Alaska Travel Guide

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Planning a trip to Alaska? Here’s all you need to know now, including tips and an FAQ compiled by the trusted wilderness travel advisors at AdventureSmith. Traveling to Alaska is easy with our experts on your side.
A group of travelers stands in a grassy field photographing an Alaska grizzly bear

Don’t be overwhelmed when planning a trip to Alaska. Let our experts with years of experience help. Alaska is BIG, and offers endless vacation options—so what better place to get insider tips and information than from a company founded by a former Alaska guide? We have lived in, worked in and explored the region in depth, working as guides, operations managers and naturalists.

Our Alaska vacation guide will assist you in your research, selection, booking and preparation for traveling to Alaska. Start with the Alaska travel advice here to learn everything from how to go to the top wildlife to see. Then get in touch with our team to talk one-on-one. We’ve got you covered from the very first stages of planning to what to expect while you are there.

ON THIS PAGE Planning a Trip to Alaska:
When to Visit
How to Travel: By Cruise or Land
Planning Around Your Interests
Alaska Travel Advice FAQ
Travel Restrictions & Vaccination Information
View All Alaska Travel Guides

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When to Plan a Trip to Alaska

There’s no wrong time to visit Alaska, but its huge size and diverse regions come with seasonal nuances that may be of interest to you. To learn about Alaska’s short summer travel season (April through September) consult our Best Time to Visit Alaska guide. This month-by-month Alaska travel guide has tips on weather, wildlife, daylight and the benefits of each month. Be sure to also read our Alaska climate page for longest daylight hours, warmest temperatures, the driest month and more.

How to Travel to Alaska: By Land, By Sea, or Both! 

How do you want to see and experience Alaska? A land tour to Alaska’s interior, an authentic Alaskan Inside Passage cruise, or a combination of both? Our Alaska small ship cruises and Alaska land tours have been hand selected to cater to a wide spectrum of interests, time and budget. So whether you choose to cruise or explore Alaska’s backcountry from our collection of wilderness lodges, you will experience Alaska in a way that’s intimate, active and in touch with nature.

When planning a trip to Alaska and deciding how to travel while there, it’s important to understand the greater regions of the state and the types of travel that best suit each one. For example, if you want to plan to a trip to Denali, you’ll need to access it by car, bus and/or train. But if you want to visit somewhere like Glacier Bay, a cruise is required. Our experts can turn hours of your internet searching into a simple, fun conversation about your interests. Let us help you answer your individual questions around how to plan your trip to Alaska.


See the full list of itineraries by small ship and on land.

Planning a Trip to Alaska for Your Needs & Interests

Looking for a private charter adventure? Or a top Alaska trip specifically for kids and families? AdventureSmith offers Alaska experiences that will fit any need or interest. Start by using the filter options to narrow down our resources for topics like wildlife, family travel, chartering and more, to drill down to what interests you.

We have also designated itineraries and accommodations into popular categories to make it even easier to plan a trip to Alaska that best fits your interests. Consult our curated Alaska travel guides that include the best of the best for popular categories:

Alaska Travel Advice FAQ

Our experts regularly field questions around the latest Alaska travel advice, and about any current Alaska travel restrictions. We’ve compiled our top questions and answers here. Look for your question in these Alaska trip planning FAQs, or contact us direct with your question.

Is it better to travel by land or sea in Alaska?

It all depends on where you want to go. We are partial to the wilderness and wildlife that an Alaska small ship cruise provides easy access to. But you can always have the best of both worlds and combine your cruise with an Alaska wilderness lodge tour.

How small are AdventureSmith’s ships & lodges?

The ships we work with in Alaska average 45 guests, with some as small as 4 cabins; the lodges average 30 guests, with some as small as 5 rooms. View all our Alaska small ships and Alaska wilderness lodges.

Why is smaller better when traveling to Alaska?

Learn all about the differences between small ship and big ship cruises in our dedicated post on the topic. In Alaska, your experience will be greatly affected since the focus of this magical destination is wilderness and wildlife. Bigger ships cannot unload passengers except in larger ports, so you’ll just have to enjoy the views from the deck versus actively exploring off ship with us.

And some ports restrict access for large cruise ships. For example, the recent January 2023 case of the City and Borough of Juneau placing a limit on large cruise ships berthed in downtown Juneau; learn more in the Juneau Empire.

Is it safe to travel to Alaska right now?

Yes. Alaska is a very safe state to visit. For those concern with safety in Alaska, be sure to read up safety protocols around interacting with wildlife, driving on icy roads and just general common sense safety when visiting cities such as Anchorage.

Are there any Alaska travel restrictions or an advisory?

No, there are no current Alaska travel restrictions or travel advisories for the state of Alaska.

Do you need a passport to go to Alaska?

If a U.S. citizen, no. You will need a passport if your a citizen of another country. Visas are not required for travelers with citizenship in the U.S. If traveling by car or certain cruise lines, note you may need a valid passport to cross the Canadian border.

Does Alaska require a COVID test or vaccination?

No, the current State of Alaska COVID policy does not require travelers to test to enter Alaska, nor to be vaccinated. Despite this, we recommend that travelers still get a COVID test prior to travel, to ensure their trip starts off right.

Are there any Alaska cruise vaccination requirements?

Alaska cruise vaccination requirements are dictated by each operator and subject to change, but only a select few operators require vaccination today. Find current policies for our operators on the trip page you are interested in. View all Alaska trips.

Is Alaska COVID-related travel insurance available?

Yes. Many travel insurance policies can cover trip interruption or cancellation if you or a traveling companion test positive for COVID-19. A policy can also cover unforeseen events such as injury, flight delays and baggage loss.

What if a fellow traveler or I get sick while traveling to Alaska?

Every case is unique. Operators have their own procedures for patient isolation and care, so inquire with us direct about your individual trip’s protocol. It’s always ideal to be covered through travel insurance in case of unforeseen sickness.


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Want More Advice on How to Travel in Alaska?

If you don’t find what you are looking for in our Alaska vacation guide then please let us know! You can use the comment fields at the bottom of each article to leave your feedback or simply contact us with all your questions. We are Alaska experts—and what we do is help you compare products, give honest unbiased reviews and make suggestions tailored for you. Our customer service, combined with our outstanding Alaska travel advice, are the keys to how to travel to Alaska and make it the trip of your dreams. Interested in reading firsthand accounts from our trips? View our Alaska trip reviews written by our crew of professionals and Alaska travelers just like you.


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Trips, Tours & Cruises

Planning a Trip to Alaska with AdventureSmith

If our Alaska travel guide has inspired you to travel, start planning your trip to Alaska now with our expertise. These Alaska cruises and tours are consistently rated as top trips by our travelers. Browse our trips then contact our Alaska specialists to be the ultimate guide to selecting and booking your vacation. Our award-winning crew is known for personalized service, unbiased knowledge and firsthand experience on our huge selection. Go to Alaska the small, sustainable way with us!

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