Looking for Alaska Expert Travel Agent

Old Jul 10th, 2019, 01:28 PM
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Looking for Alaska Expert Travel Agent

Now, before all you great contributors tell me I can do it myself, I know I could. But my trip planning has evolved to a method that works well for me. Lots of research, including here and on TA, collecting advice and suggestions, formulating a wishlist, looking at maps, and creating my itinerary. Then I like to work with a travel agent who is an expert for my destination to find lodging, sort timing, make all the reservations, and tie up all the loose ends. To be honest, I donít enjoy the minutiae of travel planning.

It is is very important to find an expert agent, not just someone who sells me stuff.. I had excellent results with an Africa expert and a NZ expert who is in Auckland. Neither of them handle Alaska.

Any suggestions from your experience are most welcome.
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Old Jul 10th, 2019, 05:42 PM
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Okay for some honesty?

Travel agents make money on commissions paid mainly by cruise lines and (some) chain hotels. Most of them don't know beans about Alaska apart from what they've been told by the cruise lines or maybe what they learned on a "fam" (familiarization) trip.

I would be looking for a travel "concierge," of which a few are shown on a google search. I think the best way to figure out who can help is to ask some specific questions to a couple of different people - questions you already know the answer to - and compare their responses.

Before that, however, why don't you share your outline plan? The reason I suggest this is that Alaska is so big that some people know one region - say Denali and the interior, but don't know anything about Southeast Alaska or places like the Aleutians or the southwest of the state. Others, maybe based in Juneau or Ketchikan, know their part of the state inside and out, but would be clueless about Kodiak or the northwest arctic - over a thousand miles and several cultures of distance. If we know the skeleton of your plans, some more targeted suggestions might be forthcoming. Hope that makes sense.
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Old Jul 11th, 2019, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by MyBaggage View Post
Now, before all you great contributors tell me I can do it myself, I know I could. But my trip planning has evolved to a method that works well for me. Lots of research, including here and on TA, collecting advice and suggestions, formulating a wishlist, looking at maps, and creating my itinerary. Then I like to work with a travel agent who is an expert for my destination to find lodging, sort timing, make all the reservations, and tie up all the loose ends. To be honest, I donít enjoy the minutiae of travel planning.

It is is very important to find an expert agent, not just someone who sells me stuff.. I had excellent results with an Africa expert and a NZ expert who is in Auckland. Neither of them handle Alaska.

Any suggestions from your experience are most welcome.
Yes, gardyloo, honesty is one of the reasons I come here. Thanks for not making me feel guilty or lazy. "Travel concierge" is a new term for me. Coincidentally, on Tuesday, I sent off a request to All Alaska Tours in Anchorage. I was referred to them by one of the lodges I contacted. The AAT website does not look like a typical travel agent website - almost like it caters to travel agents. I sent my preliminary itinerary and wish list. Last night I got a detailed reply, with some tweaks to the order of my itinerary for logistics reasons that make good sense. Also suggestions as to timing. They suggested I make my own reservation with Camp Denali now. The "price list" for other suppliers isn't available until the fall so they will contact me then. In the meantime, i am welcome to contact them with any question. I forgot to ask the overall question - do you charge a fee for your service, and I will ask that today. But I was pleased with my initial communication.

My wish list includes:
bears, whales, glaciers, bald eagles, coastal time, inland time, history, local arts/culture, maybe dog sleds. Minimal one-night stays, with open time to explore. Not interested in night life (of the human kind) or shopping other than local arts/crafts. Probably doing this in late August/early September.

Days 1-3: Sitka with wildlife, nature, glacier cruises (open to another night here)
Day 4-5: Fly to ANC, two museums I want to see, overnight there
Day 6: Bus to Denali - overnight at park entrance (I understand the bus ride offers better views than the train, but this is all flexible. Driving would be OK, but I don't want to pay for rental car to sit in the train depot parking lot for 4 nights)
Days 7-10: Camp Denali (4 nights, with the CD shuttle for pickup/delivery to the train depot)
Day 11: Train to Anchorage, overnight there
Day 12: Pick up car, drive to Seward, allow the full day driving for stops, photos, etc.
Day 13-14: Seward with Kenai Fjords Park Cruise for marine wildlife and glaciers, Heli dog sledding(maybe), (am open to another day here)
Day 15-16: Drive to Homer, overnight there. bear flight safari (am open to another day here)
Day 17-18: Drive to Girdwood, overnight Hotel Alyeska
Day 19: Drive to Anchorage, return car, depart for home
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Old Jul 11th, 2019, 09:54 AM
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I'm not aware of any day cruises out of Sitka for glacier viewing if that's what you mean. I don't think there are any close enough.
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Old Jul 12th, 2019, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Patty View Post
I'm not aware of any day cruises out of Sitka for glacier viewing if that's what you mean. I don't think there are any close enough.
Thanks, for the clarification. My description was too "generic". Plans are wildlife tours, a fjord tour perhaps.
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Old Jul 25th, 2019, 01:56 AM
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It's difficult to rely on anyone. But, there are few travel agents who do all booking for you in Alaska. Be aware of fraud travel agents. You can book your flight with Airline Change Flights....
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Old Jul 25th, 2019, 03:58 AM
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A friend used a TA who was based in Talkeetna who did all the planning for a trip to Alaska. The TA was a woman and she made all the reservations for them including things like excursions, lodging etc. They were very pleased with the service. Unfortunately, I have no way to get her contact information, but perhaps you could try google with something like "female TA in Talkeetna"
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Old Aug 12th, 2022, 11:22 AM
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A way overdue follow up: I found a superlative agent who lives in Alaska. She suggested the order of my itinerary, knew the owners of the small ship IP cruise company I had researched, and told me that my Camp Denali experience would be every bit as wonderful as it turned out to be. Marjy knows Alaska, listened to my wish list, budget requirements, etc. and nailed it. An almost one-month trip of a lifetime. Thank you, Marjy.
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