19 months during the pandemic. Now that the borders are open again for non-essential travel, you need to stay up to date on the requirements for crossing the Canadian border.

According to the Government of Canada website, you are no longer required to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19, but it states that you should not travel to Canada if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

Also note that it is illegal to bring cannabis (including CBD products) across the Canadian-US border. Firearms are also illegal unless you complete the lengthy approval process.

Lastly, make sure you have proper paperwork for any children traveling with you and vet records for your dog.

Read more about crossing the Canadian border in an RV here. We also have an article on Canadian cultural differences.

Canada also has different weight limitations for RVs!

Canadian towing regulations and seat belt requirements

Canada, of course, has its own traffic laws, many of which differ from US laws. One of those differences is their towing regulations. You’ll need to check each province’s towing regulations, as they have different length limits, etc.

There are also different weight limits for RVs in Canada. The most common maximum weight allowance for a towed trailer in Canada is 4,500 kg (9,920 lb), but it varies by province.

Since Americans like big trailers and fifth wheels, this size limit can present a big problem. Therefore, it is important to research the weight limitations and weigh station requirements for the provinces you will be traveling through.

For example, British Columbia requires all vehicles with a GVW greater than 5,500 kg (12,125 lbs.) to stop at weigh stations.

Finally, Canadian recreational vehicle seat belt laws require all occupants wear seat belts in an RV.

At the top of every RVers wish list, it is a place so majestic, so wild and so big that it beckons us to return, to explore, to experience the diversity of its land and animals again and again.

everywhere you look they are waterfalls, rushing rivers, geysers, sheer rock faces, towering twisted pinesall framed by mountains under the bright blue cloudless sky.

It is spectacular for those who love nature and get to know it up close. Enjoy Yellowstone for motorhome travel.

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