Alaska

Alaska is a land of superlatives. Nicknamed ‘The Last Frontier’, it’s the realm of bald eagles, grizzlies, orcas, alpine peaks, and glacier-carved fjords. From bear viewing in Denali National Park with the backdrop of Mt McKinley to paddle boarding through a sea of icebergs in the Inside Passage; meeting unique native Alaskans from whom you’ll absorb the traditional music to visiting the isolated town of Barrow, the northernmost point on the North American continent, Alaska is a place of unimaginable scale.

When to Visit

Alaska is big, equal to one-fifth of the United States. Summer is the best time to visit unless you are travelling to view shimmering northern lights. The interior summer can reach up to 30 degrees. The Southern regions will average 13-21 degrees and it's always recommended to bring a rain coat and some warm clothes.

Highlights

ANCHORAGE Anchorage is the perfect place to enjoy flightseeing trips by floatplane or a full day excursion to Prince William Sound. The region also offers ocean habitat for whales, porpoises, sea otters, sea lions and seals.

DENALI NATIONAL PARK Denali National Park is home to Alaska’s “Big Five”; bears, wolves, dall sheep, caribou and moose. This thriving landscape is backed by the dominating Mt McKinley, one of the most amazing sights in Alaska.

GLACIER BAY Alaska’s classic beauty can be found exploring the Inside Passage. These splendid waterways begin in the dense forested coastlines of the Pacific Northwest and continue to Juneau, Skagway and Glacier Bay.

SMALL SHIP CRUISES Small ships show you what other cruises cannot. Explore the inner reaches of Alaska’s amazing fjords, sail so close to glaciers you can almost touch them, and get up-close to the shoreline to experience the wildlife.

ARCTIC CIRCLE For many visitors, crossing the Arctic Circle is a memorable moment. The Inupiat town of Barrow is home to one of the largest Eskimo communities. This far north, the sun doesn’t set for 82 days, shining from around May 10th to August 2nd.

NORTHERN LIGHTS People come from around the world to view Alaska’s northern lights, the ‘Aurora Borealis’. One of nature’s most inspiring sights, the northern lights appear most often on cold, clear nights from late September through April.

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Useful Information

Electricity

Electrical Plug: USA Voltage: 110-120 Volts Modem Plug: US (same as New Zealand) Source: Korjo Travel Products. To purchase electrical/modem adapters, or for further information on this matter, please view the Korjo adapter guide at www.korjo.com.au.

Communications

Country Code for the USA: +1 Offical Travel Advice: Visit www.safetravel.govt.nz Emergency Services: 911

Shopping

In the U.S., the various levels of government generally do not regulate the hours of the vast majority of retailers (though there are exceptions, such as blue law), and with the main exception being shops licensed to sell spirits and other alcoholic beverages (for shopping hours, see alcohol sale hours by state) and car dealership. Shopping hours vary widely based on management considerations and customer needs. Key variables are the size of the metropolitan area, the type of store, and the size of the store. Typical store shopping hours: Monday - Saturday 9 - 10 a.m. to 8 - 10 p.m. (9:00 - 10:00 to 20:00 - 22:00) Sunday 11 - 12 noon to 5 - 7 p.m. (11:00 - 12:00 to 17:00 - 19:00).

Tipping

Tipping is a widely practiced social custom in the United States. In restaurants,[52] a gratuity of 15% to 20% of the amount of a customer’s check is customary when good service is provided.[53] Tips are also generally given for services provided in golf courses, casino, hotels, food delivery, taxis, and salons.

Getting around

There are numerous underground train systems in operation in major cities including New York (subway), Washington, DC (metro), Boston ('T'), Chicago (train) and San Francisco (BART - Bay Area Rapid Transit); others are being planned or built. There are also several tramway and trolleybus systems, including the much-loved antique trams found in San Francisco, although in many cities a car will be needed to get around, due to lack of public transport.

Language

English 82%, Spanish 11%, other European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific Island 2.7%.

Visa's

Official travel advice regarding visas is available by calling 04 439 8000 or visiting their website www.safetravel.govt.nz

Customs

Personal comportment often appears crass, loud, and effusive to people from other cultures, but Americans value emotional and bodily restraint. The permanent smile and unrelenting enthusiasm of the stereotypical American may mask strong emotions whose expression is not acceptable. Bodily restraint is expressed through the relatively large physical distance people maintain with each other, especially men. Breast-feeding, yawning, and passing gas in public are considered rude. Americans consider it impolite to talk about money and age.

Health

The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor on (+64) 9 373 3531. Vaccination against Hepatitis B and Rabies (particularly if working with animals) should be considered by frequent or long stay travellers to the United States. Dengue Fever occurs in the US, thus insect avoidance measures may be recommended depending on your itinerary. Regardless of destination, all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine "background" vaccinations, including a recent annual Influenza vaccination. Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. New Zealanders travelling to the United States should ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay. Medications that are legal in New Zealand may be illegal in other countries.

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