Americans are on the move. You might already be aware of this trend if you had friends or acquaintances who moved during the pandemic. However, we now have more than just anecdotal evidence to confirm it.
8.93 million people relocated from March through October 2020, according to USPS change-of-address data. This represents an increase of 94,000 relocations compared to that same period in 2019.
Additionally, while states like New York have seen more people leaving than entering, Alaska clocked positive net migration numbers during that same period. In other words, more people came to Alaska than left. This is big news for the Last Frontier, which saw net migration losses from 2013-2019.
So what’s drawing people to Alaska during these times? Well, we pretty much think it’s always a great time to move to the Land of the Midnight Sun. However, given the times we’ve been living in, these seven reasons particularly stick out to us.
#1: Alaska Is a Great Place to Work Remotely
The word “remote” takes on a double meaning when it comes to working remotely in Alaska. However, if you’re wondering whether the state has the infrastructure you need to stay connected and get things done, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. In and around Anchorage, you’ll find a 5G network and Internet speeds up to 1 Gig, and Valdez and Juneau are investing in fiber optic infrastructure.
That said, before making any final decisions on your living accommodations, make sure to inquire about the Internet speeds available. You’ll also want to find out if there are any caps or restrictions. This is particularly important if you’re, for example, sharing an Internet connection with your landlord.
#2: It’s a Driveable Destination
The global pandemic has inspired a number of people to make that bold move they’ve always dreamed of. However, many remote U.S. destinations, such as Hawaii and Guam, require you to get on a plane. If you’re at all wary of air travel right now, Alaska offers the best of both worlds: an out-of-the-way destination that’s also accessible by car.
Now, before you pack your truck and take off, there are two things you should know:
- Yes, the Canadian border is open right now for those who are driving straight through to Alaska. However, this does NOT include stopping for sightseeing opportunities. In fact, an American was recently fined $750,00 CAD (approximately $600,000 USD) for hopping a sightseeing gondola during his journey. So make sure you fully understand the rules and regulations so you can stay on the good side of the law.
- Additionally, driving to Alaska can be an intense experience, both for you and your car. We’re talking thousands of miles through remote stretches with few opportunities for assistance, should your car break down. Before you decide that this is the way you want to go, check out our guides to driving to Alaska and doing a DIY move to Alaska.
#3: Alaska Offers an Adventure with All the Comforts of Home
If it’s a “different” experience you’re looking for, Alaska will certainly deliver. (More on that in a moment!) However, U.S. citizens can continue to reap all the benefits of staying within their home country, which include:
- No need for a work visa to take a job in Alaska—and no concerns about overstaying your visa.
- The simplicity of dealing in U.S. dollar, just like in the lower 48.
- Banking with U.S.-based banks. In fact, your current bank may even already have a branch near you in Alaska, depending on where you decide to live.
- Staying on your current cell phone plan, although coverage may vary depending on how deep in the wilderness you find yourself.
While moving to an international location seems attractive initially, the hassles can add up pretty quickly. However, you won’t have to worry about customs, immigration, currency, banking, or international cell phone plans in Alaska.
That said, you can still reap the benefits of putting the lower 48 in your rearview mirror.
#4: Leave the Stress of the Lower 48 Behind
Especially if you’re coming from a city or a busy metropolis, you might be used to living your life in a hurry: rushing to the office to beat traffic in the morning, rushing through the grocery store to get home at a reasonable hour, rushing through your weekend errands, etc.—all while you’re surrounded by a lot of other people doing the same kind of rushing around you are.
Alaska is the kind of place where you can go about your life at the pace that suits you. And, frankly, you’ll probably find that you need to take it a little slower to match the pace of your fellow Alaskans. You moved here for a reason. Take your foot off the gas, and enjoy the ride.
#5: Alaska Is the Perfect Place to Embrace a New Lifestyle
Once you move to Alaska, you’ll find that it’s the kind of spot where you can live the lifestyle that suits you best. Whereas some people might feel pressure in the lower 48 to “fit in” with the people around them, Alaska is full of people living the way they darn well please.
If you want to live a simple life…
Maybe you’ve been itching to downsize to the bare essentials and focus on what makes you feel most alive, whether it’s taking in the great outdoors, spending time with family, or hunting and fishing for your dinner. If so, you’ll not only find a welcoming environment for this attitude in Alaska, you’ll also find plenty of people who agree with you.
If you’ve always wanted to go off the grid…
You’ll also find a number of Alaskans who share your views—and there’s plenty of land for you to set up the homestead that works for you. (By the way, if you need help with a remote/bush move in Alaska, we’ve done plenty of them, and we can help you get wherever you want to go.)
After all, one of Alaska’s best—and most plentiful—resources is its wide-open spaces.
#6: Alaska Offers Abundant Space to Live—and Explore
If you haven’t spent a lot of time in Alaska (and, frankly, even if you have), it can be hard to conceptualize just how big the state actually is. To give you some perspective, Alaska is:
- More than twice as big as Texas
- More than four times as big as California
And, keep this in mind:
- The population of Texas is 29 million.
- The population of California is 39.5 million.
- The population of Alaska is only 731,545.
In other words, the Last Frontier has plenty of space if you dream of living on a piece of land where you and your family can really stretch out.
And, even if you decide you want to be relatively near your fellow Alaskans, you’ve got the manageable metropolitan areas of Anchorage (pop. 288,000), Juneau (pop. 31,974), and Fairbanks (pop. 30,917).
#7: It’s Got Some Financial Perks, Too
While certain aspects of Alaska’s cost of living are a little higher than you’ll find in other U.S. locations, there are also a few financial advantages to living in the state, including:
- No state income tax, which can immediately increase your take-home pay.
- No state sales tax, although some municipalities do charge their own. (The rate is 0.0% in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Valdez, among others.)
- The Permanent Fund Dividend, which delivers a yearly payout to permanent Alaskan residents who have lived in the state for a full calendar year. The 2020 PFD payout was $992, while 2019’s payout came in 60% higher at $1,606.
So while you may pay a little more for food and electricity when you move to Alaska, you’ll also get a little financial boost if you make your move permanent.
Live Life on Your Terms
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to pack up your things and move to a place where you can enjoy the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of, there’s no better time to make the move—especially if you’ve gotten the go-ahead to work remotely on a permanent basis. And if Alaska is the kind of place fits your vision, you’ll find plenty of advantages to making the move and setting up camp permanently.
Want some help making an easy and affordable transition to Alaska? Our Anchorage-based team would be happy to help! We’ve got options for moves of all sizes, and we can get you anywhere in Alaska that you want to go. Just reach out for a complimentary quote for your move.
Tell us about your move!