Traveling to Alaska? What You Should Know

Waterfall in mountains in Alaska. Cascading waterfalls in Skagway, Alaska on hike/hiking trail to Lower and Upper Dewy Lakes. Natural scenic mountain woodland environment.

Traveling to Alaska can be one of the most rewarding things a person can do. It is an enormously beautiful place and the sights are some of the most unique in the world. For those of you who are concerned with the coronavirus, here are some tips about traveling to Alaska during this time.

 

First of all, there are approximately 400 cases and 10 total deaths thus far of the coronavirus. These are very low numbers for the U.S. In fact the 10 deaths is the lowest number of any state. The state public health guidelines currently do let people travel between different places with the road system.

 

If you plan on flying, just take all of the necessary precautions you normally would with your luggage but with extra caution. Wearing a mask and gloves is also a good idea since airports are a hotbed for the virus. In fact, Anchorage has been cited as one of the busiest airports in the world right now. Be prepared for long wait times to and from the airport, especially if you are traveling during peak hours. One of the reasons the airport is so crowded is because of its location between Asia, Europe, Canada and the U.S.

 

Another thing to note is that domestic and international travelers may be subject to a 2 week long self-quarantine after arriving. This applies to new arrivals as well and is regardless of a person’s health. This order will remain in effect until June 2. Anyone arriving in Alaska will have to fill out a form explaining their travel and where they will be self-quarantining.

 

Alaska is now in the Phase 3 for their re-opening plan, which means all business can be re-opened. For now, anyone in Alaska is also supposed to wash hands frequently and wear a cloth mask.

 

Of course, keeping a social distance and staying away from large gatherings is also a must. The border between the U.S. and Canada is also closed until June 21 for non-essential travel. However, essential trade and commercial shipments are still able to cross the border.

 

A few other things worth noting about travel to Alaska:

  • Cruise ships are no longer going to Alaska. They have been suspended for the time being. This is because of an order from the Centers for Diseas Control and Prevention. Most of the larger cruise lines have cancelled any cruises to Alaska through June 30. This date could change though if the effects of the coronavirus are still present.
  • Canada has also banned the larger cruise ships through July 1. The ban is for ships with more than 500 passengers, which means there are a few cruise lines that are able to operate. These include Alaskan Dream Cruises, UnCruise Adventures, Lindblad Expeditions, and American Cruise Lines. It is important to understand that nearly all Alaskan cruises stop in Canada at some point, so their policies will affect you.
  • Many companies have made it easier to cancel or rebook trips to Alaska or really anywhere in general. Be sure to keep this in mind if you are trying to visit Alaska.

 

The nice thing about Alaska is it is a vast state. The coronavirus doesn’t have to completely ruin your trip. There are still many things you can do to safely social distance while you are there. Rent a cabin and spend time on the beautiful property. Take a fishing trip to a remote area and try your luck at catching one of the many unique species of fish. Enjoy all of the beautiful wilderness and wildlife the great state has to offer.

 

If you still have any questions, one great resource is Anchorage.net. It is important to note that these restrictions are changing pretty rapidly. The Anchorage Daily News also has a very recent article laying out the most recent changes to what to expect when it comes to life in Alaska. Lastly, if you do decide to visit, stay safe and enjoy your stay.