When we first stumbled upon the idea of packing up our lives and travelling the length of the Americas we had originally planned to venture from North to South, flying from London to Anchorage and chasing the warm weather South to Argentina.
We had planned to buy an old VW camper van and drive as far South as money and mechanics would allow. We had sat with the back of a napkin and Googled fuel costs across the multiple countries we had planned to drive through, costing up a daily working budget for fuel, food and fun. We liked the sound of venturing from a similar latitude as the UK and watching how the landscape, weather, culture and faces changed as we migrated further south.
Jake’s 30th birthday was the perfect gateway for our trip. We would quit our jobs, take a couple of weeks packing up our things and rent out our flat. We’d then ride the wave of Jake’s 30th birthday celebrations all the way to Anchorage returning a year later for my own 30th Birthday.
We had originally planned to depart for Anchorage mid to late August 2015 however Best Man duties delayed our departure until late September. Initially, we hadn’t considered what impact delaying our trip for an extra month would have on our trip. In fact, it wasn’t until somebody at a wedding expressed a look of confusion at our route and timings, that we thought we’d better take another look at our route plan.
Alaska’s Climate throughout the year
Due to the departure time of our trip now being late September (and us planning to start from Anchorage) it meant that we would miss optimum temperatures throughout the majority of the Countries and states that we would travel through – essentially perpetually chasing Summer but never quite catching up. For any of you reading this that know Jake Mason, you’ll know all too well that being cold for 11 odd months wasn’t an option. The only option to maximise our weather was to flip the trip on its head, starting South and travelling North. We would now have to re-plan our route and pick a (sunny) starting destination enabling us to make the most of what each Country has to offer.
USA Weather Map
When covering such vast amounts of the distance across a fixed timescale you will invariably never have the perfect weather 100% of the time. We found that by taking the time to research macroweather patterns across our journey we could plot out the optimum route that resulted in the most sunshine.
Here’re our favourite Weather planning tools:
Travel Alaska have a nifty tool which enables you to select your chosen region of Alaska, checking temperatures and sunlight throughout the year. It even offers a handy clothing recommendation for that region depending on the season!
US Climate Data allows you to search by the states you’ll be travelling through mapping out the temperature, rainfall and hours of sunshine.
The Met Office have a fantastic tool called Holiday Weather that enable you to search by city across the world to seek out clear and accurate temperatures, wind speed and hours of sun.
Storm Tracker is an interactive Met office tool that enables you to see where current storm systems are active and track their trajectory.