Alaska Auto Rental Review
Alaska Auto Rental Review helps you plan your dream trip to Alaska. One of the most challenging tasks before traveling to Alaska is renting a car. Especially, if you plan to drive more demanding and gravel roads. Therefore, check out our recommendations and reviews on Alaska Auto Rental, which we chose during our last road trip to Alaska.This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.
Alaska Auto Rental
A trip to Alaska is a dream for many people. We have already realized it several times and therefore share many tips with you in our Alaska 10-day itinerary and Alaska travels planning guide.
This article gives you some crucial tips and tricks for renting a car in Alaska. We also share our opinion about the company whose services we used during our recent 3-week trip through this largest and wildest state in the USA. During our last trip to Alaska, we rented a car from a locally-owned business Alaska Auto Rental.
We rented two types of cars from this rental for two different routes. One for the gravel highway, to driving the famous and dangerous Dalton Highway, and the second for a paved road, and we share our insights. What’s more, in this post, we suggest what to look for when renting a car, regardless of which rental company you decide to use. What is crucial for your safety in the remote areas of Alaska? Check out our tips and review to have a great, full of adventure but also a safe Alaska journey.
Why did we choose Alaska Auto Rental for our Alaska road trip?
We have been to Alaska several times and used different modes of transportation. This time we wanted to accomplish an ambitious plan. Our dream was to travel to Prudhoe Bay, cross the Arctic Circle and Coldfoot, dip our feet in the icy Arctic Ocean, and drive the famous but challenging Dalton Highway.
However, it is not an easy trip. Few car rentals make it possible to drive this remote Alaska route. Few car rental companies in Alaska let motorists drive this challenging 414-mile highway. It is mainly a gravel road that winds through the mountains. One such company that rents cars for the Gravel Highway is Alaska Auto Rental. Their quote was the most reasonable, and contact with the company was top-notch. We repeatedly exchanged emails inquiring about renting a car on the Dalton Highway route. They were quick to send us specific and constructive responses. We received a great offer. That’s why we decided to go with Alaska Auto Rental. Below we describe this company, the booking policy, and the cars we used.
Alaska Auto Rental Review
About Alaska Auto Rental
Alaska Auto Rental is a local, family-owned business based in Fairbanks. But they also offer services in Anchorage, Denali, Seward, Whittier, Canada, and the Lower 48. Importantly, they offer one-way rentals, gravel highway vehicles, winter rentals, and flexible pickup locations. Their team is professional and customer friendly. They provide knowledgeable assistance and rent great cars for your Alaska road trip.
Alaska Auto Rental Pick-up Locations
The company is headquartered in the northern part of Alaska in Fairbanks. But you can rent and drop off a car at one of several convenient locations. They offer one-way rentals between Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks, Seward, Whittier, and Homer. There is also a local shuttle service available. Moreover, the rental also offers travel into Canada and Lower 48.
Alaska Auto Rental Reservation System
The booking system is straightforward and takes a short time. You can reserve a car on the official website of the rental company. You choose the car pick-up location, return location, dates, time, and rental type (standard or gravel road). In the next step, choose a car model that suits your needs. Reservation documents, and contracts, are written in a clear and precise manner. You can always call or write to the company if you have any questions. The staff is professional and is happy to answer your questions and concerns.
Rental Policies & Insurance
Rental Policies are detailed on the rental website. Therefore, before renting a car for your Alaska road trip, read their Terms & Conditions carefully. We will not repeat it here; we encourage you to read the terms from the official website. And in case you do not find the answer to any question – we encourage you to contact the rental company directly. We had a few questions regarding the terms of the rent, and after sending the inquiry, we received precise answers very quickly. We also had some questions about car insurance, and they could answer them all. As we are from Europe and the gravel highways insurance is wider than the standard one, we have obtained professional help in completing the insurance procedure. Alaska Auto Rental also sent us some documents to review and sign.
Alaska Auto Rental fleet vehicles are well maintained and range from cars, trucks, SUVs, minivans, and up to 15-seat vans. What’s important is they are also fully winterized cars. And what’s more, they offer vehicles for gravel highway rentals.
We rented two cars for our 3-week Alaska road trip. Why? The Dalton Highway is no ordinary trip. This is a very demanding route, so few companies rent cars for this route. Before you hit this road, read our Safety Tips for Driving the Dalton Highway. Cars for some remote Alaskan gravel highways, like McCarthy Road, or Hatcher Pass Road, Denali Road, or remote Canadian roads like Dempster Highway and connecting Alaska and Yukon, the Top of the World Highway must be well equipped, and insurance is higher. The second part of our trip led to already known and paved roads in the southern part of Alaska. Therefore, we replaced the car with a smaller, regular one after ten days. In this way, we saved costs.
Nissan Rogue for gravel Alaska highways
- 4 wheel drive
- two spare tires
- CB radio
- low fuel consumption
- SUV with higher clearance suitable for gravel roads
- lot of space inside, very comfortable interior
- Apple Car Play for convenient navigation
This car was good enough and suitable for our trip on the Dalton Highway. The features and size were great, the seats were also very comfortable. We even spent a night in it and slept in the car. Why? Well, there were a lot of grizzly bears in Prudhoe Bay, and it was not safe to pitch a tent in that area. So we decided to spend the night in the car. It was comfy inside. The car was great to ride along the mountainous, winding serpentine road. It was no problem to drive along the slightly snowy Antigun Pass.
The tires had excellent traction. There were a couple of times when we drove up steeper in the mud and heavy rain on the Dalton Highway that was a little slippery, but we could handle that with this car.
Chevrolet Malibu for paved Alaska highways
- regular comfortable car
- economic engine with acceptable fuel consumption
- large trunk – your suitcases are not visible to strangers
- Apple Car Play for convenient navigation
It’s not a big car, but it’s a great car, just suitable for a trip for two. Perfect for paved roads. We drove it from Fairbanks to Homer and back to Anchorage. And it was a perfect car for our summer day trips from Anchorage. We focused on southern Alaska, including places like the Kenai Peninsula, full of activities charming Homer, Seward, and more. It was a very comfortable car.
Pick-up the car
Although the Dalton Highway starts behind Fairbanks, we started from Anchorage because it was the best place for us to come from Europe. But if you want to do this tour, it is best to start in Fairbanks. So we picked up our car in Anchorage. The email gave us specific instructions on where and how to pick up the car. We got our keys from a locker and took pictures of the car in the parking lot. We signed the contract and emailed it off. Although the office was closed that day, there was still a contact number for the Alaska Auto Rental staff if we needed them. But we did not need to use it.
Returning the car
After ten days, we swapped cars. After driving the Dalton Highway, we returned the vehicle to Alaska Auto Rental headquarters in Fairbanks. And for the southern part of our trip, we took another vehicle. The service was excellent, and the car exchange went smoothly. We received an almost new car (Chevrolet Malibu) with very low mileage. The rule of the rental company is that the car should be washed after driving on the dirt road. After driving the Dalton Highway, our Nissan Rogue was up to its roof in mud. Before returning the car, we visited the car wash and returned the clean car. After visiting the Kenai Peninsula, we returned the second car near the Anchorage airport. We made with this car great day trips from Anchorage as well. The process also ran very smoothly. We didn’t have to wash this car before returning it because we only used it on paved Alaska roads.
Is Alaska Auto Rental a reliable car rental?
We can highly recommend this company. It is a reliable local brand where work professionals care about the customer’s well-being. In our opinion, Alaska Auto Rental is a reliable car rental. We will use their services on our next visit to Alaska because we love this state so much that we already miss it and are planning another road trip.
Alaska Auto Rental Review – Pros & Cons
- Vehicles in great condition
- Great value for money
- Organized, professional customer service
- The transparent, simple booking process
- Hassle-free process
- Punctual delivery of the vehicle
It is difficult for us to find disadvantages, both regarding the quality of service and rented cars. We were delighted with the professional service, quality, comfort, and equipment of the vehicles we rented from Alaska Auto Rentals. The only drawback is that we had a bit less space due to the need to have two spare wheels for the Alaskan gravel roads. But we managed to pack all the necessary camping equipment for Dalton Highway and luggage anyway.
Alaska Auto Rental Review Summary
Alaska Auto Rental is one of the best car rental companies on the market in Alaska, and you absolutely should not hesitate to book with them. This is one of the few companies where you can rent a car prepared for a trip driving the dangerous Dalton Highway. And they have great experience in this field. What’s more, Alaska Auto Rental exceeded our expectations, and we highly recommend it to anyone looking to book a car in Alaska. Regardless of what route in Alaska you are planning – use this rental.
Tips and Tricks for renting a car in Alaska
- Before renting a car for your trip to Alaska, you also can compare the prices and reviews of different car rental companies. You can do this with the help of comparison websites like Discover Cars or Rental Cars. We use them often to compare prices.
- Alaska is not a cheap destination. Prices for a rental car, gasoline, and available services are higher than in the Lower 48, so remember that time is money when watching your budget. When it comes to saving money on your car rental, the further in advance, you can book your vehicle, the more money you will save.
- Take the time to carefully read all rental terms, rules, costs, insurance issues, etc. It is essential that you are not surprised later by additional fees or restrictions.
- Check how much your deposit is. We had a situation where we booked a regular car for seven days through a popular booking system (other than those recommended above). The total cost of the rental with insurance was $200, but when we wanted to pick up the car, it turned out that the deposit was $7,000!
I didn’t know that it is so difficult to hire a car in Alaska and that many companies won’t rent you a car if you go on certain routes. It’s great that Alaska auto rental has provided you with all the services you needed. I know that picking up the car in one location and dropping it off somewhere else can be very difficult, so it’s good to read that in your case it was actually very easy. I prefer companies that are family owned to big ones, as they always go the extra mile for their customers.
Thanks for this great info. I’m considering a trip to Alaska and would prefer to stick to a family owned company for that more personal touch.
Due to supply chain issues, renting a car is proving to be a more difficult option for travelers. It’s great to hear you had a positive experience and are sharing your recommendation. Especially when the cost of the car rental is a big portion of your budget. Great info shared about expectations around picking up/dropping off and the deposit. With the amount of driving you did and the terrain, it’s important to have a reliable and comfortable vehicle.
Getting a good car rental has proven o be hard recently. And very expensive too. It has caused us to second guess visiting places like Alaska where you really need a car to get around. Good do know that your two experiences with Alaska Auto Rental worked out well. A good tip to know that not all car rentals let you travel the Alaskan gravel highways. And that the second tire would take up some luggage room! I have never rented a car with a CB radio but I understand the value in some of the remote places you visited. Some great tips to keep for when we finally plan our Alaska driving trip.
I love that it’s family-owned. That’s really important to me to support the little guy as long as they provide the same level of services. It seems like they didn’t disappoint!
Great tips for renting a car in Alaska. We encountered similar problems when renting a car in Iceland and in New Zealand. Both countries have a lot of gravel roads but most rental companys do not allow travelers to use them with their cars. Also great that they offer different pick-up and drop locations.
Good tips for Alaska Car Rental where this is the best way to move around. But searching for dependable companies can be taxing at times when you have no idea. Therefore it is always advisable to go with one recommended by someone else. Thanks for the tips.
Those are some amazing tips on Alaska Auto Rental. I find your review quite helpful and educational. I have never been to Alaska, but I know, now where to rent a car if I ever visit.
Renting a car anywhere you go is both a blessing and a curse! It gives you the flexibility to freely explore by ground wherever you want to go, but always comes with some inconveniences, like that exorbitant deposit – wow!! As someone who is familiar with driving in snow and ice, I love that Alaska Auto Rental provides fully winterized cars with two spare tires and Apple Car Play (which is really helpful in navigating). It sounds like they do a great job serving customers, especially with the ability to provide cars suitable for the gravel roads in Alaska. It’s helpful to know the pricing is better when making reservations earlier rather than last-minute, too. I will keep that in mind, as I would love to do this road trip in Alaska and would definitely look to Alaska Auto Rental after reading about your experience. Why chance it with an unproven competitor? Thanks for making this recommendation!
Wow a 9.5 rating is definitely something to consider. Having read the review, the biggest pluses for me would be the one way rentals and so many towns where this can be done. Good to know that their vehicles are well maintained and that the staff is experienced and friendly enough to guide you. The whole online booking system definitely adds to the convenience.
Finding a rental car can be rather tricky these days, but it sounds like you all had a great experience. I love that for you!
Having a reliable vehicle makes such a big difference in a big, wild, beautiful state like Alaska. So glad you had a great experience renting with Alaska Auto Rental!