Ship your RV to Alaska in 2020 – New pros and cons

 Ship your RV to Alaska in 2020 – New pros and cons

in the summer of 2020

For some, it makes sense to ship your RV to Alaska.

For those in the Lower 48, Alaska is a long, long way to travel. Even if you reach the Seattle-Tacoma area, figure another 40 plus hours of driving to reach Anchorage.

One way to avoid the long drive is to ship your RV to Alaska by sea and then fly up to meet it when it arrives.

First off, let me tell you this: It’s very costly to ship your RV to Alaska – though the leading company that will ship your RV to Alaska has slashed its rates this summer because of the devastating hit to the Alaskan tourism industry.

Because of COVID19, the cruise industry – a huge source of tourist income for Alaska – has basically shut down all Alaskan cruises for the rest of the year.

Costs to ship your RV to Alaska

But figure $4,000 to put your RV on one of the big cargo-hauling vessels run by Tote Maritime, which can get your RV from Tacoma, WA to Anchorage, AK in about 66 hours. The southbound trip from Anchorage to Tacoma is about half that – $2,000.

Those are the rates to ship your RV to Alaska for this summer (2020) only, by the way.

I told you it was expensive to ship your RV to Alaska!

But wait, there are more costs.

Because you are not allowed to be in the RV as it is on the open seas of the Gulf of Alaska, you need to get to Anchorage. 

Right now, you can’t do that by driving because the U.S./Canadian border is closed to nonessential travel. And RVing is considered non-essential. The closure is in effect until June 21, 2020. But as we write this, there’s no way of knowing whether it will be extended.

Wonder what it’s like to cross the Canadian border in an RV? CLICK HERE for a video we did last summer on a trip to Ontario

One more complication for driving to Alaska right now is that British Columbia, the Canadian province you need to travel through to get through on the other side of the border has closed all camping at its provincial parks for out of province visitors for the rest of the season.

So that means, your best way to get there while the RV is in transit is to fly. With airfare changing daily, it’s hard to say what that will cost but figure a few hundred more per person. 

But Alaska is on almost every RVers bucket list.

So for some, maybe it does make sense to ship your RV to Alaska – if it is really important to them to visit this year

Reasons to ship your RV to Alaska

ship your RV to Alaska
Here’s a Class A being driving up the ramp. The shipping company has cut its rates this summer to convince you to ship your RV to Alaska.

If you were to drive the route between Seattle and Anchorage, it would take 43 hours, 8 minutes, according to the website travelmath.com. For most RVers, figure about 8-10 days of driving. Driving the fabled Alcan Highway is something a lot of RVers want to do at least once. There are lots of things to see and do along the route.

“But doing it both ways can be a bit grueling,” says Taylor Janney from Tote Maritime. “That’s over 4,500 miles round trip. A lot of our customers realize you can ship your RV to Alaska on one of our vessels and then drive the RV back home from Anchorage. Or they’ll drive up in the RV and then ship the RV back, sending an extra couple days in Anchorage before flying to Seattle and meeting up with their RV at the dock.”

I interviewed Taylor on episode 297 of the RV Podcast.

CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast interview (about 25:00 in) on how to ship your RV to Alaska

Still, whether $4,000 northbound, &2,000 southbound or $6,000 round trip… that is a lot of money. 

If that doesn’t stop you, here are some other things to know if you want to ship your RV to Alaska:

What to know before you ship your RV to Alaska

  • Tote Maritime ships are only allowed to only carry cargo – no passengers other than crew are allowed
  • Before you ship your RV to Alaska, you must remove any exterior propane tanks, fuel containers, or other hazardous materials from your RV
  • Accessories or items that are not permanently attached to the RV need to be removed. Nothing secured to the exterior with bungie cords, straps, etc.
  • Your RV’s fuel tank needs to be at 1/4 full or below before you drive it on the dock to ship your RV to Alaska
  • Tacoma departures are on Wednesday & Friday evenings
  • Anchorage departures are on Sunday & Tuesday afternoons
  • The pricing discounts to ship your RV to Alaska are good only from June 1 – September 8, 2020
  • More info is available at https://www.totemaritime.com/rv-alaska/

Here’s a video showing the actual vessel used to ship your RV to Alaska::

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Mike Wendland

Mike is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road. He enjoys camping (obviously), hiking, biking, fitness, photography, kayaking, video editing, and all things dealing with technology and the outdoors. See and subscribe to his RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube, where he has hundreds of RV and travel related videos. His PC MIke TV reports, on personal technology are distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations.

2 Comments

  • Shipping is an option for sure but be prepared for many closures. The tourist industry has been devastated by the Covid 19 closures, the loss of all cruise industry support, and the Canadian border closing! In other words there are no cruises to Alaska this year and this drives the tourist industry across the board.
    The one bright spot is that most, if not all state and federal parks are open and there are no crowds.
    We also have some new visitor requirements for testing that are just starting that may be bothersome to some. Check before you come for requirements. In closing let me state that I retired from Princess Cruise Lines in Alaska and it is very sad the impacts of this closure. Alaska is a beautiful place and we welcome you but be prepared. It could be a great opportunity for some depending on what you expect.

  • This segment is somewhat misleading. There are significant quarantine and testing requirements for anyone flying to alaska that could tie you up for weeks after you arrive. Check out current requirements at alaska.gov, the official state web site, and muni.org, the official Anchorage web site.

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