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Plan now for vacation trips later this year

Don Quilici author photo, myoutdoorbuddy.com

Article and photos by Don Quilici
02/01/15 -- If you are like Elaine and I, I would be willing to bet that by now, you are feeling trapped in your home by our winter weather.

As a die-hard winter addict, I personally love cold days, frosty nights, frigid temperatures, deep snow, thick ice, long hours of darkness and the starkness of our landscapes in the wintertime.

However, I must candidly admit that our winter this year has not had the deep snow and ice that I dearly love.

However, when Elaine and I are tired of being bored, browsing on the internet, playing card games on the computer and feeling like the walls are closing in, we take some remedial action that you might also try.

Welcome to Alaska sign, Photo Don Quilici

Here's what we do:
We stay busy for hours at a time, planning and working on future spring, summer and fall activities, vacation trips, fishing excursions, etc.

We drag out all kinds of maps, brochures and pamphlets, then get busy on the internet contacting websites and making telephone calls.

It is a great way to pass the time on a winter day, plus it can be very productive and as a bonus, it can also save lots of money later in the year.

Quaint town of Alaska with steepled building in the background, Photo Don Quilici

More importantly, when spring and summer arrive it is very gratifying to know that all of your necessary reservations and plans are solidly in place.

So, if you are thinking of going somewhere special later this year, why not take the time, now, to work on all of the necessary arrangements.

It is a perfect way to wait out the seemingly endless winter.

Here is an important tip:
This is the best time of the year to get the best prices on all kinds of things such as: Airline tickets, car rentals, hotel and motel reservations and tours.

Large brown bear walking down road beside tour bus, Photo Don Quilici

On all of our previous trips to Alaska (I've been there 14 times, Elaine has been there 8 times), British Columbia (we've been there 3 times), The Yukon (we've been there 3 times) and Alberta (we've been there once), we have worked like two little beavers to firm up our travel agendas, obtain information, purchase airline tickets, reserve rental cars, book hotel and motel reservations, select sightseeing tours, lock in fishing trips, etc.

A large group of seal lions sunning on rocky cliffs off Alaskan coast, Photo Don Quilici

Then, when summer arrives, we just sit back, grin and enjoy ourselves.

Far North:
If you have never traveled to Far North locations such as Alaska, Alberta, British Columbia and The Yukon, be advised that there is a huge world of difference between making all of your necessary arrangements now, as opposed to doing so at the very last minute.

Alaska:
When traveling to and in Alaska, when it comes to prices, if your plans are not locked in solidly well before summer arrives, you will have a very rude culture shock waiting for you.

Anchor Point AK, signage with Alaskan waters in the background, Photo Don Quilici

As an example, if you were to wait to the last minute, the price for airline tickets could be as much as 3-4 times what you pay at this time of year.

Geez, why pay a god-awful amount for an airline ticket in June, July or August to fly roundtrip from Reno to Alaska when it costs a lot less to buy your tickets now? That just doesn't make any sense.

Plus if you make your reservations now, you have much more flexibility in setting your departure, arrival dates and times and seat locations.

Denali National Park:
If you are thinking of taking that special trip to Alaska that includes a bus sightseeing tour at Denali National Park, do it now, do it now, do it now.

Denali National Park and Preserve sign, Photo Don Quilici

If you wait until the last minute to book a park tour, good luck! You will need it. Your chances of getting on one of those tour buses will be about as good as my chances of winning the Lotto - Slim to none.

At the park, the only road vehicles permitted are authorized park vehicles, tour buses and authorized professional photographers.

Welcome to Sitka sign, Alaskan mountains and waters in the background, Photo Don Quilici

Rental rates:
As another example of early pre-planning, the rental rate of your vehicle climbs dramatically when you compare making the rental at this time of the year as compared to doing so in June, July or August.

If you reserve that car, van or truck, right now, you also have a greater flexibility in specifying the type and size of that vehicle.

Hotels/motels:
Here again, you have much more flexibility at this time of the year in choosing specific hotels/motels; and you do not run the risk of those overnight accommodations being sold out, if you wait to make your reservations at the last moment.

Gwennie's Old Alaska Restaurant building, Photo Don Quilici

Finally:
These examples should give you a good idea of why it is so important to do your planning, scheduling and reservation-making at this time of the year.

Besides, about now, you are probably getting tired of staring out the window at winter surroundings and you can't go anywhere or do anything.

Work now, so you can take the time to smell the roses later in the summer.

Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you about our top two favorite locations for having fun in Alaska.

Land's End restaurant building, Photo Don Quilici

If he grins and says, Their top two favorite locations for having fun are:

1: The Homer Spit with the Land's End Hotel and the Salty Dawg Saloon for photography, partying and overnight accommodations, and

Salty Dawg Saloon building, Photo Don Quilici
2: Sitka for sightseeing, accommodations and the Halibut, King Salmon, Silver Salmon, Ling Cod and Yelloweye fishing in the ocean," he could have been on one of their previous trips to those two special locations.

Don Quilici has been writing about the outdoors from his post in Carson City, NV for many years. His fishing report is posted courtesy of CarsonNow.org.

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