Travel Tips

Solo Travel in Alaska: Ultimate Packing Guide and Best Excursions

May 26, 2024

Unveiling the Adventure of a Lifetime

Solo travel is an empowering and enriching experience. Among the top destinations that offer unparalleled beauty and adventure is Alaska. In this blog post, we’ll dive into my solo cruising journey to Alaska—a dream come true despite countless hurdles. From preparation tips to essential packing lists and breathtaking excursions, I hope to inspire you to add Alaska to your travel bucket list.

The Alaska Dream: Overcoming the Journey’s Obstacles

Booking an Alaska cruise had been on my mind for a long time. My first attempt was in 2019 for a 2020 cruise, which got canceled due to unforeseen circumstances in 2020. Undeterred, I rescheduled for 2021, only to face another cancellation. Again, I rebooked for May 2022, and guess what? Two days before departure, I caught COVID, despite having travel insurance to cover the losses. Finally, I set sail for Alaska in July 2022. Let me assure you—it was worth every bit of the wait.

Preparation: The Art of Packing Smart

Alaska’s climate necessitates thoughtful packing. The right gear ensures you stay comfortable, no matter the weather. Here’s a breakdown of the must-haves to make your Alaskan cruise seamless:

Layering for Warmth: Fleece-lined Leggings and Sweatshirts

Prepare for chilly and rainy weather, even in July. Insulated leggings or fleece-lined leggings are essential. They provide warmth and can be layered with tights or additional leggings. I personally recommend fleece sweatshirts. Although not waterproof, they serve as a cozy layering piece under your jacket.

The Essential Waterproof Jacket

Invest in a three-in-one waterproof jacket which includes an inner fleece layer and an outer waterproof shell. This jacket is versatile, catering to both cold and rainy conditions. I personally recommend the Columbia brand.

Footwear and Accessories: Staying Dry and Warm

Thick wool socks, layered if necessary, are crucial for keeping your feet warm and dry. For footwear, waterproof boots are preferred over sneakers, especially if you plan to partake in adventurous excursions like hiking. Additional accessories include waterproof gloves, hats with waterproof linings, and face gators for protecting against harsh winds. All these items help you stay insulated while enjoying Alaska’s natural wonders.

Maximizing Your Cruise Experience

Binoculars for Wildlife Watching

Don’t forget a good pair of binoculars. Whether you’re on your balcony or exploring the landscape, binoculars will enhance your experience by letting you observe whales, bears, eagles, and more up close.

A Collapsible Backpack

This compact item is perfect for storing shed layers during various activities. It folds into a small pouch, making it ideal for when you transition from cold mornings to warm afternoons.

Handy Cruise Cabin Hacks

Magnetic hooks can be a savior. The walls of cruise cabins are often magnetic, allowing you to keep your room organized by hanging accessories like hats and scarves. Additionally, pack some travel-sized detergent sheets for hand washing clothes in your cabin’s bathroom.

Don’t Forget Your Bathing Suit

Surprisingly, a bathing suit is necessary. Whether you plan to hit the spa or enjoy the outdoor hot tubs, having swimwear ensures you don’t miss out on these enjoyable activities.

Must-Try Excursions

Alaska is brimming with activities that cater to adventurers and nature lovers alike. Here are my top recommended excursions:

Whale Watching

One of the most thrilling activities, this involves cruising on a boat and getting close to majestic whales. It’s a bucket-list experience that offers ample opportunities for awe-inspiring photographs.

Glacier Hikes and Helicopter Tours

Helicopter rides offer stunning aerial views of Alaska’s landscape. Landing on a glacier and exploring it on foot is an experience like no other. Walking on a glacier feels like stepping onto another planet—surreal and memorable.

Unique Adventures: Snorkeling and Train Rides

Yes, you can go snorkeling in Alaska! Donning a thick wetsuit, you can explore underwater life in freezing waters—a unique adventure for thrill-seekers. Additionally, the White Pass Trail train ride is a historic and scenic journey through breathtaking landscapes, taking you above the clouds.

Final Thoughts

The serene beauty of Alaska from a cruise ship offers a unique travel experience that is both adventurous and peaceful. Watching wildlife, exploring glaciers, and navigating historical trails make it a trip worth taking. If you ever get the chance to embark on an Alaskan cruise, go for it—you won’t regret it. Plus, you might end up like me, planning another cruise as soon as you return!

For more travel insights and curated packing lists, check out my full Amazon shop and blog links provided. Until next time, happy travels!

Shop my favorite Alaska Cruise items here:

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