Even the most seasoned travelers have had the unfortunate experience of getting to their destination only to realize that, oops, they forgot something. It’s always important to make out a packing list and to check it twice before you leave. However, when you’re heading off to Alaska there are a few items you might not even realize you should bring along. Following are the things that you might not even know that you need to bring along to Alaska, but will definitely want to add on to your packing list. (Or just click on the graphic on the bottom for our printable packing list.)
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Though there aren’t a lot of swimming holes in Alaska, there are plenty of pools, spas, and hot springs to be found. Don’t get stuck watching everyone else relax in the water. Make sure you bring one along a swimsuit no matter where you’re going.
Many people think of icebergs and glaciers when they call Alaska to mind, so they’re surprised to find summertime temperatures are much warmer than they expected. In fact, temperatures can routinely rise above 80 degrees, so make certain you bring along plenty of sunscreen. Even in colder areas, any exposed skin can be prone to sunburn that is intensified by glare off of snow. Use a high-SPF sunscreen and always remember to reapply.
Just like with sunscreen, it can be easy to forget sunglasses when you’re traveling somewhere that you think of as Arctic rather than sunny. Don’t make this mistake with Alaska! Though summers can also bring with them a fair amount of rain, the sun also comes out and shines. Furthermore, because the winter sun hits the region at a low angle, snow blindness can be a pretty severe issue. Bring along eye protection and wear it.
It’s not just the views that are big in Alaska, so are the mosquitos, especially in areas away from the coast. In the summer months, you’ll want to make certain you bring along plenty of bug repellant. Use it liberally. Mesh or insect shielding clothing can also help ward off unwanted pests.
Unless you plan on getting up-close and friendly with a grizzly bear, you’ll want to bring binoculars to get a get view of Alaska’s awe-inspiring wildlife. Pro Tip: Never get up-close and personal with a grizzly bear, they might be fuzzy, but they aren’t nice. If you have a telephoto lens for your camera, make certain you don’t forget that either.
If you’ve never been to Alaska, then you haven’t experienced just how friendly the people here can be. It might be because of the small population or perhaps because we go a little stir-crazy in the winter months and need to socialize come spring. Whatever the reason, you are sure to make contacts and meet new friends. So make certain you bring along some cards with your contact info on them to stay in touch after your trip.
Sleeping Mask/Eye Shade
Don’t forget that in the summertime, the sun hardly moves beneath the horizon before it’s right back up again. At the summer solstice, in fact, the sun only sets for about four and a half hours in some areas. If you’re not used to falling asleep in a sunlit room, you might want to bring along a good sun-blocking sleeping mask to assure that you’re getting enough shuteye.
One of the most alluring things about Alaska is its wide-open spaces and its relative solitude. However, that also means that if you’re touring around the state, you could be in transit for quite some time. On top of that, cell coverage can be spotty in areas. Make sure you bring along plenty of reading materials to keep your brain occupied during your travels. Even better, bring one of these selections that are set in Alaska and really immerse yourself in the Alaskan culture.
Sense of Adventure
Probably the most important element to bring along on a trip to Alaska is a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone and try some new adventures on for size. From outdoor exploring with opportunities for some of the world’s best hiking, biking, rafting, and camping, to cultural events that highlight Alaska’s unique history and peoples, a vacation in Alaska can be one of your biggest adventures. So come prepared.