Tips for Alaska Travel in 2021
Alaska’s wide open spaces and endless outdoor activities make it the ideal destination for travel in 2021. Travel looks a little different this year, so we are rounding up our top insider tips for traveling to and around the state. Alaska is open for business and ready to welcome you on your 2021 adventure!
Domestic airlines have added flights to Alaska due to increased demand. Alaska Airlines, Delta, United, American, and Sun Country have all added additional flights, offering more connections and new non-stop flights from the Lower 48.
Non-stop flights are available from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Kahului (Maui), Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, and Portland. Airlines have been dropping fares, offering Alaska specials, and improving frequent flyer awards, so keep an eye out for good deals.
Cruising is back in 2021! Large cruise ships will sail to Alaska again for the second half of summer, with weeklong itineraries in the Inside Passage departing from Seattle, WA. Small cruise ships are setting sail May - September, departing from Seattle and several Alaska locations.
Alaska State Ferry
Hop aboard the Alaska State Ferry from Bellingham, WA and travel to Alaska via the Alaska Marine Highway System. The Alaska State Ferry is currently welcoming drive-in and walk-on travelers. Two cross-gulf sailings depart from Bellingham each month this summer. The trip takes about two days to Juneau, four days to Whittier, and a week to Homer, with other ports of call along the way. Ferry riders can rent a private cabin or camp onboard.
Ship Your RV & Fly
Tote Maritime is offering special rates to ship your RV from Tacoma to Alaska this summer. Simply drop your RV off with Tote in Tacoma and they will transport it to Anchorage aboard one of their barges in three days. Fly to Anchorage and enjoy touring the state in your own RV.
Starting August 9, 2021, United States citizens who reside in the United States will be allowed to cross the border if they have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to entry and can provide proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test result taken with 72 hours of travel. Visit the Government of Canada's COVID-19 travel page for instructions on how to provide proof of vaccination and negative test results, plus additional information on traveling to/through Canada.
Car & RV Rentals
Like the rest of the country, Alaska is experiencing a shortage of rental cars in 2021. If you’re planning on renting a car, be sure to book as early as possible and expect higher than normal prices. Availability is better in early summer and fall. If you can’t find a rental car, check out Turo, a car share marketplace that’s like AirBnB for cars.
RV and Campervan rentals are also in high demand this summer. Click here for a list of rental companies and be sure to book early!
Small Cruise Ships
Small cruise ships are setting sail May – September. UnCruise Adventures (departing from Juneau, Ketchikan, and Seattle), Alaska Dream Cruises (departing from Sitka), and American Cruise Lines (departing from Juneau and Seattle) offer exciting multi-day itineraries in the Inside Passage.
Leave the driving to someone else! Motorcoach tours are a great way to sit back, relax, and see some of Alaska’s top sights. Several motorcoach companies are offering full itineraries and a-la-carte transfer options this summer. Cruise ship companies like Princess Cruises and Holland America Line as well as locally-owned tour companies will be offering multi-day land-based tours.
The mighty Alaska Railroad travels 470 miles from Seward to Fairbanks with multiple stops along the way, including Whittier, Girdwood, Anchorage, Talkeetna, and Denali. You can build your own itinerary or book one of their multi-day train, hotel, and activity packages. The popular Glacier Discovery and Coastal Classic train routes will operate late May through mid-September this summer.
Visit our COVID-19 Information Page for the latest updates regarding state travel advisories.
Beginning June 1, 2021, any traveler arriving at the state’s three major airports will be able to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine. The three airports include: Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Fairbanks International Airport, and Juneau International Airport.
While traveling may look a little different this year, we are excited to welcome you to experience Alaska’s natural beauty, wildlife, and unique culture. Make 2021 your Alaska year!