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Drive to Alaska then ship the RV back?


Velos

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We met a couple yesterday that is from Alaska. When they RV'ed a few years ago they would ship their RV from Anchorage to Seattle and then fly down to pick it up and travel the lower 48. I thought that was an interesting idea and started to put together some figures. They said depending on the size of the RV it was about $6,000 to ship the RV from Seattle to Anchorage but was only $1,500 to ship it back because the shippers many times would have empty vessels going south and would at least make a little money.

 

Using Google Maps it is either 2300 or 2500 mile between Anchorage and Seattle by road. At 7 miles a gallon or 357 gallons (2500 miles) at $3.00 a gallon that would be about $1100 plus RV parks and approximately 50 hours of driving.

 

A one way plane ticket $379 flight time 3 hrs 15 minutes (this was just the estimate from Google I am sure higher and lower tickets are available and the time of year makes a difference). I found this website to calculate specific shipping costs based on the size of your RV: https://www.uship.com/listing2.aspx?c=81

 

To Ship Your RV South:

Shipping approx: ............$1,500

Air fare for one/two .............379/758

Motel in Seattle 5 days.........600 (includes breakfast)

Meals in Seattle one/two.......100/200

Total................................$2579/3058

 

Drive from Anchorage to Seattle:

Gas @$3 per gallon..............$1,100

10 nites in an RV Park ($30) .....300

(guessing 10 days to drive?)

Total....................................$1,400

 

These are all guestimates I have never been to Alaska but thought the idea to save some driving time and wear and tear on the RV might be interesting?

 

Has anyone here done this? What other costs would you include above to make a fair comparison?

 

 

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Sounds like an old wives tail.. and I would check it out before I didn't anything else..oh, and get the quote in writing with a time frame on it...

 

..cost of diesel 1400.00...trucker only charges you a 100 bucks ?? ...these guys can pick up loads on the way...

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Your estimate of $3/gal of fuel is very low. Regardless, we would definitely drive, especially if you've never taken the trip. You can go up on the Alcan and return on the Cassier and see different things. Take your time and spend the whole summer for the trip. There is so much to see in Canada and the Yukon before even reaching Alaska. After two trips we'd do it again without second thoughts.

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Take your time and spend the whole summer for the trip. There is so much to see in Canada and the Yukon before even reaching Alaska. After two trips we'd do it again without second thoughts.

 

Off topic, but X2! Start early and just follow the weather up and back South again. It's VERY easy to make a full summer trip of it. You would be hard pressed to "see it all" in just one trip.

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There are folks who drive up to Alaska and then ship the RV back (or vice versa), some I believe on a vessel that they can also travel on. Plan on higher gas prices in Canada and Alaska ...especially Canada ...I would plan on $5/gallon or more. If you were going to ship it both ways just save the hassle and either fly or take a cruise ship up and back, and rent an RV while in Alaska.

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You may want to add food to your driving budget. We do a lot of our own meals but also eat out . Also, over the last 8 years of travel the RV Park cost is $35 trending toward $40. Some will say just boondock but it gets harder as you go south. Fuel costs are harder right now. Assume a price at $4 a gallon on gas and $5 on Diesel, but that could go higher or lower between now and summer. Diesel in Canada has been a lot closer to $6/gal the past few years, and around $4.50 or higher in Alaska. Prices are coming down but nowhere near what you may be seeing, The freight costs look about right. The only realistic option for an RV is TOTE, Totem Ocean Trailer Express. Don't even think about a barge.

 

Consider joining the May drive where you arrange to take a new RV from the midwest factory to Anchorage, and can get a reduced rental for a while to tour Alaska. Or take a cruise and land tour and rent an RV at the end for some touring. Or just fly up and rent an RV.

 

Pricing is time sensitive. A motel/hotel on the Kenai may go for $65 a night in winter and spring and $200+ in July and August and still not be available.

 

On the other hand, if long-term RV travel is your thing, the only real incremental cost is fuel and only to the extent it is higher than the average.

 

Observation: Most Alaskans I know are way too busy working all summer, so the RV travel is a winter thing. They really don't want to drive the RV in the snow and such for a couple thousand miles so they ship it. In the Spring the thaw is usually in April into May so driving back is not too bad.and they arrive just in time to go to work.

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You may want to add food to your driving budget. We do a lot of our own meals but also eat out . Also, over the last 8 years of travel the RV Park cost is $35 trending toward $40. Some will say just boondock but it gets harder as you go south. Fuel costs are harder right now. Assume a price at $4 a gallon on gas and $5 on Diesel, but that could go higher or lower between now and summer. Diesel in Canada has been a lot closer to $6/gal the past few years, and around $4.50 or higher in Alaska. Prices are coming down but nowhere near what you may be seeing, The freight costs look about right. The only realistic option for an RV is TOTE, Totem Ocean Trailer Express. Don't even think about a barge.

 

Consider joining the May drive where you arrange to take a new RV from the midwest factory to Anchorage, and can get a reduced rental for a while to tour Alaska. Or take a cruise and land tour and rent an RV at the end for some touring. Or just fly up and rent an RV.

 

Pricing is time sensitive. A motel/hotel on the Kenai may go for $65 a night in winter and spring and $200+ in July and August and still not be available.

 

On the other hand, if long-term RV travel is your thing, the only real incremental cost is fuel and only to the extent it is higher than the average.

 

Observation: Most Alaskans I know are way too busy working all summer, so the RV travel is a winter thing. They really don't want to drive the RV in the snow and such for a couple thousand miles so they ship it. In the Spring the thaw is usually in April into May so driving back is not too bad.and they arrive just in time to go to work.

 

 

Thank you for the shipping company name. I rarely drive the RV anymore so DH does 4 hours on a driving day. Should we decide to go to Alaska the drive up is beautiful but both ways would be too tiring for us in one year so the shipping of the RV back to the lower 48 thought not for everyone would give us the best of both worlds so was something we would consider.

 

Doubling the cost of fuel in my estimate would equalize the shipping back.

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Sounds like an old wives tail.. and I would check it out before I didn't anything else..oh, and get the quote in writing with a time frame on it...

 

..cost of diesel 1400.00...trucker only charges you a 100 bucks ?? ...these guys can pick up loads on the way...

 

We weren't thinking of having someone drive the rig back for us but to ship it on a ship from Anchorage to Seattle.

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I could be wrong, but the $6000 sounds to me like a truck shipping rate going North, and the $1500 sounds like a sea shipping rate coming South... Anchorage to Seattle port to port service.

 

 

There are folks who drive up to Alaska and then ship the RV back (or vice versa), some I believe on a vessel that they can also travel on. Plan on higher gas prices in Canada and Alaska ...especially Canada ...I would plan on $5/gallon or more. If you were going to ship it both ways just save the hassle and either fly or take a cruise ship up and back, and rent an RV while in Alaska.

 

Good point, we would only ship it one way and as we would like to see the many sites on the way up so were just considering shipping it back.

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Heck....if I was going to Alaska with my rv.....I would do it both ways up and back. That is why I have an rv.

 

So, if you were physically unable to do it both ways, you just wouldn't go at all?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Shipping is done on a barge. Anouther option is the ferry in which you would have to be there to move it off and on at different location ferry terminals. Very expensive.

 

Gas or diesel is extremly expesive in Canada at almost 5 dollars for gas and almost 7 for diesel.

 

The roads are much better since this last rebuild. Canada is very nice to drive and the place is beautifull.

 

Boondocking most nights would be a plus. There are countless areas to pull over that are safe and private and with most fill ups you get free dumps and fills and some places offer free wash also.

 

it is well worth the drive.

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I never thought that shipping your RV would be because it is cheaper. There is no way you are going to pay somebody to ship it for cheaper than you can drive it. Shipping it would be simply because you don't want to take the time or effort to drive it. DIY is almost always going to be cheaper than paying somebody else.

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Why would anyone spend all the money to buy an RV, then ship it?

We met some RV folks who drove the RV to Alaska and then used the Alaska Marine Highway System to return to Bellingham WA. They loved it and by traveling south in that way the saw very different sights on the return trip. We have seriously considered booking a trip using the cabins on the ferries.

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We decided that we wanted to enjoy both paths up. We went up the Western side of the Canadian Rockies, then came back down via Cassiar Highway to see the Eastern side. Alaska was/is great, but we found some of our favorite campgrounds were off of the Cassiar.

 

If time is an issue, and cost is not a problem, then the one way shipping South is for sure doable.

 

We will be checking out the Inland Passage, but will do that in one of the smaller more private boats. The cruise lines are so fast, getting into a harbor/town and out. Where many of the smaller more private boats have very flexible schedules. We're thinking 2017 to 2018 for that trip...

 

And yes, when my BIL retires - we'll do the RV to Alaska again!!!

 

Best to all,

Smitty

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JM, you mentioned how tiring it would be driving up & back. If you're retired you can take all the time you need to travel both ways. On our second trip I hardly drove 200mi. a day. And if we stayed somewhere we liked, we stayed an extra day or so. We stayed in Dawson Creek, B.C. for a week, Palmer, Ak. for a week, another week in Ninilchik, a month in Soldotna. Then a couple weeks in Seward, another week in Valdez, 1wk. in Stewart.Hyder. And of course quite a few places just for overnights. And before you know it the summer is over, and you wonder where all the time went. I would also recommend the Alaskan hiway up, and the Cassier coming back. It's an incredible journey. One we're looking forward to doing again in 2016.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm from Tampa and know folks who took they boats (50+ long type stuff) to various locations, then flew back. Then, a "rent a captain" would return the boat to their home marine. Why wouldn't it be cheaper to pay someone to drive the thing rather than ship it? My logic is based on what the time value is of not having to drive the thing back, under the premis that this is undesirable for some reason. I think ultimatly, if ya got an RV, just pay it, or don't pay it, but whether either option is cheaper, seems to miss the point. It's recreation to start with isn't it?

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