Exposure Alaska FAQ
We do not have the capacity to run all the trips on the schedule, as some get booked we close out availability on others that have no one signed up yet. The schedule changes very often during the Spring booking season. Our website is tied directly to our database and kept up to date as soon as we register guests.
We offer discounts for various reasons and our special rates may go up or down at any time. We do what we can to fill trips during our 100 day operating season.
From your perspective as a Guest, you should know that everyone on the trip may not have paid the same rate, just like on your flight to Alaska. Your trip is booked at the current rate at the time of booking.
The discount rates may go up, or down. Or the trip may fill and you’ll be completely out of luck.
Like most businesses in the travel industry, we do not offer any “low price guarantee”. Your trip cost stays at the rate we confirm with you when you book.
We don’t believe in cancelling trips but we can’t confirm just one person on a trip so we don’t open them up to solo travelers until we have at least two folks confirmed on the trip. We’ve never cancelled a trip due to low numbers (or any other reason), and have run trips with as few as two guests but we can’t do it with one.
Same with discounts, trips that have no one signed up yet may have a discount for a two person minimum. Once some people are signed up, the trip and any discount will be open for solo travelers.
Not at all. We probably have as many single guests as we do couples or friends. As we put the team together we think about things like tent sharing, double and single kayaks, load carrying etc. Sometimes we’ll get a friend to come along to balance things. One way or another it always works out. If you specifically request a room or tent to yourself (assuming that it’s logistically possible), there may be an additional charge. If you’re willing to be flexible, there will be no extra charges…and you still might have a tent all to yourself!
Our trips are based on twin-share accommodation. We don’t charge a single surplus like many companis but we won’t put you in a room or tent with someone of the opposite sex you don’t know. If you are signing up with a friend who is not the same sex, the expectation is that you will be willing to share a room or tent.
See The Fine Print.
Your Exposure Guides and other guides that you may have on the trip are always appreciative of gratuities, this is a service industry after all and in many cases they literally have your life in their hands as well as preparing meals for you for most of your trip. And, Alaska is a part of the United States where tipping is customary. A big part of travel is adapting and appreciating local customs. So even if tipping is not a part of your culture,keep in mind that not tipping in the US is often taken as an indicator that you were not happy with the service. And remember that server at the restaurant is getting paid about $3/hour. That’s the system, you’re not going to change it.
5 – 10% total for your Exposure guides is a good rule of thumb.
If you show up with the required gear you really should not need to spend any money on one of our scheduled trips except for gratuities for your hard-working guides. If you would like to buy something to eat or drink at every stop we make, that may be on your own (but we supply plenty of food). We often buy the first round (what’s pizza without beer?)…much beyond that is on you.
All scheduled activities are included.
Custom trips may have some exclusions that will be clearly spelled out as your trip is planned.
Click HERE for more details on costs, payment, and what is and is not included.
For an accurate comparison, you need to look carefully at each itinerary and what is, and isn’t included. To start with, our trips do not include your accommodation in Anchorage before or after the trip. Stay wherever you like, a reasonably priced hostel, a nice B&B or an over priced chain hotel.
Then look at the day by day itinerary. Particularly transportation and accommodation. Our trips include less time on the road and more time camping than many others. If you want spend a lot of time trying to see everything from the seat of a van, ferry, plane or train you should go with someone else. All that transportation adds up for the operator, and you pay for it. Same for accommodation, it costs a lot in Alaska. And if you’re staying in a hotel, it’s difficult for your Guide to cook you up a delicious healthy dinner. You should look carefully at whether or not that is included. (A burger and a beer will cost you about $12 in AK.)
Also look carefully at what is not included on other trips. Some are quite cheap, but then everything you want to do costs extra.
We’ve also gotten smart and experienced, we’ve been doing this since 1999. Most of the activities and camping on our trips are run by our own staff, not sub-contracted out to other operators. Also, we are not a local operator for another big outfitter company that wants a big cut for putting people on our trips. This allows us more freedom to do what we want, and very importantly, limit our group size.
We spend less time driving around in the van burning fuel. And since we thought it wasteful to pay the bank thousands of dollars a year in merchant account fees, your final payment for your trip is due by check. It all adds up.
Travel insurance is recommended. If your flight is delayed and you miss the start of your Exposure trip, or miss the entire trip for whatever reason, travel insurance will often reimburse you. We ask you to purchase very affordable travel insurance as opposed to asking us for a refund of hundreds or thousands of dollars when we have a very short season to run our business. If you choose not to purchase this inexpensive option please understand and own that this is a choice you have made. We can only reimburse you according to our refund and cancellation policy.
If you live in the U.S., you know how expensive health care can be. If you’re visiting from outside the U.S. it could come as a shocking surprise in the middle of your vacation. If you are ill or injured on one of our trips we will do everything we can to help, but any and all expenses for care or evacuation are entirely your responsibility. Another thing to consider is the end of your trip, you could be delayed returning to Anchorage for any reason…road closures, floods, mechanical breakdown, backcountry injury. Anything can happen and you could miss your flight home, hotel reservations or your next activities.
If you choose to accept the risk of not getting the insurance that’s fine. We like personal choice! But thanks for understanding our perspective if something happens. We’ve found it impossible to maintain current links to help you shop for trip insurance but a quick online search will find you a lot of options.
Preparation pages. Yep, you’re getting the idea ;)
Instructions for these are also provided in your Welcome email and Status email.
Go to our TRIP PREPARATION site. TheTravel Plans & Arrival page has suggestions and advice for accommodations for different budget levels. Please research your choice thoroughly on TripAdvisor or the like before selecting an option that is not one we have listed as there are some pretty dodgy budget places in Anchorage.
This questions gets it’s own answer page.
We pick up Guests anywhere in downtown or mid-town Anchorage on the morning of Day 1, fairly early. You should arrive no later than the night before the trip starts. On the last day we return you to Anchorage between around 5 and 7PM. You should not book a flight out earlier than 9PM.
Some dictionaries define “safe” as being without risk. Few things worth doing are completely without risk. We do our best to manage the inherent risks associated with the activities in our trips but cannot completely remove the risks without destroying the nature of the activity. For example, falling is an inherent risks of hiking and climbing and we can completely remove that risk only by NOT going hiking or climbing.
You must understand and accept the risks associated with an adventurous trip in Alaska.
We travel to extremely remote, stunningly beautiful areas where there are often no communications and help in an emergency may be delayed by hours or days. While our trips are not without risk, we pride ourselves on an excellent record of managing these risks such that people can enjoy themselves on our trips and return home healthy and happy.
Wildlife is just that…wild. Our trips are primarily in the wilderness…we don’t look for bears in dumpsters. Although we are experienced in looking for animals in the bush we can make no promises. (well, we usually guarantee an eagle or two). A lot of it depends on the group, how quiet and alert they are when we are out. Of course, sometimes we make a lot of noise so that we DON’T see a bear unexpectedly.
The best opportunities to see wildlife are from the bus in Denali National Park, on a special fly-in bear viewing trip, and from the day cruise in Kenai Fjords National Park. See Wildlife Viewing for more info.
The weather could be anything, any time of year. We operate in the summer, from late May through early September.
Late May is a great time for sea kayaking as there seems to be more wildlife, and less people.
“Summer” means we could have 80 degrees and sunny , we could be hiking in a foot of new snow in the mountains or kayaking for days in the rain. Virtually endless long days, we don’t really see “dark” until late August.
Summer is prime time in Alaska, for us and the thousands of visitors. July is particularly busy.
After Labor Day we’re fully into fall. The leaves are changing and rapidly dropping. The tourist crowds are gone. We do a few trips in early September but the weather could be a lot cooler and/or rainier. We did a custom Extreme Week in early September and hiked out in 3 feet of new snow. Quite the adventure.
We do not usually modify our trip schedule based on weather forecasts but do make adjustments for safety reasons due to current conditions. For example, if it’s too windy and waves are too big to paddle, you could find yourself sitting on the beach for part of your kayak trip.
First of all, the tales of huge swarms of mosquitoes carrying away young caribou are somewhat exaggerated. Sure we’ve got mosquitoes, lots of ‘em at times. They’re often at their most annoying in early summer around our area (early June). There are a lot around Denali Park in mid-Summer. Farther north in the Arctic they are legendary some times of year.
But we also have gnats, flies, blacksocks, whitesocks, no see-ums etc. etc. At any time of summer, any place in south central Alaska you could have all of the above or none at all. It depends on some mysterious combination of their hatch cycle, wind, temperature, humidity, day of the week, phase of the moon…who knows? And predicting it is about as accurate as predicting the weather. We don’t spend a lot of time worrying about either. We know a few tricks to help cope comfortably. It’s all part of the experience!
Why can’t I find your reviews on Trip Advisor?
Trip Advisor will only list companies that offer accommodation or day trips, not overnight tours. Our partner company, MICA Guides has dozens of great reviews on Trip Advisor and it’s the same owner, same guides. Some of the MICA reviews are actully from guests on our Exposure Alaska trips such as the following:
We put a lot of effort into our explanation of Challenge Levels, so that would be a good place to start. Then consider how much time you have, Exposure Alaska trips range from 3 to 9 days in length. If you’re just looking for a day trip, check out MICA Guides for ice climbing, glacier trekking and a couple of huge ziplines.
You’ll notice a lot of similarities in some of our trips at Level 3 or 4.
Although many of the same types of activities are included, the Exposed Tours (Level 3) take them at a slightly less challenging level. Hiking is more often on established trails or easier terrain. The white water rafting may be a Class III instead of a Class V.
One other big difference…The Exposed Tours more often stay in an inn or established campgrounds that may even have toilets and showers. ALL kayaking portions are two nights in the backcountry, without access to toilets, showers, or the van.
But don’t be mistaken, these tours are ACTIVE vacations. While we occasionally have to do some miles in the van, we do a lot more than just jump out to “see” something and take a photo.
Over the years, our Extreme Week (Level 4) has become a little tougher, and our guests seem to enjoy the tough physical and mental challenge. The Exposed Series is for those who may not want to push themselves quite so hard.
Your fitness levels do come into play here! Please check out our Challenge Levels to work out the best fit for you. We don’t want you to be under challenged but neither do you want to find yourself in a situation where you are holding up the rest of the group. That would be frustrating for both you and them.
We offer several series of trips of different fitness and comfort levels however ALL of our trips are very active camping vacations. Our trips will appeal to folks who are mentally tough, adventurous with their food and willing to put themselves outside their comfort zone. We offer camping trips in the “real Alaska” which means rain, cold temperatures, bugs, no toilet facilities in back-country segments and carrying your own gear during the kayaking and backpacking segments.
It’s OK if we’re not the right company for you, it’s better to find that out now!