Pack Lightly!

Alaska Travel Packing Tip #7

It is easier than you think to pack lightly when you come to Fairbank. Remember, Fairbanks is not a third world country! We have great local stores and national chains, we take American dollars, and it really isn’t much more expensive to shop here than the lower-48. So, if you’ve under-packed (does anyone EVER under-pack for their vacation?) you can always buy stuff while you're here.

To start with, you want to pack your bag only about two thirds full (room for souvenirs, right?). Here are 6 quick steps to follow to help you pack lightly:

  1. Lay everything out on your living room floor. Pick each item up and ask yourself if you'll really wear it? or use it? Be tough on yourself! Don't think of the worst case scenario. Don't try to plan for every contingency! Think in terms of what you can do without instead of what "it would be nice to have..."
  2. Reduce the luggage weight by bringing less and washing more often! Plan to spend a little down-time in a Laundromat or hand-washing clothes in your room. You'll be wearing quick-dry fabrics anyway, so hand washing will be easy.
  3. Stick with dark, basic colors like navy, black, or khaki and accessorize from there. These are great colors because they go with pretty much everything, dress up or down, and don’t show dirt easily. If you come to Fairbanks in summer, it you might want to opt for lighter colors for better sun resistance, but it isn't that big a deal.
  4. Cut back on the extras: Don’t add extra weight at the last minute – limit shoes, reading materials, and toiletries. For many travelers, toiletries can end up being half your luggage weight. Look for small containers, teeny-tiny toiletries and dry versions of products you might normally carry as liquids (like hand soap). Then shop when you get here.
  5. Roll clothes and put them in ziplock airless baggies to minimize wrinkles, save space, and keep things organized. Ziplock baggies are great to pack everything else in too!
  6. Head to the post office when you find yourself running out of room! Oh! and right before you head home, mail your dirty laundry to yourself! Then you are sure to pack lightly for the plane ride home!
As I said earlier, pack your bag only two thirds full! If you need something, you can shop in Fairbanks and get to know the friendly and knowledgeable locals who own the shops or work in the stores. You'll get to talk to the Fairbanksans who shop there! They will be thrilled to tell their own tales about some of the adventure activities you are planning. What a great way to cut down on the clothing and gear you bring! And you’ll be able to USE some of your souvenirs instead of just setting them on a shelf to gather dust!