There are some destinations in the world that present us with a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness something truly magnificent. Antarctica is one such destination. You may wonder why should you go to Antarctica, or why it is the pinnacle of many travelers bucket lists? Antarctica is one of the last true uninhabited wilderness in the world – it is a land of pristine beauty; of unparalleled majesty and magnitude. Where else in the world could you sail past colossal icebergs as tall as buildings, or stand mere feet away from thousands of Gentoo Penguins with their young?
Antarctica defies our imagination and anyone who has traveled to the white continent can count themselves as exceedingly lucky. If you are considering your own expedition to the depths of the southern hemisphere you will need to prepare, and you will need to know how to go to Antarctica – it is not a straightforward journey! This article will help you in your preparation and shed some light on what you can expect from a trip to Antarctica.
1. Clothing will make or break your journey
This might sound like a drastic statement but it is no lie! The weather in Antarctica can be unforgiving and if you are unprepared you may not enjoy the experience as much as you could. It is important to purchase quality clothing and prepare for the worst case scenario weather. You will need a base layer (thermal leggings, top, and socks), a middle layer (waterproof trousers and a fleece), and a top layer (hat, expedition parka, and gloves). Always wear your thermal layer, and only remove the top layer if you become to warm (It can be hot in Antarctica too!).
2. Take sea-sickness tablets for the Drakes Passage
Most Antarctic journeys will involve a 2 day crossing along the legendary Drakes Passage. This is the stretch of water between the southern tip of South America and the South Shetland Islands of the Antarctic Peninsula.
You may have heard stories of the ferociousness and unforgiving nature of this sea and do not be fooled – sailing across this passage can be a nightmare. Imagine waves as high as the small boat you are sailing in throwing the vessel around and causing rocking motions that feel like an earthquake. Even if you do not suffer from sea-sickness it is advisable to take some tablets beforehand – even the hardiest of travelers can succumb to the wild nature of the Drakes Passage.
3. Opt for a shared cabin to reduce costs
There is no denying that traveling to Antarctica is expensive. First, you have to travel to a far off destination like Ushuaia – these flights are usually not cheap and involve multiple changeovers. Next, there is the cost of the cruise itself which is again pricey. To help reduce the over cost of an Antarctic tour it is highly recommended to opt for the largest sharing cabin you can. A quad occupancy cabin is usually the cheapest and can be half the price of a dual occupancy for example. Aside from the reduced cost, this is also a great way to meet like-minded travelers!
4. Book flights separately for flexibility and to further reduce costs
Most Antarctica tour providers will give the option of booking flights as part of your package. Whilst this might seem tempting and convenient, there is no guarantee that you are getting the best price. Furthermore, this doesn’t leave any room for flexibility. If your starting point is Ushuaia for example, you may want to spend several days here to explore Patagonia – booking your own flights will ensure that you can comfortably do this and also save you some cash in the process.