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Traveling from Columbus, OH to Alaska alone

Columbus, Ohio
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Traveling from Columbus, OH to Alaska alone

I plan on heading out to Alaska in October of this year. Rather than taking the designed, quicker route- I have decided to go through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and then up through Canada towards Alaska. I'm taking a month off work in order to do this trip and I of course will have to rent a vehicle. I have never driven cross-country before all alone and I don't have entirely too much knowledge (but I do have some) on all of these states, including Alaska, but I just feel as if I need to make this trip. Any info, knowledge, tips, anything really from experienced travelers/or Alaskans is much appreciated. This will be roughly a 4800-5000 mile trip for me (one way)

*I am aware that there are chances of winter weather in the places I plan on visiting. That is not a problem

16 replies to this topic
London, England
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1. Re: Traveling from Columbus, OH to Alaska alone

Sounds like an interesting trip.

I am assuming that you know yourself well enough to know whether you are content spending time on your own. Most of the regulars on this forum love the freedom of solo travel and can find the world amusing without someone constantly by their side. It is not that we never get lonely, just that on balance, the freedom and independence is worth the occasional down moment.

A month isn't as long as it sounds so sit down with a map and work out a provisional route, ideally one that is loose enough that it allows for following an impulse sometimes even when it takes you off the planned path.

Time in lots of breaks and keep you daily millage sensible.

I do think the best trips come from visiting places and doing things you have always wanted to do.

Bring a map along with whatever GPS comes with the car.

Keep your phone charged.

Don't get drunk with people you don't know well.

Check the driving laws online for each the state you are driving through and look in your rear view mirror even if you are on a long deserted highway. (My daughter didn't check her mirror on a drive from Utah to Austin and didn't realise there was a police officer with lights on behind her for miles. Fortunately she finally looked and pulled over. The officer told her the next step would have involved shooting out her tires)

Some good guidebooks would be useful. I like the Lonely Planet Guides for the background they give as well as the practical information but leaf through a few different ones at the library or bookstore to see what suits you.

If you like to read, bring a Kindle e-reader. A paperwhite or above has an adjustable internal light. Motels rarely have good lighting for reading.

My daughter took a month long solo trip driving around the western US and said it was one of the best months of her life.

Have a fantastic time.

London, England
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2. Re: Traveling from Columbus, OH to Alaska alone

Looking at your other posts, you seem to be planning a round trip.

That may be a bit rushed in the time you have.

It may make sense to do this in two different years.

Drive the first loop one year (maybe the lower 48,) then the Canadian and Alaskan part another year, flying in to Canada, especially in view of the weather and the length of the days. The further north you go the more the length of day varies with the time of year.

What people mean about admission to Canada is not only that you can't bring guns or drugs in but that if you have a conviction for drinking and driving (at least in the last 5 years and possibly longer) you will not be admitted. I doubt that you would be foolish enough to lie about that to Canadian immigration officers, but in any case they have a shared data base.

Edited: 15 July 2018, 13:42
Canada
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3. Re: Traveling from Columbus, OH to Alaska alone

Yes winter weather is never a problem until it is. Being cavalier about the weather has gotten many people into serious trouble. Winter tires and/or chains will be needed in BC after October 1

I wander the world
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4. Re: Traveling from Columbus, OH to Alaska alone

I drive a fair amount. It doesn't much matter where you are long-haul averages out for about 50 miles in an hour. Even if you are eating drive-thru food ya still gotta stop for gas and potties. Mind you this is on good, clear roads.

I have criss crossed American heaps of times with added multiple trips from Denver to LA, Denver to Washingtons and up and down both coasts more than once. I doubt I would plan to drive from Ohio to Alaska and back in 30 days.

What I have done on my more recent trips is pointed in a direction and circled back as I run out of time. Don't get your mind DEAD set on getting anywhere especially during the winter months. Road closures alone can mess with an itinerary. Best advice my mother ever gave me "You can always change your mind"

If you think you need to do this read up on driving winter conditions, pack like you may be stuck in your car in below zero temps overnight. A shovel and something for traction. There are some fair uninhabited places out there, your phone may not always work. Pay attention to your gas gauge, signs such as "last gas for 100 miles" are common.

on a side note ~ does your car rental agency know you are taking the car through Canada? I have not taken a rental out of the country I started in, have no idea what the rules are. Rent an all-wheel drive car with really good tires.

edit ~ the guys at the Candain border have ZERO sense of humor. I have been though border crossings all over the world... those guys are FOCUSED!

Edited: 15 July 2018, 22:45
r c
Portland, Oregon
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5. Re: Traveling from Columbus, OH to Alaska alone

welcome,

you may want to check with the car rental places to be sure they are ok with you taking a car up there and out of out/in of the country.

also, from what i hear, the roads are hard on vehicles.

good luck

Seattle
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6. Re: Traveling from Columbus, OH to Alaska alone

This is one-way right? (judging by the mileage you mention) You're flying home from Alaska?

Madison, WI
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7. Re: Traveling from Columbus, OH to Alaska alone

No...RT...planning on about 10000 miles in a month. She's planning on returning it to the point of rental.

r c
Portland, Oregon
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8. Re: Traveling from Columbus, OH to Alaska alone

im back,

also some rentals have per mile fees too.

good luck

Seattle
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9. Re: Traveling from Columbus, OH to Alaska alone

<No...RT...planning on about 10000 miles in a month>

Oh dear :( and people here really think that is feasible? Advisable?

San Francisco...
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10. Re: Traveling from Columbus, OH to Alaska alone

Double check the boarder crossing information before you leave. I know from watching documentaries on TV there are strict rules about what you can bring into and out of Canada, what documentations you need, and that certain prior arrests or convictions might not allow you to enter.

I always recommend traveling with a good credit card that you can use for trip protection (rental car insurance, emergency road side support, etc.). Plus it will allow you to charge items if something happens. As others have said, I would also take extra food and water in the car. Just in case something happens. 2 gallons of water and some food will be under $10.

Download the areas that you will be traveling on your phone using Google Maps. This way you always have navigation even if you don't have cell service. https:/…

I looked on Google Maps and it says it will take about 3 full days of driving to get to Alaska from Ohio. This is based on current weather. Since you can't drive 24 hours strait, I would plan on a 7 days of driving (just in case). Also keep in mind crossing the border might take a few hours.

I like to research before I go what to see along the way while you drive and what to see and do when your in Alaska. I would hate to drive by something cool just because you didn't know it was there. Also when I'm visiting somewhere new I like to read about the food. I like to eat at the most famous restaurant where ever I go, not most expensive, just most popular.

Sometimes you can rack up a lot of points by booking with the same hotel/motel throughout your whole trip. For example I like Choice Hotels and they have a deal if you book two separate trips you get a $50 gift card. This is on top of the points you earn.

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