Alaska Airlines is the principle way to get to Nome. They fly Boeing 737-200Combi* into Nome Airport. This picture shows the passenger terminal. Nome, a small town, actually has 2 airports. The 737's carry a large amount of cargo in the front and passengers exit through the self contained stairs at the back of the airplane. There are flights to Kotzebue and Anchorage.
One can walk around town. Rental trucks are available. When I called to make a reservation for a pickup truck rental (a car was not available), they asked me to pick up the keys at the airline counter when I arrive and to come to the office the following morning to fill out the paperwork. This kind of trusting attitude is common in Nome. On the other hand, if one steals the truck, there is no place to take it as Nome is not connected by roads to anywhere else, except 3 neighboring villages.
Alaska Airlines is one of the few airlines in the world that fly the 737-200Combi. It has a large cargo door in the front/side. In a few years, the airline is planning to dispose of these planes. They are planning to convert 737-400's to have a cargo door on the front/side but the partition between the cargo and the passenger cabin will not be movable like the 737-200 Combi.
If you have enough frequent flyer miles, consider using them to go to Nome. You don't need that many miles and the cost of airfare is otherwise high sometimes.
Nome is the regional hub for all the villages within 500 miles. The most reliable airline for getting in and out of those villages is Bering Air. Safe and reliable.
Bering Air operates services to the following domestic scheduled destinations (at January 2006): Ambler, Buckland, Cape Lisburne, Deering, Elim, Gambell, Golovin, Kiana, Kivalina, Kobuk, Kotzebue, Koyuk, Noatak, Nome, Noorvik, Point Hope, Port Clarence, Savoonga, Selawik, Shaktoolik, Shishmaref, Shungnak, St Michael, Stebbins, Teller, Teller Mission, Tin City, Unalakleet, Wales and White Mountain.
Well, for starters I'll tell you the truth:
If you come to Nome and expect to get around on your own, I'd suggest using an SUV or a Pickup equipped with 4-Wheel Drive! It's definitely needed during the fall and winter seasons, and can be extremely useful in the summer (provided you enjoy going off-roading; there's dirt roads, tundra trails, and you can even drive on the beaches on the Bering Sea coast). Too often, I've seen people using their 2-Wheel Drive vehicles off-road, and they end up getting stuck. I'm sure you'd be alright if you came with experience in getting unstuck, or even a few friends to help push your vehicle out... :)
Getting stuck may be fun - it's the getting unstuck is what's not, especially if there are no other human beings around for another 15 miles or so (even that much is a bit far because of the islolation in the country).........
For those with limited time and money, I highly recommend taking one of the commercial tours of Nome. Several companies offer such tours. I booked mine through Alaska Airlines, which included my flight, tour and lodging, at a price well below what I could have done on my own if I had purchased each component seperately.
Our guide was friendly, knowledgeable and professional. Without the tour company's help there are many things I saw and learned that would have been almost impossible to have done otherwise - like visiting the dog musher's camp. Tours of various length are available, and they do offer some time for exploring on your own.
No roads lead to Nome. The only way the average person can get there is by air, and Alaska Airlines is the only major carrier that flys there. There are several flights daily from Anchorage, and each of them stops at both Nome and Kotzebue. At the time of this writing a ticket was just under $350.00, round trip.
For the budget minded traveler, Alaska Airlines also offers package tours to Nome which includes both airfare and hotel accomodations. See my next transportation tip for more info in the tour.
Fare from airport to town is $5 per person.
In town, fare is $3 per person.
Most taxis are minivans that pick up passengers until the van is full. Some charter by the hour; some offer city tours.
Several taxi companies are in Nome. Any taxi is just a 5-min call away.
Once you get off the airplane at the airport, you will want to call a taxi, $5 to Nome. Once in Nome, it is $3 to be taken anywhere in Nome city limits. They will even take your shopping bags home/to hotel for you while you keep on shopping (that costs extra, $8). there is a free phone for each of the town's two taxi services in every establishment in Nome! I bet there is no such thing as a drunk driver in nome, just pick up the phone and a cab comes and takes you home. It is a wonderful service and used by residents and tourists alike. You see few cars on the streets, but the taxis are always in view.