Packing for an Alaskan cruise can be daunting. The weather there is so changeable that you can experience warm sunshine and frozen sleet during the same week, and sometimes even on the same day! The key to packing without taking your entire wardrobe is to concentrate on layers. Skip multiple heavy coats and concentrate instead on light jackets with thinner pieces you can wear on top of each other. With that in mind, here are some other great tips for packing for your Alaskan holiday, whether you're going to Girdwood or another Alaskan city:
Don't Forget the Rain Gear
Alaska gets a lot of rain, and you don't want to miss any excursions just because of a little wet weather. Bring along a poncho or hooded raincoat, extra socks, and an umbrella. Add a warm fleece jacket underneath for cold rainy days and you'll stay dry and cozy through your entire trip.
Keep Your Feet Comfortable
Nothing makes a cruise miserable more than having aching feet after every excursion. Pack a pair of high quality hiking shoes or boots, and make sure they're waterproof. You'll need them for all of your nature hikes and climbs.
Soft Sided Backpack
Toss one of those soft drawstring sacks in your suitcase and take it along on all the land excursions. Between buying souvenirs and taking off multiple clothing layers as the day warms up, you'll be grateful for a handy bag to hold your extra gear.
Motion Sickness Medicine
The water in Alaska can be particularly choppy, so if you're at all susceptible to motion sickness, bring along some medication to avoid feeling miserable during your cruise. Try motion sickness tablets such as Bonine and Dramamine, motion sickness wristbands, and even ginger candy or tea to settle your upset stomach.
Great Photo Gear
An Alaskan cruise is the opportunity of a lifetime for getting beautiful photographs. Whether you're planning to shoot pictures with your iPhone or a professional photographer's setup, don't scrimp on the extras here—remember that the places you'll see on any vacation to the state will be vast and magnificent, so make sure to have the right gear to capture wide, high-resolution shots. A great zoom lens, extra memory cards and batteries and an external hard drive are all small additions to your suitcase, but they pay off in the ability to grab fantastic photos your entire cruise.
The cold air can fool you, but Alaska's sun can be very strong. Don't forget to pack a tube of strong sunscreen, especially if you're planning to hike on one of Alaska's glaciers. The reflective sun bouncing off the ice can burn you faster than you know it.
Alaskans joke that their state bird is the mosquito. This should be all you need to know when it comes to packing bug spray for your cruise. Buy it at home where you'll have lower prices and a larger selection, and get the most effective one you can find.
This isn't something you want to scrimp on. After all, the whole idea of an Alaskan cruise is to see nature and wildlife, right? A good pair of binoculars are worth their weight in gold when it comes to spotting whales breaching on the ocean or a family of moose in a wooded clearing. Don't forget the traveling case, to protect them from the inevitable bumps and bangs.