How to Mail Packages in Remote Alaska

Barge with floatplane and ferry in the backgroundPackage Delivery in Alaska

Ketchikan Narrows, Alaska – In this photo, you can see how freight makes its way to Prince of Wales Island in southeast Alaska. The loaded barge on the left carries cargo containers shipped from Washington state. Perishable food is shipped in cooled containers. People send personal items on the barge by container or pallet, which can be expensive. Once the barge arrives in Thorne Bay, the cargo is loaded onto semi-trucks and delivered to stores or dropped in front of people’s homes.

The floatplane in the top right carries mail, packages, and passengers’ luggage. I always traveled home with fifty-pound suitcases bursting with goods unavailable on the island. Do you see the ferry on the right? Passengers pack their vehicles with shopping bags before boarding the ship.

Mailing or receiving a parcel in Alaska can be more challenging than one might think, especially for those living in remote communities. Many bush residents have post office boxes, and the postal system does not recognize some street addresses.

Priority package sent to Alaska with damage
Damaged Priority Box Mailed to Alaska

Sometimes shipping issues happen in Anchorage too. Last summer, I shipped a box of books to an Anchorage tourist shop and had the shipment returned before it ever made it to Alaska.

It is not unusual to have a company refuse to mail to Alaska or overcharge shipping costs. My granddaughter’s Christmas present came to Wyoming, and then I sent it to Alaska because the company rejected my son’s post office box. I often use the physical address of the post office because the system recognizes it.

Deliver2Alaska logo
Deliver2Alaska logo

Now, for the rest of the Alaska story.

Overloaded truck with flaps on the ground heading to Alaska
Alaska Bound and Overloaded

I snapped this photo in Montana on our way back to Alaska one year. We were loaded, but not THAT loaded. The back end couldn’t fit one more thing in it, though we did park the truck in a dip. We hauled a cargo trailer with us to and from Alaska for years. When the kids grew up and moved away, we needed fewer supplies and skipped one year with the trailer. This was the result.

A social media post by inspired this post. Those who want to avoid asking family or friends in the lower 48 to accept a package and mail it to them in Alaska can have Deliver2Alaska do it for them for a small fee. I am not endorsing this business or an affiliate; just mentioning it.

Other Alaska Life Bush Life Posts on Our Unusual Life

Unique Alaska Snowman on Prince of Wales – Southeast Alaska’s temperate rainforest has residents measuring rain in feet. Learn how to build a unique Alaska snowman by Ethan Cook.

Unforgettable Alaska Housing Options – I have known residents with unique living conditions. Learn how they made the most of their situations.

J.R. Gildersleeve School in Southeast Alaska – This former logging camp school is as unique as any school. Check out the history of this building.

Happy New Year 2023

A clock in Christmas lights with fireworks in the background for New Years
Image by Marketa Klimesova