The Best Packing List for a Trip to Alaska

Wondering about what to pack for a trip to Alaska? I live in Alaska and I've covered everything you need for your vacation and things to take on a cruise to Alaska. There's also a free printable packing list to help with your preparation.

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UPDATED OCTOBER 2017

Wondering about what to pack for a trip to Alaska? I live in Alaska and I've covered everything you need for your vacation and things to take on a cruise to Alaska. There's also a free printable packing list to help with your preparation.

I relocated to Fairbanks, Alaska in 2014. Before my move, I researched on travel essentials for a trip to Alaska. Everything I read said to layer up but other than that, I felt rather lost. Now that I’ve made Alaska home for a few years, this post covers everything you need for a trip to Alaska.

 

Wondering about what to pack for a trip to Alaska? I live in Alaska and I've covered everything you need for your vacation and things to take on a cruise to Alaska. There's also a free printable packing list to help with your preparation.

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Whether you are visiting the Last Frontier on a cruise or to explore on a self-planned travel, I’ve got your covered. I’ve also created this handy packing list for your Alaska vacation that you can print as you prepare for an adventure of a lifetime! Unlike many other parts of the U.S, planning a trip to Alaska can be a little difficult to prepare and pack for.

 

The weather can be hard to predict particularly in transition months like April, May and sometimes June. It could be chilly on one day, warm on another, or even raining or a mix. After experiencing what felt like a monsoon one summer, intense wildfire on another, and the perfect weather on my third summer in Alaska, I am confident that this list is all you need for your vacation to Alaska.

 

Free Printable - Alaska Vacation Packing Guide
Travel Tip: Given that you are traveling to the arctic, the weather is likely going to be cold. While 60ºF feels divine to Alaskans, Texans may consider that temperature uncomfortably cold. In addition, we have a lot of mosquitoes in late summer months of July and August which are, em, ferocious! Bug spray, long sleeve tops, and ankle length pants will serve you well.

 

Dress for comfort. While Alaska is not particularly known as a state for upbeat trendy fashion, it’s never a bad idea to bring a mix of clothing that fit your personal style. If traveling on a cruise, you may have a few formal events. So one or two formal wears will come in handy. Comfortably warm casual and athleisure pieces should take up a bulk of your luggage space.

 

Wondering about what to pack for a trip to Alaska? I live in Alaska and I've covered everything you need for your vacation and things to take on a cruise to Alaska. There's also a free printable packing list to help with your preparation.

What to Pack for Your Trip to Alaska

  1. Fleece layers (2-3) – Travel with layers since you can easily take off clothes if you get too warm. I love this comfortable pants and long-sleeve top from Cuddl Duds. January and February are inarguably the coldest months of the year with temperatures dipping as low as -40F. 
  2. Waterproof jacket (1) – I recommend packing a lightweight waterproof jacket will keep you both warm and stylish. Even in May, early mornings and evenings can be chilly. My friend who is a tour guide says that the Arctic Circle excursion can be very windy so make sure you layer up.I also like this North Face waterproof jacket that is lightweight and can easily be thrown into your hiking backpack. Alaskans rarely use umbrellas because when it rains, it literally falls in every direction.
  3. Fleece jacket (1) – When it is raining hard, you’ll be glad to have a fleece jacket to keep you insulated. A fleece jacket is also great for layering and a Fleece jacket is a great option.
  4. Sunglasses (1) – As we approach summer solstice, we receive extended hours of daylight. A pair of sunglasses will be your best friend. I suggest leaving your fancier pair at home and getting an inexpensive pair like this one. If you lose it, your vacation would not be soured.
  5. Gloves (1) – Unless you plan on visiting in the heart of winter, any pair of light gloves will do. Here’s an affordable one from Amazon. I am wearing Outdoor Research Flurry mitts in this post.
  6. Insulated/Fleece-Lined leggings (2) – This is great for layering and if you find that you are warmer than you like, you can effortlessly rock these with a pair of walking shoes. I recommend traveling with at least two pairs of insulated leggings to double up as layering pieces. Leggings make a stylish outfit with a pair of boots.
  7. Jeans (2-3) – Two or three pairs of jeans would be enough for a 7 or 10-day trip to Alaska. I recommend a thick pair with stretch or extra room so you can wear your insulated leggings underneath if you need to layer up.
  8. Cardigans (2) – You can never go wrong with cardigans in Alaska. Not only do they keep you warm but they will transform your looks since you will be leaving out of a suitcase. The months of May (sometimes June) and September are usually when I wear cardigans the most.
  9. Casual tops (3-4) – Pack a few casual and fancy tops to go with your jeans and leggings.
  10. Workout clothes (optional) – If you plan on working out during your vacation. Creamer’s Field in Fairbanks has some nice trails for running.
  11. Underwear – Self-explanatory. Pack enough for your trip.
  12. Cocktail dress (1-2) – If you are visiting Alaska on a cruise or exploring Alaska with others, packing one or two formal clothes is a great idea. While I do recommend wearing whatever makes you feel most comfortable, sometimes dressing up totally transforms your evening. Additionally, if you’re going on a cruise chances are that you will have at least one formal dinner night. One or two cocktail dresses should suffice.
  13. Sneakers (1) –A pair of comfortable sneakers should be all you need for excursions. There is so much to see and do in Alaska. Sneakers will help with your posture and keep your feet comfortable especially if there will be a lot of walking involved. If you have extra room in your luggage, you can pack an extra pair.
  14. Riding boots/rain boots (1) – Depending on the season you visit Alaska, you can switch a pair of riding boots for rain boots. This Sperry Saltwater Duck Booties is chic and practical for a rainy vacation.
  15. Walking shoes (1) – I personally prefer a pair of classic Toms slip-on because it provides the maximum cushion, are lightweight for traveling and go with a lot of outfits. They are made of fabric so they will not get scuffed like leather shoes.
  16. Stilettos (1) – Every girl needs a pair of stilettos in her life. Even a casual look can be instantly transformed with a pair of classic black pumps. For comfort, I recommend wearing kitten heels (2-3 inches) or medium height heels (3-4 inches) since it may be hard to predict the terrain you will walk on. Leave your fanciest pair at home.
  17. Nice slippers (1) – A nice pair of flip flops can double down for indoor movement (hotel/cruise) which you can use to run quick errands or to the swimming pool.
  18. Swimsuit (1) – If you have access to a pool or plan on visiting one of the many hot springs in Alaska, you will be glad you packed one. I live in Fairbanks and visited Chena Hot Springs. It was amazing!
  19. Nightwear – Don’t forget to pack a pair or two.

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Wondering about what to pack for a trip to Alaska? I live in Alaska and I've covered everything you need for your vacation and things to take on a cruise to Alaska. There's also a free printable packing list to help with your preparation.

 

Additional Travel Essentials

  • Phone charger
  • Laptop + charger
  • Headphones – Drowns out the noise on your flight or noisy neighbors on a cruise
  • GPS if exploring Alaska on your own – Alaska is 5 times the size of Texas with a population that is a fraction of Texas. As you travel around the state and even within the town, network coverage can get patchy. Not all GPS come preloaded with Alaska maps. This TomTom GPS includes maps of Alaska.
  • Camera, extra memory card + charger – I love and use a Canon T5i. I use an 18-55mm kit lens and an affordable 50mm portable lens. My all-time favorite memory card is Sandisk Extreme 32GB SD memory card.
  • Socks – A few pairs to keep your toes warm.
  • Swim cover up – A lightweight kimono a terrific option.
  • Hat or sun visor – July and August are toasty.

Wondering about what to pack for a trip to Alaska? I live in Alaska and I've covered everything you need for your vacation and things to take on a cruise to Alaska. There's also a free printable packing list to help with your preparation.

 

Miscellaneous

  1. Sunscreen
  2. Insect repellent – The mosquitoes in Alaska are ferocious!
  3. Shampoo & conditioner
  4. Sponge/washcloth
  5. Moisturizer – I like to pre-pack my own lotion in an empty reusable tube. I love this one.
  6. Deodorant
  7. A comb or two
  8. Shower cap
  9. Sanitary napkins/pantyliners/tampons
  10. Shaving stick – I use an epilator 
  11. Makeup + makeup remover – I pack my makeup in a makeup bag similar to this one. I always make sure to put my makeup remover in a zip lock bag to prevent them from drying out.
  12. Perfume – I never travel with full-size perfumes. I always travel with my Scentbird perfume. It fits nicely into a pouch I put in my handbag. Your fragrance comes in a fancy, travel-friendly refillable case. This tiny goodness gives your 120 sprays enough for 30 days if you apply 4 sprays a day!
  13. Medication – I recommend putting your medications in your purse or carry-on. As a pharmacist, I’ve come across a few travelers who either forgot their medications or had them get lost/delayed in their checked luggage. It’s not fun! You may also want to get an over-the-counter motion sickness medication if you are going on a cruise.
  14. Toothbrush + toothbrush case + toothpaste
  15. Manicure set – Nothing worse than a cracked nail with no way to fix it.
  16. A basic first aid kit – You might have access to one on a cruise ship or at a hotel but you never know. Throw in band aids, Tums, Motrin, hand sanitizer, Aloe lotion, Tylenol, Benadryl.
  17. Downy Wrinkle Release – In case you do not have access to an iron.
  18. A travel flat iron
  19. Water bottle 
  20. Toiletry bag – To organize all your toiletries. I use this one from Bed Bath & Beyond. 
  21. Hand sanitizer
  22. Tissue

 

Wondering about what to pack for a trip to Alaska? I live in Alaska and I've covered everything you need for your vacation and things to take on a cruise to Alaska. There's also a free printable packing list to help with your preparation.

Alaska Vacation Tips

In Alaska, it is absolutely fine to repurpose clothes for different occasions. Pack clothes that can serve multiple occasions. If you are visiting Alaska on a cruise, there are a few things you should keep in mind. There are many things to see and do in Alaska. To be adequately prepared, you want to pack clothes for various occasions.

 

This exhaustive list should guide about what to bring to Alaska to keep you both warm and comfortable for maximum fun. Whether you’re out on excursions, taking a stroll in Alaska or just watching wildlife or the best fine dining in the Last Frontier you will be all set.

 

I created this guide based on my experience living in Alaska and infused some fashionable options for those who love stylish looks. Don’t forget your free printable packing list to help you as you pack your bags.

 

Free Printable - Alaska Vacation Packing Guide

 

As someone who travels out of Fairbanks, Alaska several times a year, a majority of my toiletries fit nicely into my toiletry bag. If you are visiting Alaska on a cruise, you may want to add a travel size Poo-Pourri. I heard Ozium air sanitizer is equally amazing as plug-ins are not allowed on most cruises (fire hazard and limited plug-ins available). This freshens up the air for those sharing a small cabin with several other people.

 

 

Depending on my trip, I use packing cubes to keep my luggage and clothes organized. You can use the smaller ones for your underwear, dirty laundry, and miscellaneous items. The bigger ones for your clothes.

 

I suggest using a reliable backpack rather than a purse. The backpack will spread the weight between your shoulders and the multiple compartments will keep your belongings where they belong. It comes in handy for excursions and ends up being less strenuous on the shoulders than totes or shoulder bags. For a 7-10 day trip, one checked in bag and a carry-on will be all you need with room for a few souvenirs.

 

Wondering about what to pack for a trip to Alaska? I live in Alaska and I've covered everything you need for your vacation and things to take on a cruise to Alaska. There's also a free printable packing list to help with your preparation.

If you forget a thing or two at home, don’t buy it at your hotel or ship. Check out local stores for more affordable options (hello souvenir!). In Fairbanks, The Prospector Outfitters our go-to for all things outdoors and winter. You can also find some familiar stores like Sears, American Apparel in Fairbanks. In My Element and Fireweed Boutique are local stores that carry unique and trendy clothing in Fairbanks.

 

I hope you found this packing guide. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comment section below. You are welcome to send me an email. You just might spot me if you make it up to Fairbanks 🙂 Good luck on your vacation!

 

You may also like these posts: Alaska midnight sun | Alaska fashion blogger |

I am wearing:

Baffin insulated winter boots

Helly Hansen Blume puffy parka

Turtle Fur Knit beanie (similar)

Outdoor Research Flurry mitts

High-waisted jeans (similar)

Photos by SNHPhotos

Thanks to The Prospector Outfitters of Fairbanks for collaborating on this post.

 

 

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Wondering about what to pack for a trip to Alaska? I live in Alaska and I've covered everything you need for your vacation and things to take on a cruise to Alaska. There's also a free printable packing list to help with your preparation.

 

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    June
    August 8, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Thank you!! The list is very helpful! We are leaving for a trip to Alaska the first of September.

    • Reply
      Louisa
      August 8, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      You’re very welcome, June! Enjoy your time here 🙂

  • Reply
    Linda Manns Linneman
    July 6, 2017 at 4:04 am

    I would love to visit Alaska. I have a friend that lives there and she loves it. This is quite the list. Great suggestions. I love your jacket and boots. Thank you so much for sharing this

    • Reply
      Louisa
      July 9, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      Thank you, Linda. Alaska is amazing. Hope you get to visit some time.

  • Reply
    Kim @ Three Olives Branch
    June 14, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Alaska is amazing! I agree with the waterproof jacket, it comes in so handy especially if you are in a boat or going whale watching. Much wetter than you would think!

  • Reply
    Danielle
    June 13, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    I’ve never been to Alaska and never would have guessed to bring along a swimsuit. I’d definitely be up for a dip in a hot spring!

    • Reply
      Louisa
      June 13, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      Oh yes! I went to Chena Hot Springs just outside of Fairbanks in October and it was AMAAAZING!

  • Reply
    Abigayle de Guzman
    June 13, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Oh wow! Very detailed. I wish I had this packing list for when I actually went to alaska a few years back. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Helene
    June 13, 2017 at 4:56 am

    That’s pretty detailed! Alaska is on my bucket list, but I fear that after living for over 20 years in S. Florida I might freeze my patooties off! I am forwarding your post to a friend who is taking that Alaska cruise later this summer. She is braver than I when it comes to weather!

    • Reply
      Louisa
      June 13, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks Helene! Alaska is great in the summer. I bet you would love it! Late June, July, and early August should be perfect for the tropical babe.

      • Reply
        Caroline Valentine
        August 3, 2017 at 10:07 pm

        As an Alaskan I’ve never been colder than when I went to Anaheim this past July and sat in air conditioned meeting rooms! You will be fine temperature wise visiting Alaska in the summer.

  • Reply
    Zineb
    June 13, 2017 at 12:46 am

    I loved your parka. I feel like I live in Alaska 11 out of 12 months over here. My country doesn’t do 4 seasons just cold messy weather haha! Great list to keep in mind.

    Love always,

    Zineb

    • Reply
      Louisa
      June 13, 2017 at 1:01 am

      Haha here I am wishing that summer was a little longer! Alaska is ok after all 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Zineb!

  • Reply
    Delphine
    June 12, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    Wow, that’s quite a detailed packing list! I would love to go to Alaska!

  • Reply
    Dominique | Perchance to Cook
    June 12, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    Oh wow! I wish all my packing lists were this detailed and comprehensive! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Louisa
      June 12, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      My pleasure, Dominique! Glad you found it comprehensive.

  • Reply
    Cindy's Travel Diaries
    June 12, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Great list, thank you !

  • Reply
    Sherry
    May 5, 2017 at 4:24 am

    Louisa, This is a great list! I noticed in your photos that you are wearing nice parkas. We will travel in Sept. (late). Should we bring our parkas?

    • Reply
      Louisa
      May 5, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      Thanks Sherry! The temperature starts to drop around mid to late August with snow around early October. Definitely bring a parka or jacket that will keep you warm in temperatures around 30-50F. Let me know if you have any questions.

  • Reply
    Emma me and b make tea
    April 6, 2017 at 5:29 am

    yay, it loaded properly for me! This is a great list and although i have no plans on travelling to Alaska, i’ve pinned for one day! My parents in law did a cruise in this area and this list would have been super handy!

    • Reply
      Louisa
      April 8, 2017 at 4:57 am

      Woohoo! I’m glad this worked fine. You never know, you might find yourself in Alaska one day 🙂 Thank you for pinning this Emma.

  • Reply
    Valerie
    April 5, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Love all these tips! I hope to visit Alaska soon!

    -Valerie
    http://www.styledmuse.com

  • Reply
    Keating | KeatingBartlett.com
    April 4, 2017 at 11:20 am

    I hate the cold so much, but Alaska looks so gorgeous! I’d love to visit sometime.

    • Reply
      Louisa
      April 5, 2017 at 10:05 am

      Yes definitely visit in the summer time. You’ll love it!

  • Reply
    Andrea
    April 4, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Loved this! I travel to Alaska quite often as I have family there and I always struggle with the ¨Oh my, what to pack?!¨ I´m so saving this for my next trip to Alaska. This is a huge helper! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply
      Louisa
      April 4, 2017 at 10:18 am

      I’m glad you found this post helpful Andrea 🙂

  • Reply
    Belle
    April 4, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Such a great post. I’ll be saving this for future use as I plan to visit Alaska in the future.

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

  • Reply
    Sincerely Miss J
    April 4, 2017 at 4:13 am

    Everything but the kitchen sink, right? Just playing! This is a great list! I love how you included the tip to not buy things that we forgot at the hotel. That is super important, because it can save you money! Also, who doesn’t love a good souvenir?

    Sincerely Miss J
    http://www.sincerelymissj.com

    • Reply
      Louisa
      April 4, 2017 at 10:46 am

      Hahaha yes, everything but the kitchen sink 😀 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    Karina Rojo
    January 25, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Great blog!!! Just what i needed to read for my Alaska Cruise!! I can not wait. I hope you enjoyed living there.

    Cheers!

    • Reply
      Louisa
      January 25, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      Super excited for you! I’ve had a great time living in Alaska. Get ready to have a blast!

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