More than 74,000 people travel to Alaska each summer from the Lower 48 states in search of seasonal work. Most of those people are college students looking for an adventurous way to spend their summer vacations. Some work in the fishing industry, while others opt for an easier summer working on small cruise ships or in one of Alaska’s resorts. Still others build trails and work in visitors’ centers in Alaska’s 120 state parks and eight national parks. Almost all working travelers in Alaska have one thing in common: they work to fund a summer experience they otherwise could not afford.
Alaska’s population balloons each year when the long, dark winter ends and everything turns green. What had been a cold and inhospitable place earlier in the year becomes a gigantic playground for millions of tourists and Alaskans alike. A festive spirit prevails throughout the summer. There is no shortage of outdoor music festivals and parties, and almost every town in the state offers up its own way to celebrate the end of the ruthless winter and embrace the infusion of tourist dollars headed its way.
The rush of tourists into Alaska, coupled with the frenetic pace of the salmon fishing season, creates an incredible need for seasonal workers in the summer months. Both the fishing and tourism industries rely on seasonal employees to work as commercial fishermen, fish processors, waiters, bell boys, room cleaners, cooks, tour guides, drivers and deckhands—to name only a few of the jobs available. While tens of thousands of people travel to Alaska to fill these jobs, thousands more seriously consider it but never go because they have no idea what to expect and no guide to help them. Alaska is a large and far-away place, and few people have the gumption to hit the road on a shoestring budget without a plan. Many are afraid of ending up broke with no way of getting home.
Road to Alaska: The Definitive Guide to Work and Travel in Alaska will be the first guidebook for the tens of thousands of working travelers who go—and who dream of going—to Alaska each year.