Traveling to Alaska is currently more challenging than it used to be, but it is still achievable. 2020 was an odd year. At first, at-home quarantining was the norm, so lodges were not able to open on time. As the world learned more about the pandemic, lodges were able to develop plans to keep guests and staff safe, and eventually, we were able to open. As the season progressed, it became obvious that traveling to Alaska was possible and with the proper precautions, could be done safely. Here are some tips for you to consider when planning your trip to Yakutat Lodge this year, as well as things to consider while traveling to Alaska and back home again. For the most up-to-date information on current travel restrictions, visit https://covid19.alaska.gov/travelers/.
The first hurdle for clients at Yakutat Lodge in 2020 was getting a COVID test and results back in time. Visitors are required to take a COVID test within 72 hours (or less) of entering Alaska and optimally should have negative results in hand before flying. At first, your family doctor could administer the test, and in many cases, results could be obtained in time. As the year progressed, test supplies were in high demand, and family practitioners no longer had tests to administer. One of our repeat clients pointed out that in his area of SW Washington, Walgreens had a location where a drive-up test could be scheduled about a week in advance and the results were available within a few hours. So our first suggestion is to look for a similar resource in your area. It’s important to locate a testing center where you feel confident that you will get the results back in time. Another resource to consider is an at-home test.
The state of Alaska recommends the following companies for at-home test kits:
*Check with these companies to see who can deliver results within the timeframe required.
Part of traveling to Alaska involves establishing a Quarantine Plan. Some travelers will choose to take tests and travel to Alaska without the results. If you do this and a positive test is returned, then you will need to quarantine yourself for 14 days at your expense. So think about where you will do that. Others traveling to Alaska are tested at the airport for $250. These clients must quarantine until the results are returned. Currently, the state of Alaska is offering tests at most airports, including ours, and they use the PCR swab test, so results can take up to 72 hours and travelers must quarantine until they get results.
Practicing social distancing and wearing masks are two ways to reduce exposure and the spread of COVID. Keep six feet apart from others that aren’t part of your circle.
Now more than ever it’s important to practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently, try your best not to touch your face unless you have just washed your hands or used hand sanitizer. Bring a travel-size hand sanitizer bottle with you wherever you go.
Keep your social circle small. As much as you want to meet others also traveling to Alaska when you come to our lodge, it’s for the best that you restrict the majority of your interaction to those in your group.
Anglers traveling to Alaska are required to fill out the Travel Declaration here https://www.alaska.covidsecureapp.com/. This is also the place where you upload your negative test results. It’s quick and easy to fill this out and will speed up getting clearance into Alaska once you have landed. Bring a paper copy as a backup when traveling to Alaska just to be safe.
2021 is sure to be a great year at Yakutat Lodge. Using the tips outlined above will make traveling to Alaska a little easier. And let’s face it, when you have a bent rod in your hands, a strong fish on the line, and a big smile on your face, then the hurdles of traveling to Alaska will seem a lot smaller.