During the summer travel season, many cruise fans head north to Alaska where natural beauty and wilderness wonder await. Those who have been there tag the land of the midnight sun as a dream destination. Alaska is often the next logical choice for cruise travelers who have sailed in the Caribbean and are looking for something different. Still, there is a huge difference between the two cruise experiences; a difference that demands a few new packing list items.
The Right Jacket
On our first trip to Alaska, we brought winter clothes we never used. Thinking Alaska = cold was a mistake. After all, major cruise lines don’t sail during the coldest months of the year, when the deep freeze sets in. Instead, our most frequently used item of apparel was a light waterproof jacket with a hood.
The Right Shoes
It rains a lot in Alaska during the summer, almost daily. But like a quick shower in the Caribbean, this is not a land of cloudy gloom and skies will clear. Still, good walking shoes should be right up at the top of any packing list. A good way to plan what type of shoes you will need is to book shore excursions in advance. If hiking or flight seeing with a glacier landing are planned, a more aggressive tread design is desirable.
The Right Power
In Alaska, tours and plans off ship often take up most of a day, making backup power for electronic devices a must. If planning on sharing the experience with friends and family as you go, bring along backup power like the Duracel Go Power DayTrip charger ($59.99) or the Power Bank 6000 solar charger ($42.00) a great choice at a place long days equal abundant sunshine.
The Right Eyes
Now is the time to invest in a good pair of field glasses. Excursions will take you close to the action but not too close, leaving a safe buffer of distance between you and wildlife. While field glasses are a good choice, they can be expensive (up to $thousands) and a spotting scope (less than $200) can work well in the Alaska environment. Your point and shoot camera with a zoom lens will probably capture great images but does no good for live action events you will probably want to see from the best possible viewpoint. This is one of those items I only think of when I am in the situation where it would be helpful and don’t have it.
The best bit of advice I received before going to Alaska the first time was “Bring your camera! Every where you look, in every direction, there will be something you will want to take a picture of,” advice that turned out to be right on the mark.
Alaska is a dream destination that many travelers will never repeat. Armed with all of the above, they will get the most out of the experience and come back with lifetime-quality memories like no other.
Flickr photo by Bob Canepa