【Fairbanks】 The information of Car Rental and Travel Experience in my summer vacation
This article is for:
- If you are planning a trip to “Alaska Fairbanks”
- If you are interested in the American cultures and experiences, I would like to write a brief note on renting a car
I would like to share my experiences of renting a car because sometimes it does not go well the first time you travel.
The first thing I would like to tell people who are coming from Japan, other countries, or within the U.S. is you may not be able to rent a car at the airport without a reservation.
This means that might be you should make a reservation in advance.
This can be solved by making reservations in advance, but for people like me who decide on a trip based on my mood and intuition, it is better to know this information at the beginning.
Especially during the summer vacation season, rental cars at the airport are almost always super busy and sold out. Luckily, there were some trucks available, but they cost over $200 per day. That is ridiculous for a single traveler. And If you don’t have car insurance, it will cost you more for sure.
If you are traveling alone or staying for a long period of time, the cost of renting a car alone is enough to make your head hurt. If you stay for a week, the cost of hotels, meals, and a rental car will be outrageous. My calculations show that it was well over $3000, and it will probably be more if you splurge on food.
So, I couldn’t get a rental car at the airport and asked them how to get a car at the time, then I got some information for you.
If you can’t get a rental car at the airport, don’t worry! There is still a way!
Alaska Auto Rental’s official website: https://alaskaautorental.com/
They were my lifesaver.
The service was super great, and they gave me all the local information that only the locals can know.
I was able to get all the information I needed about my favorite breweries, coffee shops, etc….
So, I got all the information I needed at Alaska Auto Rental. Thank you Regina.
The photos don’t do it justice, but I will write in my blog about some of the coffee shops and restaurants I recommend in the future.
Back to my story, I rented the least expensive Chevrolet Malibu.
The car I rented was restricted by regulations and could only go to certain places.
If you want to go to “ColdFoot,” which is a famous location to see the Northern Lights, you will need to rent a larger car and there are driving restrictions on some roads. And there is an additional fee for driving on those roads.
I had them do the calculations for me.
With the Chevy Malibu, it came to about $880 with the windshield warranty (an additional $10 per day) if you don’t go on unpaved roads.
I was told that a 7 day SUV rental would cost about $2500. (without insurance) I have used my own insurance for a rental car.
Most rental car companies do not allow you to drive on unpaved roads. Although the “Alaska Highway” and “Dalton Highway” may sound like smooth freeways, they actually fall into the “unpaved” category.
The girls who goes/top3 things to know about renting a car in Alaska/Jul 15, 2017
As noted from the above blog.
Most car rental companies have restrictions and additional fees if you are going on unpaved roads.
However, even with a small car, you can go to Chena Hot Springs, there is my favorite place to go now, the Fairbanks downtown area, and Denali National Park (note that small cars cannot go along the Denali Highway). If you are not looking for a wild trip, but just sightseeing, a small car will do just fine!
The staff at Alaska Auto Rentals will be able to give you more information about this, so it would be a good idea to let them know before you rent a car there.
If you show them the English version of my blog, they will know what you want to ask.
They are really nice people and I highly recommend Alaska Auto Rental!
The prices may be a little lower than the major airport rental agencies such as “enterprise” and “hertz”, but I would recommend this rental car even if you have to pay a little more.
You will be treated with warmth and service that you would not experience at a regular rental car company.
You also get a free bottle of water.
All prices have gone up in recent years due to inflation in the U.S. and Covid-19.
If you spend $1000 or $2000 or more on a hotel or rental car, you may end up saving money even if you want to eat delicious food, and it would be a mistake to spend money on a hotel or car and not enjoy Alaska’s nature and fish dishes.
For hotels, I definitely recommend using “Airbnb” official website:https://www.airbnb.com/
We recommend that you use hotels such as those listed below.
To be honest, hotels of all ranks are really expensive. I mean not that cheap.
※The above photo is taken from Google Map
Most hotels are over $100 per night in Fairbanks.
The most expensive hotel is $400 per night.
If you are planning to stay for a long period of time, you can use Airbnb to save on travel expenses and spend more money on food and experiences.
For campers like me, it’s a good idea to stay at a campsite for one night.
The price for a night at a campsite can range from $15 to $40. Most campgrounds are $20 per night, according to my research.
Of course, I came to Fairbanks by plane this time, so I didn’t have any camping gear. There is a rental service, so you can search for “Alaska Outdoor Gear Rental Fairbanks” on Google.
In my case for this time, I bought a mat and a thin sleeping bag at Walmart instead of renting.
There is also a Walmart in Fairbanks, so you can buy most of your camping gear there.
The car looks like this. It was pretty comfortable but it was cold too.
A mat is usually $30-$50 and a thin sleeping bag is just $10.
Actually, with only these items, I woke up in the middle of the night because it was cold at night even in the summer of Alaska.
Personally, I would suggest sleeping in heavy clothing, or a blanket, or a warmer sleeping bag. I came here with only one backpack (no suitcase), so I had only these two items in the size I could carry home.
Well, You can also use your car’s heater.
I think you can sleep comfortably if you have a thin blanket as an additional item.
In this article, I would like to share with you some tips for renting a car in Fairbanks on your trip to Alaska. The big thing here in the U.S. is that you can get by without a plan.
To summarize, the things to keep in mind are:
- Cars are likely to be sold out unless you reserve in advance.
- The places you can go are limited depending on the type of car. (Some rental companies charge extra for passenger cars like Chevy Malibu if you are going to rough roads.)
- Airbnb is recommended for hotels. (Regular hotels are expensive and not for long-term stays, so be prepared for that.)
- If you want to enjoy nature at a campground instead of a hotel, you will need to bring items to keep you warm, such as a blanket or a proper sleeping bag if you are sleeping in a tent or car, not in an RV, as it is quite cold at night, even in summer.
That’s all there is to it.
Many first-time visitors may be concerned about the cost and budget.
We hope this article will be of some help to you.
Thank you for reading.
I hope your trip is safe and enjoyable!
See you soon.