Traveling to Antarctica – What You Need to Know
A trip to Antarctica may be the exotic vacation you never knew you needed. It is unlike any other place on earth and it has a variety of animals you won’t see anywhere else. But before you and your traveling companions pack your bags, you need to know a few things about this frigid southern locale.
Prepare for the Weather and the Trip By Getting In Shape
You probably already know that the destination will be a cold one, but you should prepare for a cold trip as well. The temperature on the boat will be extremely cold even within hundreds of miles of Antarctica.
Your first step is to get into amazing shape. People that travel the beautiful and treacherous land of Antarctica know all too well that if you arrive out of shape, you will have some serious problems. You need to be lean and mean. When I first came, I found it extremely important to get myself into a great fitness routine and make sure my diet was setup correctly. I took Garcinia Cambogia pretty regularly and it helped me drop a lot of bodyfat that would have killed me during this expedition. Granted extra bodyfat will keep you warmer, but it will also make you slower and more out of breath when you need to run and get out of a tight spot. My wife also took the same exact supplement, (more information here) and she saw great results that helped her lose an extra unwanted 15 pounds prior to making our most recent trip.
The tourist season for the area peaks from November to March, which are considered the summer months for the southern hemisphere. During this time the temperature is its warmest, but it’s still cold enough to support a polar climate. If you try to go during the off season, on the hopes that you won’t run into other visitors, you may be disappointed by the wildlife you find there. Most of them will have left for warmer waters during the colder months. Again, just to highlight the importance of fitness, you absolutely MUST train hard before coming here to help your body get acclimated to the extreme amount of abuse it will take during your trip.
You will also want to plan your budget accordingly. Because Antarctica is out of the way of other major travel routes, making a trip there can be quite expensive. Some vessels will allow you to work for a portion of your payment, but you may not enjoy your “vacation” much then.
There’s a reason I mentioned travelling together with friends in the introduction. By travelling together, you can reduce your overall travel expenses and make the trip somewhat more affordable. If you can get a large enough group together, you may be entitled to a group discount.
Respect the Environment
You’ve likely heard the song lyrics “Take nothing but pictures… leave nothing but footprints.” It holds especially true for Antarctica, a relatively untouched corner of the globe. Most of what is manmade on the continent holds historical value- huts, research stations, memorials. You’ll have to leave these untouched if you want to stay in your tour guide’s good graces.
You should also keep in mind that the wildlife in the area does not have a lot of interaction with humans. The researchers and explorers on the continent tend to pick up after themselves and keep the place clean. If you leave wrappers and materials behind as you journey, you will be damaging the environment these animals live in and possibly endangering them as well. Remember to appreciate the beauty of the place without tarnishing it.
Know What to Expect
A trip to Antarctica is actually a possibility for anyone, no matter their health. You don’t have to take a boat, and you don’t have to go ashore. There are plenty of fly-over options available if you want them. Or you could have a plane take you directly one of the research bases and not have to endure the cold boat travel.
For those who want to travel onto the mainland, know that the conditions are very harsh there. Visitors are always accompanied by guides and trips onto the maintain are very brief, lasting for no more than a few hours. So while you won’t have to bring a tent to pitch on the ice, you will need to be prepared for short visits. That means, you’ll need to make the most of your time there.
If there are particular animals you want to see, talk to your guide ahead of time to ensure you’ll have a chance to see them. During the right times of the year you could see baby penguins hatch or see whales just off the coast.
You’ll also want to dress and pack accordingly. For trips to extreme weather conditions, it is always advisable to talk to your physician to see what preparations you need to make. Be sure to bring more layers than you think you’ll need. You can always take off what you don’t require.
Consider the areas you will be traversing and make sure your shoes are designed for that kind of terrain. You will want high quality snow shoes, and you may need to bring protection for your feet if you callous easily.
And most of all remember to enjoy the trip. Most people never even see Antarctica for themselves, so be sure you give yourself time to enjoy it while you are there and bring a backup camera in case something happens to the first one. You won’t want to miss out on reliving those memories.