Shipping Holiday Gifts to Alaska Can Be Complicated, but It Doesn’t Have to Be

September 30, 2022

Holiday shopping in Alaska can be tough, especially if you’re somebody who buys the bulk of your gifts online. That’s because it’s difficult to find retailers who ship to Alaska, meaning you’ll have to figure out alternative shipping logistics for shipping holiday gifts to Alaska. Luckily, MyConnect, Carlile’s retail package forwarding to Alaska service, is here to help.

Not All Retailers Ship to Alaska

The fact is many retailers, both online and brick & mortar, simply won’t/don’t ship to Alaska because of complex shipping logistics associated with packaging requirements and/or irregular shipment sizes. In some cases, retailers that accommodate shipments to Alaska, often have higher shipping costs associated with purchases. This is for several reasons:

Shipping uncertainties involving length and time: It can take longer for a package to reach Alaska. This is due to the remote nature and location of Alaska and the difficulty and complexity of moving goods from the lower 48 to Alaska.

There are several methods for transporting packages to Alaska, and each one comes with its own timeframe. There is no direct rail option to Alaska, all rail terminates in Seattle for barge movement to Alaska which can take up to two weeks to destination, shipping via air can happen overnight, while shipping over the road (using team drivers), can take a few days. Shipping via container ship from the port of Tacoma to the port of Anchorage usually takes about four days.

Retailers who aren’t sure how to get large items to Alaska will often not offer shipping options. They want to mitigate the customer service needs and client expectations because there are a lot of potential unexpected delays when shipping here from the lower 48.

Quoting and costs vary by package sizes and weights: It can be difficult and costly for retailers to properly quote shipping rates to Alaska. This is because shippers often charge by weight and/or cubic size, making it hard to predict how much a package will cost to ship prior to physically receiving the product.

Companies aren’t staffed to offer shipping expertise or knowledge: Retailers hire salespeople and customer service reps to help promote the sale of their products. There are often set procedures on how mailing packages are done. Shipping to Alaska is often an outlier to the flow of these packages because of the expense, the size and weight, and/or the misunderstanding of the state of Alaska.

Despite not being an international location, some retailers will charge international shipping fees to accommodate additional shipping charges to Alaska. The price of this fee is often a breaking point for Alaskans deciding not to make the purchase.

There is also a misunderstanding on if Alaska is part of the continental or contiguous United States.

The Continental United States Vs. the Contiguous United States

There are times when retailers will use terms like “continental” and “contiguous” when talking about their shipping policies. Here’s a breakdown of what those words actually mean:

The Continental United States is a term used to describe the 48 contiguous states, plus Alaska.

The Contiguous United States is a term used to describe the 48 contiguous (contiguous means “side by side”) states.

Continental and the Contiguous United States often get mixed up when Alaskans are talking to retailers about getting items shipped to Alaska. This confusion happens due to the fact that companies aren’t staffed to offer shipping expertise and because they may not have many requests on shipping items to Alaska. Technically, Alaska is a part of the Continental United States, however, some retailers still confuse that with contiguous or apply international shipping fees.

When a retailer says they only ship to the contiguous United States, that means they don’t ship to Alaska (or Hawaii).

Why MyConnect Is a Solution for Mailing Holiday Gifts to Alaska

Carlile MyConnect is the perfect solution for shipping holiday gifts to Alaska – even when your favorite retailer says shipping in Alaska can’t be done!

With MyConnect you get a special Lower 48 shipping address to use for your purchases. This allows retailers to ship your items to Carlile’s Tacoma, WA terminal. Your shipments will then be transported to Alaska so they can be picked up at a Carlile terminal near the recipient.

To break that down, here are the 3 simples steps for having your holiday gifts shipped to Alaska:

  1. You shop like normal, adding the items you want to your cart and checking out as usual.
  2. At checkout, you’ll enter our Tacoma shipping terminal’s information and have your order sent there.
  3. Once your order is shipped to the Carlile Tacoma terminal, it will be transported to the Carlile terminal that you selected in Alaska. Once it has arrived, you can pick it up at your convenience.

At Carlile, we understand the unique challenges associated with shipping to Alaska. We’re here to help make your holiday season a little bit easier (and a lot less stressful!) by offering a solution that gets your gifts where they need to go – without breaking the bank.

Sign up for your Carlile MyConnect account today. We frequently send shipping codes to help you save even more money on shipping costs.

Get started today by visiting our website or contacting our customer support specialists, and see just how easy it is to have items from your favorite retailers like IKEA, PartsGeek, Joss & Main, RockAuto, and Wayfair shipped to Alaska.