Overview of our West Coast road trip / Alaskan cruise adventure!

Hi everyone!

A few days ago Tim and I started our west coast road trip, beginning in San Francisco, CA. This is where we began what will be a 16 day trip up the Pacific Coast to Vancouver, Canada, including a cruise of the southern Alaskan coast.


Time frame: 16 days sounds like it would use a lot of vacation time from work, but we leveraged 6 weekend days, and took 9 vacation times total (out of 15 I get each year), and were able to use a holiday (4th of July) in the middle of the trip as well.

Picking our course:

We started by mapping out what the course would look from San Francisco up the coast to Seattle over the time span of one week. What we developed was the itinerary shown below taking us from San Francisco to Vancouver. We realized we’d have time to add that spot in and had heard awesome things about the city. We also always wanted to go to Alaska because neither of us have ever been, and when we saw we could find some decently affordable cruises from Seattle and Vancouver, we decided to add that to our trip, rounding out the second week of our vacation.


Friday: San Francisco, CA

Saturday: Sonoma Valley, CA

Sunday: Redwood National Forest and Arcata, CA

Monday: Crater Lake, OR

Tuesday: Portland, OR

Wednesday: Seattle, WA

Thursday/Friday: Vancouver, BC Canada

Saturday: Back to Seattle where we catch our cruise to Alaska

Sunday: At sea

Monday: Ketchikan, AK

Tuesday: Juneau, AK and Sawyer Glacier

Wednesday: Skagway, AK

Thursday: At sea

Friday: Victoria, BC Canada

Saturday: Seattle, WA

Sunday: Return back to Madison, WI (home)


We are staying at a combination of friends’ places, hotels using Marriott points we earn from our business travels (we both travel a lot for work), and cabins, apartments and condos rented on Airbnb.com. Altogether we are spending about $450 in hotel/Airbnb costs, 120,000 Marriott points,  $2,160 for the cruise, and about $1,000 for excursions added to the cruise. We budgeted about $100/day in food/drink/other.  We rented a one-way rental car for the first week from San Francisco to Seattle at about $700 for the week.

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