Family travel tips from an expert

Freelance writer Erin Kirkland from AK on the Go shares her top tips for traveling with children.


Pack appropriate clothing

Alaska weather changes. A lot. Layer up the kids in non-cotton fabrics and fleece, and add a raincoat, hat, and gloves to the backpack, just in case. Don’t forget the backpack!


Do your homework

Know where you are going, how you will get there, and what you will do. Hint: Alaska is a lot bigger than you think. Visit for trip tips and age-appropriate activities. Take a map in the car and use it. 


Bring a camera for the kids

Allow them to experiment with images and sights they think are interesting. 


Pack a journal

REI offers a great “Adventure Journal” for kids, free, that allows for creativity and guidance for any trip, anywhere. We love it. Don’t forget the crayons and a pencil or pen.


Ask questions

 Kid friendly? Ask specifically how tours and vendors will accommodate children. Car seats? Lifejackets? Menus? Ask again, and again, until you are satisfied. Then leave if you are not. Do not compromise on safety issues.


Take a "Down Day"

Visit a park, take a walk, hang out at the hotel pool. Too busy equals too tired; give everyone a break now and then. 


Stick to the familiar

Routines, that is. Bedtime, naps, meal times, if you can. You’ll find the day will go much easier if everyone is doing the familiar, at least some of the time. 


B&Bs for kids?

Yes, inquire at a city’s visitor center for ideas. Be willing to drive a bit, but for a more peaceful locale, it’s sometimes worth it. Check out smaller hotels, too.


Pack food

Everyday. Wherever you go, and add water. In Alaska, services can be few and far between along the roadways. Plan ahead. 


Observe proper wildlife behavior

Show the kids you respect wildlife by observing from a distance. Review rules for moose and bear sightings at