If you are going to Alaska, do this… don’t fool around and be a tourist on the way up. That is, DON’T plan for a couple of weeks in Banff Park or stop to see the Badlands in South Dakota or anything else. Just go on up to Alaska. I’m not suggesting long, hard driving days and that you never stop for anything, but don’t plan to spend extra days just being a tourist getting there. Here’s why…
When you get to Alaska (as early as possible in your trip), if you hate it up there, then just turn around, come back, take all the time you want being a tourist coming back, and see what you want to see. BUT, if you find you just love it up there, then you will have maximum time to spend in your farthest destination. Doing this is important because the farthest destination is the most difficult to get back to again! It’s relatively easy to go back to Banff or the Badlands on another trip. It’s much more difficult to get back to Alaska.
For example, we spent one night in Whitehorse (in the Walmart parking lot) on the way up but spent five days in a campground in Whitehorse on the way back. Whitehorse is a great place to visit but not at the expense of your time in Alaska.
So, plan your trip to have maximum time in the farthest destination. It will be worth it. Thank me later.