So, you are considering moving to the so-called “Last Frontier” of the USA, but are not sure whether this is the right call? Of course, while Alaska draws you in with its untouched nature and ice-capped mountains, it is also a fairly versatile and complex state. Moving to Alaska can be quite challenging and there are some things that you need to consider prior to making your final decision.
Moving to Alaska – Things to Consider Beforehand
There are many reasons why you want to move to Alaska – it could be that you are drawn to its vastness and wilderness. It could be that you are craving the peace and tranquility only certain parts of Alaska can provide. Or it could be that you simply want to see the Northern Lights on a regular basis. The reasons, whatever they are, are valid, but you need to prepare before taking such a big step. Here are some things you should know before moving to Alaska.
Untouched nature does not mean isolation
One of the best things about Alaska is, undoubtedly, its nature. With many natural parks, preserves and its vast array of ice-clad mountains, Alaska is truly a sight to behold. If you are an active person, you will definitely not go a day without adventures. There is always something to see, something to do and somewhere to be. This can also be great if you are looking for an escape from the stress of your daily life. Each new day can mean a new adventure!
And while you may think that so much nature inevitably means isolation, we are here to dissuade you. Of course, compared to the other USA states, it does seem that Alaska is somewhat of a “loner,” and that it is truly intended for people craving solitude. It sits in its northern corner of the world and it is, after all, separate from the main part of the USA. However, that does not mean that it is completely uninhabited. If you want to get the feeling between isolation and big-city-hype, there are cities like Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau. Not quite as large as, let’s say, Chicago, but not as isolated as a cabin in the middle of the North Slope. So, if you want the best of both worlds, Alaska is the place to be!
Alaska is cold, but that depends on the area
We know that the general idea everyone gets about Alaska is that it is cold. And while that is true for a large part of this USA’s northernmost state, there are areas with milder winters and warmer summers. This difference in temperature can be quite astonishing, but this is mainly due to the fact that Alaska is so vast and that its landscape is quite diverse. If you are not too fond of harsh winters, however, we suggest that you explore the climate of Alaska as thoroughly as possible before deciding on whether or not you should be moving to Alaska. It is true that the north will typically be colder, but, for instance, Fairbanks, which is located at the heart of this US state, is known for some jaw-dropping low temperatures as well.
Cost of living is high but there are some perks
Many things have to be transported a long way before they reach Alaska. This means that this will have an effect on their price. This includes the price of food at the store, as well as restaurant and bar prices. It also includes the price of any particular items you may wish to acquire. However, this will vary with regard to the actual place you choose as your home. Again, some costs in remote, more rural parts of Alaska can be quite higher than in, let’s say, Fairbanks. If you eventually decide to move to Alaska, it is also good to try to save up on moving costs, as this distance can also seriously increase them.
When it comes to home prices and rent prices, these can also vary from place to place. According to some data, they are generally higher than the national average, but not by much. It is also usually recommended to buy a home instead of renting an apartment. As for the utilities, they are mostly on par with the rest of the US.
Take note, however, that, because of revenues it receives from its oil pipeline, the state has decided that there is no income tax. When you also consider the fact that there is no sales tax, this may offset the annoyance you get when you see the cost of your groceries. If you are still having doubts, know that Alaska actually (as unreal as it sounds) pays its citizens to live there!
How to prepare for the actual move?
If you have been considering moving to Alaska, you need to know that this is definitely not a head-first type of situation. Moving, in general, can cause a great deal of stress, especially when crossing such a great distance towards your destination. You will need to prepare, and prepare well. Organizing a move to Alaska can be time-consuming, but it needs to be done right. Here are some things to think about when preparing for your move:
- Choose the right moving company. After all, you will place your belongings in their hands and they have to transport it a very long way. This is perhaps the most important step. If you decide to move by yourself, this should be done only if you are familiar with the route. Also, you need to be accustomed to long hours behind the wheel.
- Pack tight, pack right. Take note that your things, together with the truck carrying them, will be faced with possible (perhaps too possible) bumps in the road. Be especially careful when packing fragile items. Many companies have the option of refunding what has been damaged. But, this should be viewed as a last resort. Ultimately, you do want your things to arrive in one piece.
- Make a list of things you will need. For instance, you did not need a snow shovel in your Florida home. However, that is something that you will definitely need if you bought a home amidst the endless snow. Also, if you need additional furniture or appliances, if you can, buy them before moving. Remember, their price will most likely be higher there.