What to Pack For Your Vacation to Alaska

What should I pack for my trip to Alaska? The question comes up for every traveler.

With Alaska’s diverse climate it can be tricky, so here are a few tips to get you on your way. It’s important to be prepared for a variety of activities and conditions. Alaska’s summer temperatures range from 40 degrees F to 70 degrees F. For more information on our average temperatures please check out our page on Alaska’s Weather. The first key element in thinking about your wardrobe for Alaska is layers.  On an average day we have a variety of conditions so if you are going to be outside it’s good to layer up with a T-shirt, sweater or fleece jacket, and top it off with a quality rain coat.  For the fleece or sweater layer it’s important to consider a wool or polyester product. Cotton is not a good option because once it’s wet, it’s no longer warm.

The second key item would be your footwear. Overall, Alaska is very casual and sneakers are acceptable just about anywhere. We would encourage you to have a comfortable pair of walking shoes or tennis shoes. If you plan to be fairly active you may want to make your second set of shoes a light hiking boot. If a portion of your trip will be by cruise ship you may want to consider a pair of dress shoes.

Here is a list of items to make sure you have included in your packing:

Clothing that can be layered (you may even want to consider a pair of long underwear if you are planning on any hiking, kayaking, or river rafting)

  • Rain Coat
  • Light Fleece Jacket
  • Hat and gloves (sometimes it can be chilly especially out on the water or near any of the glaciers)
  • Comfortable Shoes
  • Camera
  • A Backpack or Carry on type bag
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Drivers License and or Passport (a passport is required if you are taking an Alaskan Cruise)
  • Insect Repellent
  • Personal toiletries
  • Medications (some of our remote areas will not have pharmacies available)
  • Swimsuit (only if you plan on using the hotel pool or hot tubs where available)

Lastly, if you’ve booked a package through Alaska Tour & Travel be sure to read through each of the tour itineraries included in your documents.  If the tour operators such as rafting, hiking, or kayaking have any  particular suggestions on what to bring with you for your excursion we’ll have that noted in the itinerary.


  1. Linda
    January 9th, 2013 | 6:35 pm

    I have always wanted to come to Alaska. I can’t tell you how excited I am to make this my vacation spot for next year.I am looking at a package by Alaska Tour and Travel Experts. Has anyone booked one of these tours? I’ve never done a tour before. Is this the best way to go, as I will be traveling alone.Would love to hear from anyone about their experiences.

  2. Brenda Harvey
    July 8th, 2013 | 4:33 pm

    Thank you so much for this information. It is very helpful in my planning.

  3. Sanya
    May 19th, 2015 | 4:23 am

    Thank you. It is very helpful

  4. June 19th, 2015 | 8:57 pm

    Amazing place for vacations…!!!

  5. Betty Nickerson
    March 11th, 2017 | 11:40 am

    I was disappointed that your packing tips did not include more info on what to wear on the ship; i.e. clothes for dinner, etc.

  6. March 20th, 2017 | 9:44 am

    Hi Betty,

    We’re sorry about that, our focus isn’t on cruising as their is a lot of information on the internet and the cruise companies websites already on what to pack for cruises. But, that said…clothing wise, you’ll want to add some evening wear to the list if you wish to “dress up” for the formal dinners on board…there are usually 2. But you can avoid having to do so if you want to dine at some of the alternative dining locations such as the buffet’s on board.

  7. March 19th, 2018 | 7:06 am

    booked a trip to Alaska for 12 days. cruise first and then train. the hardest thing was what to pack. Thank you for the suggestion. Traveling in August.

  8. March 19th, 2018 | 8:05 am

    Evelyn, generally speaking we really encourage layers for outdoor gear such as polyfleece, a rain jacket and pants if you have them. A couple hats are helpful. Bring some very good walking shoes are helpful for getting around. We are generally very casual…so don’t get caught up on bringing too much dress up clothes. Plan on bringing something for the formal nights on board if you like to participate in those.

Leave a reply