一開始想到要去阿拉斯加看極光,跟團絕對是個比較可行的辦法,只是之前連兩次報名跟團最後都因為人數不足而取消,尤其這次原本 11 月出的團,旅行社業務一直說穩的啦!結果我們裝備幾乎都買齊了才通知說有一家 6 口臨時取消,整團 (至少 10 人成團) 也因而取消了。沒辦法,只好自助旅行囉,不然不知要等到何時才能成行。

機票及住宿部分就有勞老婆大人去張羅了,詳細部分就請參考她的 blog ( http://arielrita.pixnet.net/blog ),我就來處理到達 Fairbanks 之後的活動部分。

選項當然很多,最簡單的就是到當地租車,了不起自帶或租個 GPS,到哪裡都沒問題!只是參考一些去過的人的紀錄,發現許多人都因為不熟悉雪地駕駛而有需多驚險場面。為了安全只好放棄租車,改試圖透過當地旅行社來安排活動。從飯店網站連結到 1st Alaska Outdoor School ( http://www.1stalaskaoutdoorschool.com/ ) 看來提供的活動還蠻多樣的,且都可以到飯店接送,價錢不知貴不貴,但反正都決定要去看極光了,就不去想價錢的問題。決定好找 1st Alaska Outdoor School 安排活動之後就直接發 e-mail 到 info@1stalaskaoutdoorschool.com 詢問,因為我們已經決定在 Fairbanks 待三天,起先我計畫以下活動:

第一天:極光小屋看極光
第二天:去玩狗雪撬 + 戶外 (一個叫 Murphy Doom 的小山丘) 看極光
第三天:Fairbanks 市區旅遊 (因為沒租車,就讓當地旅行社帶我們逛逛) + 極光晚餐

當然,我還是問1st Alaska Outdoor School 是否有更好的建議,其中我還問到是否可以租借禦寒衣鞋,事後知道那其實是不需要的,1st Alaska Outdoor School 很貼心地都在車上準備好足以夠我們保暖的衣服和鞋子了。以下是我發的 e-mail :

標題:Request for Activities Quote

內容:

My wife and I, from Taiwan, will have an individual tour to Fairbanks on 11-13 (leave on 14 very early morning) Nov. 2012. We’d booked the flights (Alaska Airlines Flight 123 to Fairbanks) and Springhill Suites as our accommodations in Fairbanks. Now I’m planning the activities when we are in Fairbanks. Of course, Aurora viewing is definitely the most important activity for this trip. According to your Web site, I have a draft activity plan as below.

11 Nov. night: Aurora Borealis Lodges
12 Nov. day time: Dog Mushing School – 3 hours
12 Nov. night: Murphy Dome
13 Nov. day time: Fairbanks city tour (besides the standard stops list in the Web site, we would like to go to Pioneer Park, if possible)
13 Nov. night: Aurora Dinner / Dog Sled Tour

Could you provide a quote for all above activities and have the fee, tax, insurance and tip rules list separated. Besides, please also advise how to pay.

If you have a better activity plan for me and my wife in this trip, please provide a quote for a total package.

Though we do try our best to prepare proper gear (heavy clothes, snow shoes, gloves…) in advance, we are still looking for renting the gear from you for our outdoors activities. Please provide the renting fee for the gear. We will be continually staying in Fairbanks for 3 days, is it possible for us to rent the gear for 3 days?

Thanks in advance and hope to get your response/quote soon.

 

隔天 (因為時差的關係) 就收到回覆:

Thank you for your interest in our tours.

Unfortunately, that time of year very likely we won't have enough snow for Dog Mushing. However, during your time frame in Fairbanks, we recommend:

Nov. 11 Northern Lights/Chena Hot Springs ($155 per person) or Aurora Borealis Lodges ($105 per person)
Nov. 12 Northern Lights/Arctic Circle Tour ($200 per person)

Nov. 13 Fairbanks Winter City Tour ($75 per person); Aurora Dinner ($170 per person)

You can find all detailed itineraries, time, and prices on our website.

With outdoor activities, we will have arctic gear on board. The rest of sightseeing tours, you will be either in a heated van or warm building. We don't rent out gear but have them for our guests just in case their clothing are not warm enough.

At this moment, all our tours are still available for you (except Dog Mushing / Ice Fishing). Reservations will be made after payment in full. Should you have any question, feel free to contact us.

 

原來 11 Fairbanks 的雪還下得不夠厚,狗雪撬還不能玩,建議改為去北極圈。我一向相信專業的人做專業的建議所以決定照單全收囉!

之後就上 1st Alaska Outdoor School 預定網址 http://www.1stalaskaoutdoorschool.com/reservations.html 照建議預定好三天活動:以日期為單位做預定,活動 (注意看好是夏天還是冬天的) 可以複選 (例如一天參加兩個活動);在 ‘Number of people in your party’ 欄位填上人數;’Tour date’ 填活動日期;’Pick-up location’ 填住宿飯店名稱 (最好把地址也填上);Message 欄位則填一些注意事項如吃素…,確認資料無誤後按 Submit 。之後會收到要付款的 e-mail,可以直接回覆信用卡資料 (要將卡號及有效期限分開在兩封 e-mail 中),或上 Paypal 直接付款即可。

我就在 Paypal 付款時發生重複付款的事,因為 1st Alaska Outdoor School 網站有說明無退費政策,一時把我嚇壞了!打電話給信用卡銀行回說 Paypal 付款是立即生效的,不能取消;打 Paypal 服務電話回說取消需要 1st Alaska Outdoor School 那邊才能處理,還好 Paypal 服務人員有說會發 e-mail 給 1st Alaska Outdoor School加上我也發了封 e-mail 去說明,重複付款的部分終於退款解決了!這部份得說 Paypal 及 1st Alaska Outdoor School 處裡的還不錯,給我感覺很好!

到了 Fairbanks 果然都在預定時間 (都在可接受的誤差) 1st Alaska Outdoor School 的車就到飯店來接我們了,活動內容就請參考我老婆大人的 blog。值得一提的是帶我們去北極圈的 Jim,可能他得保持清醒 (來回約 14 小時,且大多在黑暗中開車),幾乎是一路聊啊!非常佩服他對各種樹的知識,只是以我的英文程度,遇到一大堆樹的專有名詞真的應付不來,只能加減聽聽!另,動物、歷史相關問題,Jim 也是有問必答,真的是一位很可愛的人!當然,每天活動結束回到飯店,下車後要記得給小費,我是抓活動費用的 10% 左右,希望沒失禮了!

聽 Jim 說 1st Alaska Outdoor School 有一位 Maggie (應該是老闆娘) 其實來自台灣,建議要去 Fairbanks 玩的人,若英文能力沒那麼有把握,可以試著寫中文 e-mail 給1st Alaska Outdoor School 並請 Maggie 處理應該也可以!

以上就是此行跟1st Alaska Outdoor School 的一些往來紀錄,供大家參考囉!

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