Cost of living -

7 Things to Know and do When Moving to Alaska

Alaska is a truly breathtaking American state. It boasts a natural beauty like no other place in the world. Alaska is known for its abundance of wildlife; on land, in the water and in the skies. This state is the largest of the American states and still has wide-open spaces. Using dogs to get around is not only a sport in Alaska, it is also an actual mode of transport. 

Despite this natural beauty; if you are considering moving to Alaska, you could be concerned that it is too big a change or not right for you.

So, if you are considering moving to Alaska, there are numerous things you need to know and prepare for, like their cost of living or simply how to know the steps in changing addresses. Here are 7 things you need to know before moving to Alaska.

Moving to Alaska: Everything to know and do

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1. First steps before moving to Alaska

Find a reliable moving company, truck rental or moving container

For your move to Alaska, you will need to hire a reliable moving company or take on the move yourself. To find the best moving company in Alaska, look for helpful reviews, a professional-looking website, and years of experience.

Planning a move to Alaska? Take a look at our selection of:

Finding a job 

As of September 2023, Alaska had an unemployment rate of 4.1%, which is the higher from 3.9% in August 2023.

Jobs that are often in high demand are delivery drivers, registered nurses, and physical therapists.

Finding a job in Alaska is easier if you search online for job openings. Popular websites for this include LinkedIn, Indeed, and SimplyHired.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics (Oct 2023)

Getting there 

Below are some travel options to get to Alaska from different parts of the country include:

Flying: Flying is the most convenient way to move to Alaska. Book a flight from your departure city to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, depending on your destination within Alaska.

Train: You can also take the train with Amtrak as an alternative. 

Bus: If you want another way to travel, Alaska cities have bus service, like Coastal Classic Train, that can get you there.

If you are flying and require assistance with moving your belongings, you can explore options provided by reputable moving companies.

Must dos before your arrival 

Moving to Alaska may be exciting and will challenge you in many ways. By knowing these things beforehand, you will be better prepared for your new life in the city.

  • If you are moving to Alaska permanently, and you receive a lot of mail (excluding packages), you may want to sign up with USPS’s mail forwarding service. Mail forwarding allows your mail to be redirected to the right address for a given period of time. The fee for regular mail forwarding is only a little over a dollar for 6 months. If you want to extend the service, you will have to pay around $20 for 6 months more. You can begin your mail forwarding process by signing up on USPS’s website or directly at your local Post Office.
  • Life in Alaska can get pretty chilly, so you might want to stock up on some winter clothes and get rid of some of your summer clothes. Also, the fewer things that you have to take with you, the fewer things you have to pay to move. You can simply put your items on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, or donate them to your local charitable organization.

2. Upon your arrival in Alaska

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers.
  • If you roam travel the city for work or just simply checking on it, it would be great to purchase a flight pass to save money.
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.

Alaska is a great place when it comes to transport. They have efficient and economical public transport. The people mover buses are a great way to get around from the outskirts of the city. Your own car will not be as expensive to run as in some areas. It would not be very common in Anchorage, but dog mushing is a fun way to get around in smaller towns and out of the city.

Exchanging your driver’s license

When you are moving to a new state, you need to have your driver’s license and your car’s registration updated. To change your driver’s license, you will need to pay a visit to your local DMV

Prepare the completed license application, your social security card, proof of identification and proof of address. You have to do this within 90 days of your move.

Register your vehicle

Registering your vehicle needs to be done within 10 days of moving. To complete the registration of your out-of-state car, you need to have your registration and title, a completed application and bring it to your local DMV.

Change your address

It is a good idea to get a head start on changing your address before you move. This is not always possible. There are times that you notify people of your change of address, and it takes some time to take effect. 

Anyone you have accounts with will have to be notified of your new address, as well as the Department of Public Safety by filling out this form, your bank, your employer, your doctor, and your insurer. Every registered voter that moves needs to update their address. You can go online to update your voter registration.

Setting up a bank account 

Obtaining a bank account in Alaska is a straightforward process. You only need to present a copy of your valid state or government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. The bank with most branches in Alaska for easy access is Wells Fargo Bank. Alaska’s residents has access to a whopping 39 offices of Wells Fargo Bank in the state.

Getting health insurance

Health insurance is a good way to put your mind at ease for any potential injury or illness. Your health insurance is a great way to keep you from spending a lot of money. You do not want to be caught short in the case of an emergency. The state regulates healthcare in the US, if you are looking for health insurance you can visit the healthcare government website. Simply choose Alaska as your state and create your account.

Type of healthcare

Cost

Employer-sponsored health insurance

$129.50

Non-employer-sponsored health insurance

$280.00

Gym

$125.00

Numbeo (Nov 2023) & EHealthInsurance (Nov 2023)

3. Best places to live in Alaska

Best places to live in Alaska

Moving to Alaska as a couple? You should consider moving to Fairbanks. It is considered a fairly high-income bracket zone. This makes it a good place for couples. The city of around 33000 has a lot of things that couples can do together including a great museum and a fun theme park.

Your family deserves to live in a safe place. Haines is one of the safest cities in the state. A great place to raise your children. Haines is not only safe, but they still have a lot of fun things to do and are home to the Southeast Alaska state fair. 

As a single person moving to a place like Alaska, you will have a wonderful choice of places to go, you should consider Wrangell, Alaska. This beautiful city is waiting to welcome singles. It is a fun and interesting place to live due to its many hiking trails.

Setting up home services 

Setting up essential home services like electricity, water, gas, and internet in Alaska is a straightforward process. 

  • You would need to visit your utility department and set up your billing department to be able to set up your utilities in your new home. They will be able to give you information on what is required every step of the way. It will be beneficial for you to contact them prior to going to the offices to know what you need to take with you. This will save you a lot of time.

Should you rent or buy?

The average Alaska home value is $353,659, went up by 0.40% from 2022. Alaska’s price per square foot to buy an apartment outside the center is $195.50.

Finding an apartment for rent in Alaska is easy, utilize websites like Zillow, Apartmentguide, and Apartments.com. When seeking a house, these websites—Zillow, Realtor, and Century21—will assist you in your search for a home in Alaska.

Cost of rent in Alaska

Area/Neighborhood

1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Anchorage (Outside of Center)

$1,150.08

$2,066.67

Cost of buying a property in Alaska

Area/Neighborhood

Average home price 

Anchorage

$353,659

Numbeo (Nov 2023)Zillow (Nov 2023)

Consider getting home insurance

If your home is mortgaged, your lender may require insurance, ensuring payment in case of illness or death. Depending on your location, natural disaster coverage could also be mandatory. Even if your property isn’t mortgaged, getting a home insurance is a smart choice. It provides security in case of a natural disaster, offering the means to find a new place to stay.

4. Cost of living in Alaska

Category

Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center

$1,150.08

Groceries

Numbeo’s grocery list ($69.45 multiplied by 4)

$277.80

Utilities

Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage

$383.33

Internet with 60 Mbps

$125.30

Flight pass

$49.00

Entertainment 

Meal, taxi, movie

$91.00

Gym membership 

$125.00

Total

$2,201.51

Numbeo (Nov 2023)

5. The weather in Alaska

Alaska is known for having a cooler climate. That does not mean that it is always cold. The average weather and daylight time does vary quite a bit, depending on the season and which area of the sizable state you are in. The classic belief that when you go to Alaska, you should be prepared for freezing temperatures is only true for the winter months.

You will find that in summer you can comfortably wear short sleeves. In summer, you can expect average temperatures of 40°-80°, Autumn will bring you to 18° to 45°, in Winter you can expect 0° to around -35° and in Spring the temperatures will slowly rise again.

6. What to do as a local in Alaska

For the tourists: Seeing the grizzly bears and walking on the ice glaciers. See the northern lights. Take a ride on the Alaska Railroad. Visit a number of popular glaciers. Visit the Running Reindeer Ranch. 

For locals: Dog mushing is really fun for locals. Enjoy local craft beers and eating out in the many restaurants. Attend the Alaska Museum of the North. Hike some of the most scenic trails in the world.

Top three grocery stores in Alaska:

Two most popular chain stores in Alaska:

  • Walmart
  • Target

This list of five unique restaurants will see you enjoying a variety of cuisines:

7. Fun facts about Alaska

  • Fun Fact #1: You can see the northern lights from most places in Alaska.
  • Fun Fact #2: Alaskan locals still use dogs and dog sleds as transport.
  • Fun Fact #3: There are about 1 bear to every 21 people.

Conclusion

Alaska offers year-round outdoor adventures like dog sledding, ice climbing, and snowmobiling for adrenaline seekers. These activities can be enjoyed by locals and those who want to experience them. Its winters also bring the stunning Northern Lights, providing a unique experience for snow and ice enthusiasts.

While moving to Alaska has its pros and cons, checking the cost of living is essential to making sure you will live comfortably in this city and call it home. It’s a good idea to research specific neighborhoods within the state and consider your priorities to determine if Alaska is the right fit for you and your family.

Need a trusted moving company for the area? Discover the 5 best movers in Alaska. 

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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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