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What to Pack for Alaska

Packing for Alaska can be especially challenging because of the diverse climate and weather conditions. It is very important to be prepared for all types of conditions, ranging from light rain to 80-degree weather in mid summer.


The first key element for wardrobe packing is layers. The early mornings and late evenings can cool down significantly in Alaska, no matter the month or location. If you are planning on an early morning or evening tour, you will want to dress with layers: a short sleeve shirt under a long-sleeved jacket or sweatshirt, topped off with a fleece jacket or rain jacket.  

For the most part jeans and multi-season hiking pants (polyester/wool blends) are good for an Alaskan vacation. With jeans, you want to keep in mind that when cotton gets wet, it is no longer warm.

Bring a backpack. This item will be invaluable when it warms up and you need to remove some of those layers. It also helps keep your hands free for picture or video taking with your camera or phone.


Another key item will be footwear. Overall, Alaska is very casual and tennis shoes are acceptable everywhere. Have a comfortable pair of walking shoes or tennis shoes as your go-to footwear. Most trails around the lodges are very well maintained and this type of shoe is acceptable and practical. If you are more adventurous and plan on more strenuous hiking, you may want to pack a good pair of hiking boots. Keep in mind, boots are not as easy to pack and take up more space in your suitcase.


The coastal areas of Alaska tend to be wetter than the interior. If you plan to travel to Whittier or Seward, it is important to have your layers and a rain jacket or fold-up poncho. Typically, the temperature is 10 to 20 degrees cooler on the water, so if you are taking a day cruise be prepared.

here is a list of important items to bring:



  • bras (include strapless if needed for evening wear)

  • panties

  • lingerie/night gown/pajamas/robe

  • compression stockings (for airplane flight to prevent swollen ankles)

  • exercise/walking socks

  • trouser socks or pantyhose

  • camisole/slip

  • purses (day and evening)

  • belts

  • scarves

  • gloves and stocking cap (if expect cold weather)

  • walking shoes

  • walking sandals

  • rubber sandals for reef walking and beach

  • evening shoes

  • costume jewelry

  • swimsuit

  • swimsuit cover-up/pareo/sarong

  • thongs/flip flop shoes

  • workout clothes and sports bra

  • dress/outfit for informal nights on ship

  • shorts

  • tops of all types (sleeveless, short-sleeved, long-sleeved)

  • capri pants

  • slacks

  • windbreaker jacket

  • sweatshirt

  • evening sweater

  • raincoat with hood



  • underwear (briefs or boxer shorts)

  • undershirts

  • pajamas and robe

  • compression socks (for airplane flight to prevent swollen ankles)

  • exercise/walking socks

  • black dress socks

  • belts

  • gloves and stocking cap (if expect cold weather)

  • walking shoes

  • walking sandals

  • rubber sandals/shoes for reef walking and beach

  • evening or dress shoes

  • "docksider" casual shoes

  • tuxedo jacket and pants (or dark suit)

  • tuxedo tie, suspenders, and cummerbund

  • tuxedo cufflinks/studs

  • sport jacket

  • regular ties

  • tuxedo shirt

  • dress shirts

  • swimsuit

  • swimsuit cover-up

  • workout clothes/T shirts

  • shorts

  • casual shirts

  • slacks (casual and dress)

  • windbreaker jacket

  • sweatshirt

  • raincoat with hood



  • blow dryer

  • curling iron or curlers

  • comb/brush

  • hair gel

  • hair spray (non-aerosol)

  • shampoo

  • conditioner

  • shower cap

  • bar soap in plastic container

  • deodorant

  • toothbrush

  • toothpaste

  • dental floss

  • mouthwash

  • tweezers

  • make-up mirror

  • make-up and make-up bag (list can be endless!)

  • make-up remover

  • cleanser

  • moisturizer and freshener

  • nail polish and remover

  • nail clippers and file (be sure to pack in checked luggage)

  • razor and shaving cream

  • perfume



  • comb/brush

  • shampoo and hair products

  • bar soap in plastic container

  • deodorant

  • toothbrush

  • toothpaste

  • dental floss

  • mouthwash

  • tweezers

  • nail clippers and file (be sure to pack in checked luggage)

  • razor and shaving cream (or electric razor and supplies)

  • Cologne



  • camera & charger

  • extra memory cards for digital camera

  • batteries for digital camera

  • battery charger

  • cell phone and charger

  • iPad or tablet and charger

  • laptop computer

  • goPro & charger

  • small travel alarm clock - battery operated lighted dial clock for cruise ship cabin)

  • small flashlight

  • night light

  • extension cord with multiple plug ins



  • airline tickets or e-ticket confirmation

  • cruise documents

  • passports and visas (if necessary) or proof of citizenship (check with your cruise line for requirements)

  • vaccination certificate (if required)

  • wallet and fanny pack

  • driver's license and auto insurance card - in case you decide to rent a car when ashore

  • medical insurance cards and medical history (especially if traveling alone)

  • another picture ID - if you don't take driver's license

  • credit cards - be sure to call credit card companies before traveling to alert them you are traveling outside your normal area ATM card

  • pre-paid phone card

  • cash or traveler's checks (be sure to keep traveler's checks receipt in separate location)

  • 3 copies of airline tickets, cruise tickets, passports/visas, itinerary - pack 1 copy in carry on, 1 copy in checked luggage, and leave one copy with someone at home

  • contact numbers to report lost/stolen credit cards or traveler's checks

  • emergency numbers at home

  • prescription drugs and any other essential medications in carry-on bag

  • watch

  • glasses, contacts, contact cleaner

  • sunglasses

  • guidebooks and other port of call information

  • reading material - books to read while on the plane or lounging by the pool

  • journal or notebook and pen/pencil - for making notes to tell your friends back home about your experiences

  • business cards with email address to give out to new cruise friends

  • home and email addresses of friends/relatives back home - for sending postcards, emails, or gifts

  • binoculars - a pair for each of you!

  • duct tape or strapping tape

  • extra plastic cable-lock ties for securing luggage for return trip (better than locks, but one-time use only)

  • zip loc bags of all sizes and garbage/laundry bags

  • corkscrew (be sure to put in checked luggage)

  • Swiss Army knife or something similar with screwdriver head, etc. (be sure to put in checked luggage)

  • small umbrella

  • collapsible travel pillow for those long airplane flights

  • ear plugs

  • small first aid kit Band-Aids, Q-tips, Vaseline, Bonine, antibiotic cream, anti-diarrheal medication, cortisone cream, Aspirin/Tylenol/Advil)

  • Krazy Blue

  • bugspray

  • sunscreen and lip sunblock

  • hand sanitizer

  • Handi-Wipes

  • hand lotion

  • rubbing alcohol or foot lotion for soothing tired, hot feet

  • sewing kit and scissors (pack in checked luggage)

  • travel-sized Woolite

  • clothes pins

  • empty folding tote bag

  • hats/caps/visors

  • insulated large coffee mugs

  • Dress in layers! Begin with a lightweight short sleeved shirt (your comfort layer), add a hoodie (hooded sweatshirt), cardigan sweater or fleece sweater (your warmth layer), add to that an all-weather coat (your protection layer), & scarf if it is warranted. If you get hot, simply shed enough clothes to make yourself comfortable.

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