It’s no surprise that a successful trip requires careful planning. For our first trip to Alaska, Jerry and I started with some purposeful planning. We did some research about how to travel from Des Moines to Alaska, created an overall travel plan, and made ferry, lodging, and flight reservations–all well before the trip.
The Alaska Marine Highway offers a scenic, affordable way to traverse the Inner Passage. This state ferry system sails from Bellingham, Washington, to Dutch Harbor on the far western end of the Aleutian Islands. Because of travel duration and wait time in ports, we decided to divide the trip into two parts: this year from Bellingham, Washington to Homer Alaska. Next year, we’ll do the Homer to Dutch Harbor half. IF wifi is available, we’ll send blog posts along the way; if not, we’ll beam up a blog post at the end of the trip.
Our first step in planning was to create an overall travel plan. Here’s ours:
Day 1: Fly from Des Moines to Seattle. Overnight at the Pensione Nichols B & B.
Day 2: Take a bus from Seattle to Bellingham (ferry location). Cost is $77 for the bus. Board the ferry two hours before ferry departure (6:00 p.m.)
Days 2-8: enjoy the ferry trip from Bellingham to Homer on the M/V Kennicut. Here are the travel stops, travel duration times and times in port:
Ketchikan/38 hours travel duration/3 hours in port
Juneau/20 hours travel duration/5 hours in port
Yakutat/17 hours travel duration/3 hours in port
Whittier/22 hours travel duration/4 hours, 30 minutes in port
Chenega Bay/4 hours, 30 minutes travel duration/1 hour in port
Kodiak/14 hours travel duration/6 hours in port
Homer/9 hours travel duration
Day 8-10:Over night in Homer. Pick up a rental car to explore the Kenai Peninsula from south to north on days 9 and 10, staying overnight in Seward on Day 9. Day 10, drive to Anchorage and overnight there.
Day 11: Fly from Anchorage to Seattle. Evening dinner with relatives.
Day 12: Explore Seattle. Evening dinner with relatives.
Day 13: Fly from Seattle back to Des Moines.
A few tips:
*Book your Alaska Marine Highway ferry passage well in advance. For our August 1 trip, we made arrangements the preceding February. The ferries fill up fast.
*Be prepared for higher priced lodging in Alaska. Allow time to book your motel/hotels to get the best deals.
*Purchase the appropriate clothing. This area has a cool rain forest climate, so you’ll need clothes made from quick-drying fabric. Remember long underwear, jackets, wool socks, gloves, and hats.
*Hire a dependable puppy/house sitter. We have T.J.–she’s the best!