Cheap Summer Vacation Series: Glacier Bay National Park

This year, H and I took a trip to alaska to visit a few national parks that I was unable to get to when I went up there in 2011. We went to two parks, Denali and Glacier Bay National Parks. We had an awesome time, and I wanted to share some financial details of our trip and some pictures.

Both of these parks are in alaska, and are not the easiest or cheapest places to get to, but once you get there there are plenty of activities for low or no cost. Getting to glacier bay is difficult – you need to fly from wherever you are to anchorage, then down to juneau, then take a (literally) 13 minutes flight to gustavus. Once you get to the gustavus airport you need to make your way to the national park, which is about 10 miles. H and I took a cab that we split with a group of people and it cost us $10 bucks each. Since we couldnt fly with any fuel, we had to stop by the store and pick up some fuel for our camp stove. From there, it was on to glacicer bay to our campground.

Below are some of my favorite pictures from the trip


This was the beach that we did all of our cooking on. You had to cook in the intertidal area so that if you dropped any food or left anything that a bear might smell, it would get washed away by the tide. This is a sunset from the first night – after 4 days in fairbanks, it was nice to see the sun set at a normal time (around 1030pm, If I remember correctly)100_4530

This is a picture that we took on a hike the first full day we were there. It was a nice hike – I’ve never been in forests that were that dense before. There was moss and trees and other things growing everywhere! I’m just used to tall trees and bare forest floors.100_4557

The next day, we went on a guided kayak trip. This picture was taken from the kayak of a sea otter who was just hanging around eating. I had fun in the kayak, but I think that I positioned the steering pedals wrong because my leg kept falling asleep.100_4606

This was a picture from our last day in glacier bay – We decided to take what they called the “long boat” which is a day cruise to the upper reaches of glacier bay that are fairly unaccessible without this boat. What we found out while we got on the boat though was that you could bring your own kayak, and this boat would drop you off somewhere along the route, and you could kayak around the portion of the park where basically no one goes and camp on the island beaches!  I wish that I had known that before we left, but unfortunately I didnt. It’s just something we can save for next time.100_4672

This is from the boat ride – a little island full of sea lions. I saw these last time I went to alaska and went fishing, but it was cool to see them again, and H had never seen them outside of a zoo setting.100_4774

This picture is from the glacier that we got to see (if I remember correctly, it’s the mendenhal glacier). I love glaciers and think they are so fucking cool, so I was really excited about this. This glacier was huge, and like all of them, very cold once you got close. It was really fund to see the glacier calving, and it really made me envious of the people with the super fancy new cameras with the giant lenses. We were very close so I still got some good pictures, but they could have been much better. This is one of the few glaciers in the park that is advancing (growing every year).100_4752

This is a picture of the same glacier, and you can see how far it extends up into the mountains behind it! It’s a huge glacier and awesome to look at.

H and I had a blast in glacier bay, and we are hopeful that we get the opportunity to travel there in the future. It was a nice time, and a great way to spend our 1 year anniversary. I’ll include a sappy anniversary picture that we took on the final day in glacier bay. We were able to get the boat on our anniversary, then head to anchorage and have a pretty good dinner at glacier brewhouse. So even though there was about 2 hours of flying in there, it was a great time.


There are our cold hands near the glacier.

Readers: Have you ever been to glacier bay national park? If not, are you interested in going now? If you are, drop me an email and I can tell you how I did it for super cheap for H and myself.


How I Saved Over 3,500 On My Honeymoon

Like many bloggers that start blogging because they want to be accountable to themselves to right the financial ship, I had an issue with overspending on credit cards.  Though I didnt think it was that bad (5k is going to be like one paycheck when I get a real job – foolish, I know), it was.  So after  got a real job and realized that it wasn’t all sunshine and roses, I started to get accountable, created this site, got 2 jobs and started to pay down my credit cards.  While it wasnt all easy, I did do it, and even wrote a break up letter to my credit cards after I paid the last one off.  I went for a while just using my debit card, but the promise of frequent flyer miles enticed me too much.  I had reformed, I told myself, and as long as I paid the card off when the bill came i’d get the miles and more secure transactions.  Not only that, I had already earned a free flight this way while I was in debt by transferring a balance to a 0% credit card.

It didnt take long for me to start reading into it more and make the plunge – some of you may have gotten the 75k american airline miles card with citi bank, and I did that, put all my purchases on it until I reached the limit and closed it.  I kept up with this miles and points game, waiting for the next huge deal.  They started to come fast and furious, but eventually I got the british airways card that gave me 100k miles after spending 2,500 bucks!  There were so many things I could do, so many places I could go by earning all those miles.  Just like the other one I put all my purchases on it, but this time I didnt close it – I knew I was going to get engaged soon, and that would require a honeymoon – so I started reading up on how to use these points.

After a lot of reading and a lot of searching and talking with H, I gave her a few options for places to go and she picked one so I started to look at flights.  After a while I found out ways to make the most of the miles by getting stopovers on the way to our destination.  While I’ve been trying (and doing well so far) at my no spend november having to do this totally ruined it.  Unfortunately, it had to be done by november 16, when all of the miles and points guru’s suspect that british airways is going to hugely devalue the miles – making the trip that I ended up booking impossible with the amount of miles that I had.  I figure that I’d have to spend this money anyway, but I didnt realize how much of a deal I was getting.

H and I are going to thailand for our honeymoon (we had some pictures taken while we were there by a friend)and are also spending 4 days in tokyo.  As of right now, our flights would have cost almost $4,000 for both of us, but I paid around $1,400 in fees for both of us, saving about $3,600.  Unfortunately, the way things worked out we still need to purchase round trip tickets to Los Angeles to kick off the trip, but I dont think those will be too bad.  If I want, I also have miles for those because of all the traveling that I was doing this summer.  While this did put a huge crimp in my no spend november, I dont think there would have been any way we would have been able to go where we are going without spending the money to book now.  There were other options that could have been cheap, but I have never been to asia and wanted to go, and so did H – so we figured this would be a fun time.

All in all – this was just too good to pass up.  I’m excited to see the sights of tokyo and bangkok and spend a lot of quality time with my new wife!

Readers: Where did you go for your honeymoon?  How long were you there? Were you able to leverage some good deals, or did you just pay full price?

ps – I was not the only blogger in the pf blogosphere that took advantage of this exact deal for their honeymoon.  Check out how well heeled got hers booked!