A spirit of self-reliance is practically a requirement for moving to Alaska. If you’re considering a solo move to the Last Frontier, you obviously share in that spirit. Rest assured that you’ll find plenty of like-minded folks in Alaska.
That said, moving to Alaska alone isn’t always easy. To help you make a smooth transition—and increase your chances of making a move that sticks—we’ve compiled these eight tips for solo moves. They’ll set you up for happy, fulfilled, and warm (!) life in Alaska—and maybe even the start of the life you’ve always dreamed of.
#1: Take Alaska on a Test Drive
When you’re considering a big, bold move to a place like Alaska, it’s tempting to dive right in: sell all your stuff, buy a one-way ticket, and never look back. While a lot of people make the move this way, it’s not the only option. And, in fact, this “move first, ask questions later” approach might be the reason a lot of those people end up buying return tickets sooner than later.
Try snagging an AirBnB in the area you’re considering, rent a car, and spend a week or two living like an Alaska resident. Shop for groceries, run some errands, check out a few places to live, and even browse for a job. It’s a great, low-stakes way to figure out if Alaska is really right for you.
If you like it, go ahead and dive in. Make the move permanent! (And welcome to Alaska!)
If you don’t, simply finish out your rental, head back home, and try a new plan—no harm, no foul, just a few dollars spent in the interest of saving you many, many more.
There’s also another way to give Alaska try, one that comes with a paycheck…
#2: Try a Seasonal Job
Summer is prime tourism season in Alaska. You’ll find plenty of businesses interested in hiring workers for the season, which runs from about May–September. Some of these jobs even come with room and board, which means an easy transition for you, since you won’t even have to look for a place to stay.
What kind of jobs will you find? Just about anything in tourism and hospitality, including working in a hotel or restaurant, on a cruise ship, or even guiding river rafting tours. You’ll also find work that revolves around Alaska’s summer fishing season, like jobs on a boat or in a cannery. If you love being outdoors, you’ll also find seasonal positions posted for jobs within Alaska’s State Parks, National Parks, and National Forests.
Consider your options carefully. You’ll find plenty of options on sites like CoolWorks.com, but remember that you’re committing for the season. Don’t say yes to the first person who offers you a position. Ask questions, and compare perks and responsibilities before you decide. After all, what’s the point of coming all the way to Alaska if you end up in a job you don’t like?
Finally, make sure you start your search early. Many jobs are posted by February (or earlier!). Plan ahead to maximize your options.
Next, if you’re committed to making the move to Alaska alone, we’ve got a few tips to help you navigate your transition.
#3: Consider NOT Driving
To some, the drive to Alaska sounds romantic and exciting. However, it can also be isolated and treacherous.
No matter which route you end up taking, there are plenty of places where there’s no cell phone coverage. Breakdowns happen, and we’d hate for you to find yourself alone and stranded in a remote location, especially when the weather gets cold.
Before committing to the journey, check out our DIY Moving tips. And, remember, if you want to take your car with you, you can always ship it to Alaska.
Finally, if you decide to make the drive to Alaska:
- Consider taking a friend with you. They can easily fly home once you reach your destination in Alaska.
- Make sure to pick up a copy of the most recent MILEPOST, the best travel guide for driving to Alaska.
#4: Figure Out the Lifestyle That Suits You
Some people move to one of Alaska’s larger cities—Anchorage, Juneau, or Fairbanks—and are perfectly content with semi-urban Alaskan life. Other people have dreams of off-the-grid living where neighbors are but a distant dream.
If you’re new to rural living—or you’ve never lived in a community of only a couple hundred people—consider starting out in one of Alaska’s more populated areas first.
Alternatively, consider a quiet area that’s near a population center. For example, the Mat-Su Valley offers a much more rural experience than Anchorage, but the city is less than an hour away for anything you need.
At the very least, start somewhere that’s connected to Alaska’s limited highway system. That way, you have options for getting yourself out and about if needed.
Once you get your footing in Alaska, you can always move to somewhere that offers more space and less people—if that feels right.
#5: Arrive with an Emergency Fund
If you don’t know anyone in Alaska, moving solo means living in a place with no support system or safety net. If you have trouble finding a job or you experience a big financial challenge—like mechanical issues with your car—you won’t have nearby people to rely on for help. (Until, of course, you start to build your own community. More on that in a minute!)
Having this financial cushion will ensure that you’ve got something to fall back on, just in case. If a few months of savings isn’t realistic, at the very least, make sure you have enough for a plane ticket home, if you decide that Alaska isn’t for you. That way, you can pursue your adventures with the confidence that you have an emergency ripcord to pull in case things don’t quite go as planned.
#6: Prepare for the Winter Cold
If you’re in it to win it and you plan to stay in Alaska through the winter, first of all, congratulations! Second of all…
If you’re planning to spend the winter in Alaska, we recommend:
- A heavy winter coat
- Boots that will work in both the snow and the mud
- Thermal underwear
- A couple of pairs of wool socks
- A high-quality winter hat
- Waterproof gloves
For more tips, check out our article on surviving your first Alaskan winter. Plus, it’s not just about surviving the physical aspects of the winter. Your mental game is just as important. When it comes to staying warm and dry, the two keys are:
#7: Get Your Mental Game in Order for Winter
After you line up your winter wardrobe, you’ll need to get mentally prepared for the winters in Alaska. If you’re moving here alone, this is even more important, since winter in Alaska can be an incredibly isolating experience.
We’re not kidding! Having something to occupy yourself during those long winter nights can add significant purpose to your life when it seems like the darkness will never end. For example:
- Maybe it’s time to pick up that quilting project you’ve been putting off.
- Or perhaps you’ll have the chance to finally work on your family tree using online resources like those on Ancestry.com.
- Always wanted to pen the Great American Novel? Now’s your chance!
Finally, there’s also one other factor that will make your first Alaskan winter more bearable.
#8: Find Community as Soon as You Can
When you move to Alaska alone, make it a priority to meet people as soon as possible.
Having friends to meet for coffee or a meal can make all the difference in helping you get settled in Alaska. Plus, if you ever get stuck or need a hand with a tricky task, knowing there’s someone to call can come as a huge relief.
So what’s the best way to meet people in Alaska? Your workplace is a great place to start. Otherwise, consider joining a club around your interests. You’ll find things like running clubs, hiking groups, book clubs, and more all over the state.
Finally, as with just about any new location, the key to making friends is being friendly. Offer a hand if you see someone stuck on the side of the road or someone lifting a heavy load. You’ll make friends faster than you think.
Your Solo Adventure to Alaska
Moving to Alaska is a daring move, one that not everyone has the courage to try. However, going into this adventure with your eyes wide open—and possibly with a test run under your belt—will significantly increase your chances of success. Plus, whether or not you decide to stay in Alaska for the long run, the whole experience will be an adventure. And isn’t that the whole point?
Need some help moving your belongings to Alaska? Our Anchorage-based team would be happy to help! We’ve executed moves all over the state, and we’d love to help you make a safe, easy, and affordable solo move to Alaska. Just request a complimentary quote to get started.
Tell us about your move!