If you’re planning your first-ever trip to the great wilds of Alaska, you may be wondering whether or not you should go it alone or work with a trusted company offering experienced Alaskan tour guides as you explore the Last Frontier State.

While there are a number of benefits that you may experience traveling alone, they likely don’t outweigh the cons, especially if this is going to be your first time in Alaska. While you may be able to travel at your own pace and take a few additional detours when traveling alone, Alaska is a vast, shockingly large state with lots of hidden treasures that you may not be able to see without the assistance of a knowledgeable local guide.

If you’re concerned about the costs of a guided tour versus traveling alone, there are a number of things to consider when calculating your total costs; while it may seem like a larger sum initially, under certain circumstances traveling alone may actually be the more costly option.

Here are just some of the benefits you’ll experience when traveling with Alaskan tour guides:

Insider knowledge: When you travel with Alaskan tour guides, you’re traveling with a resident who’s exceptionally knowledgeable about the history of the local area, hidden gems that you simply have to see and the most relevant safety tips. You’ll learn a lot more about your destinations when traveling with a guide.

Social experiences: There’s nothing better than enjoying the stunning beauty of Alaska—other than enjoying it with a slew of like-minded people and new friends. When you travel with a guided, escorted tour group in Alaska, you can enjoy some of the world’s most amazing scenery with a small group of interesting people that may become lifelong friends.

All the planning is taken care of: Planning a trip, especially to a locale as remote and difficult to access as Alaska, can be a real challenge. When you travel with an escorted group, however, you don’t have to worry about booking hotels, procuring transportation or even finding a good spot to eat! All the planning is taken care of by your knowledgeable tour guides.

More cost-effective: While it may seem like the cost of booking a prearranged escorted tour is more than the cost of traveling independently, you almost always get more bang for your buck when traveling with a group. Because tour groups have prearranged relationships with restaurants, museums, hotels and coach companies, they can often secure better rates.

Since 2011, Alaska Wild Guides has been a premier source of Alaska tour guides. We’re proud to offer exciting adventure trips through the great Alaskan wilderness. Our highly qualified, exceptionally knowledgeable team members will provide you with a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience unlike anything you’ve ever known before. We offer year-round tours for people of all ages and physical fitness levels. To learn more about our upcoming tour schedule or to find an adventure tour that’s right for you, reach out to one of our friendly representatives today.

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, is an astronomical phenomenon caused by magnetic winds falling toward Earth after solar storms on the surface of the sun. When these magnetic winds interact with the Earth’s magnetic field, the opposing magnetic fields result in dazzling displays of color and light that dance across the sky. Viewing the northern lights, whether it’s for the first time or the hundredth time, can be an amazing and transformative experience.

These exciting, awe-inspiring events have dazzled people in the northern reaches of the globe for centuries. Stories of dancing lights in the sky populate the mythologies of many indigenous peoples throughout Alaska, Northern Canada and beyond.

If you’re planning a trip to the Last Frontier State in the near future, you may be wondering how you can optimize your chances of seeing the northern lights in Alaska. While the event really depends on unpredictable solar flares, there are a number of steps that you can take that will increase your chances of seeing the lights, including:

Plan for the right time of year: If you’re hoping to see the northern lights in Alaska, don’t visit in the summertime! The near constant daylight makes it impossible to see space weather activity, regardless of how strong it may be. The northern lights are most visible during the equinox months of March and September, thanks to the tilt of the Earth’s axis.

Go north: The further north you are, the more likely it is that you’ll experience the northern lights. It’s advisable to start in Fairbanks, and travel north from there if you hope to see the northern lights. While it is possible to see them in the more southerly areas around Anchorage or on the Alaska Panhandle, it’s a substantially lower chance.

Check the predictions: Check up on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Space Weather Prediction Center for up-to-date predictions on solar activity. Additionally, checking the regular weather forecast can help you determine if the sky will be clear enough to see any space weather activity.

Get out of town: Don’t expect to see the northern lights in Alaska in the center of Fairbanks, or any other mid-size town, for that matter. Your best chance of receiving an immersive northern lights experience is to get far out of town, away from the bright lights of the city.

If you’re hoping to truly optimize your chances of seeing the aurora borealis while traveling in Alaska, your best bet is to book a spot with a special northern lights tour.

Alaska Wild Guides is a wilderness adventure tour company in Girdwood, AK offering extensive tours of the Last Frontier State, including tours designed to help guests see the northern lights in Alaska. To learn more about our comprehensive range of wilderness adventure tours, or to join in our next Northern Lights tour, reach out to one of our friendly, knowledgeable representatives today. We strive to provide each and every one of our guests with an awe-inspiring, once-in-a-lifetime experience that they’re sure to remember.