If you, your spouse or a member of your family has received orders to move to Alaska for the military, you have an exciting new journey ahead. Before deployment, there is a lot to plan. Of course, one of the first considerations is determining how you will physically move to Alaska.
Anchorage and Fairbanks are the two primary cities for military members. Fairbanks is home to Eielson Air Force Base and Fort Wainwright Army Post and Fort Richardson Army Post and Elmendorf Air Force Base are in Anchorage. Luckily, both of these cities are major hubs in Alaska and offer plenty of modern conveniences. Although living in these cities will not be a stark contrast to what you are used to in the contiguous United States, the process of moving there is much different. You cannot simply rent a moving truck and make a trip across town. To help you decide on the best option for your military move to Alaska, we evaluate the pros and cons of three different methods.
#1) Take a ferry from Seattle to Anchorage. If you have a vehicle, this option is a cost-effective way to transport it, and you won’t have to worry about international travel if you take a ferry from Seattle. Depending on how much you have to transport, consider renting a moving trailer to tow with your vehicle for items you will need immediately, and ship the rest of your belongings to Alaska. This will allow you to make the trip over a few days with your essentials, and then ship the extra miscellaneous clothes and furniture separately in a moving container.
#2 ) Drive the Alaskan highway through Canada. Another option if you are taking your vehicle to Alaska is to take the Alaskan highway. It is about a 1,700 mile journey and spans from British Columbia (Canada) to Delta Junction, Alaska. Delta Junction is about 100 miles away from Fairbanks. You can drive your car the whole way, but you will need a passport, and plenty of time to pass through Canada. If you have more belongings than fits in your car, you will also need a moving trailer, a moving truck, or to arrange for shipping of your furniture to Alaska. Please note the following entry requirements when traveling from the US to Canada from the U.S. Department of State:
Canadian law requires that all persons entering Canada carry both proof of citizenship and proof of identity. A valid U.S. passport, passport card, or NEXUS card satisfies these requirements for U.S. citizens. Children under 16 need only present proof of U.S. citizenship.
#3) Use a shipping service. Perhaps the most hassle-free option of the three is to use a shipping service. Companies like U-Haul will provide you with a storage container to store your belongings. It can be dropped off at your home in advance, allowing you time to load the shipping container. Once you’re packed, it will be picked up from your old home, and shipped to your new home in Alaska. If you choose to use moving containers, plan in advance for pick-up and delivery and ask about estimated shipping duration. This way all you need to do is transport yourself and your family to Alaska, and your belongings will be waiting for you when you get there.
Regardless of which option you choose, some practical considerations should be made about what you take with you, and what you sell before you go. Lightening your load will help you keep your moving costs down.
Will you be moving to Alaska soon for deployment? Have you made this move already? We want to hear from you!