Alaska is more expensive than most other states and major cities. There’s little budget accommodation and eating and drinking will set you back at least twenty percent more than in the Lower 48 (perhaps fifty percent in more remote regions). Still, experiencing Alaska on a low budget is possible, though it requires planning and off-peak travel. From June to August room prices are crazy; May and September, when tariffs are relaxed and the weather only slightly chillier, are equally good times to go, and in April or October you’ll have the place to yourself, albeit with a smaller range of places to stay and eat. Ground transport, despite the long distances, is reasonable, with backpacker shuttles between major centres, although it is often easier to combine a car rental with flights. Winter, when hotels drop their prices by as much as half, is becoming an increasingly popular time to visit, particularly for the dazzling aurora borealis.
While winter temperatures of -40˚F are commonplace in Fairbanks, the most touristed areas – the southeast and the Kenai Peninsula – enjoy a maritime climate (45–65˚F in summer) similar to that of the Pacific Northwest, meaning much more rain (in some towns 180-plus inches per year) than snow. Remarkably, the summer temperature in the Interior often reaches 80˚F.