Once I purchased the plane tickets, it was time to air out the itinerary and start making some reservations. One thing I had read on Trip Advisor is that in many cases, it is good to make some reservations early, because that often translates to better prices--especially if they are either refundable or don't require a deposit. I found that to be the case in several instances, in that when I'd call or email, the owner would often say that they'd give me an "early bird" price or honor 2016 prices because they hadn't figured out those for 2017 yet. I would say that making the reservations early is probably the best money saving tip I would give...at least for now.
So what did I book?
Car--Cretien and I talked briefly about renting an RV, because it gives more flexibility and you always have a place to spread out, a bathroom to use, etc. I know the kids would have enjoyed it. The cons against renting an RV is that our flexibility would be somewhat limited anyway, since we were going to book and pay for certain activities ahead of time, so we'd need to be where we had planned to be on time. Also, although I kept reading how easy it would be to drive an RV, I wasn't sold on doing it. And I know that Cretien doesn't want to have to be the only driver for 2 weeks in Alaska.
With that said, I knew we'd need a decent sized vehicle with the itinerary we had planned, so we booked a minivan. Although I kept reading how the prices are cheaper off-site, the airport counter gave us a better price for the few weeks I monitored the prices. My only regret is that I didn't book it in August, because I have to wonder if the prices were better 11 months out than 10, but I console myself with the fact that I reserved the minivan as soon as I could.
More to come...