During the spring, I had stalked air fare, which is a bit of a Catch-22, in that our possible flights wouldn't be published for a few months and who knows if 2017 would match up with what was being offered in 2016. Still, though, I studied the fares and learned about Google Flights and ITA Matrix, which proved to be a lot of fun in their own right. ;-) We would be able to use some credit card miles, but I had almost depleted our miles for our flights for our 2016 trip, so I knew we'd be purchasing some of the five tickets we needed. With this research, I concluded that we'd probably be arriving in Alaska early evening and leaving on a red-eye. I also decided that when the time came, if I ever saw round trip flights for less than $500 from our home airport, to snatch them up.
So, we went on our vacation in August. It was very different from what I envision Alaska to be.
Sure, we saw beautiful scenery and wildlife on that trip, but of a completely different sort.
When we returned, the kids went back to school (the very next day! One day we were having breakfast in San Juan, and the next, they were on the bus to school. Literally.)
Once I unpacked and got settled in, I started thinking about Alaska again and knew it was just about time to actually pull the trigger.