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After reading some of my latest posts about traveling to Antarctica, your vision for your trip to Antarctica is hopefully starting to come together, I want to give you some pre-departure tips so you can get the details in order.

Antarctica Trip Questions FAQ:  When to arrive to the departure Port.

We strongly recommend that you arrive in Ushuaia/ Punta Arenas a day or two before embarkation to have some additional time in case of flight delays and lost luggage. There is plenty to see and to explore in this cities before your Cruise departure.

Antarctica trip Questions FAQ: Passport & Visa.

Make sure your passport has at least six months’ validity from the date of your return flight home. While there are no visa requirements for visiting Antarctica, there may be visa requirements for certain nationalities traveling through other countries en route to Antarctica (Chile and Argentina are the most popular).
Depending on your citizenship you may need a visa for Argentina or Chile, check with the nearest embassy for more information.

Antarctica trip Questions FAQ: Packing for your Antarctic expedition.

Clothing

Although Antarctica is cold, it’s not as cold as many believe (especially in the summer months). Also, you will be walking a lot, which can help generate heat. Based on both cold and possibly warmer temperatures, my advice is to take warm, wind and waterproof clothes with you during the expedition.

The secret to keeping warm during an expedition is the “layer principle”.  Multiple layers of medium-warmth clothing provide more insulation than a single heavier article – this is due to warm air getting trapped in between the layers, acting as further insulation. 

Layers also give you flexibility in your ability to control your temperature as you can take off a layer if you are too warm or put another layer on if you are cold.

The most important layer is the outer waterproof and windproof shell .Look for clothing made of wool, silk and new synthetic fibres, all of which retain heat better than other materials.

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Accessories

• Sunglasses, as there are some gorgeous, sunny days
• Goggles (this is of course a necessity if you’d like to ski, but anyone can benefit from bringing a pair of goggles. They’re handy to have in your backpack if it begins to snow heavily during a hike)
• Electrical converter with adaptor plug
• Binoculars, for all the wildlife and stunning scenery
• Leak-proof water bottle for hiking
• Journal + pens

Toiletries and other related products
• Sunscreen, do not assume that sunscreen is not needed, just because it’s a colder climate. The sun still shines bright and the UV rays are strong, so it’s important to protect your face and other exposed areas
• Cream, as the air is fairly dry
• If you tend to get seasick, some medication to combat this + all personal medication
• Lip chap, once again the wind and dry weather can cause your lips to crack. Due to the sun exposure, a lip chap with SPF 15 is recommended
• Small, personal medical kit

Equipment
• A camera, you’re going to see some of the most breathtaking views and experience some incredible encounters with wildlife
• A waterproof bag for your camera and lenses
• An extra memory stick for your camera
• If your camera uses film, please bring extra

Antarctica trip Questions FAQ: Insurance for Antarctica?

Just like any overseas vacation, you’ll need to take out insurance for your Antarctic voyage. Whichever insurance you choose to go with, ensure you have a comprehensive policy that covers emergency evacuation from Antarctica.

Because of Antarctica’s remote location and the expense of getting someone to a medical facility, every Antarctica operator requires you to be covered for emergency evacuation insurance. All vessel companies require you to have insurance that covers air lift evacuation in case of a medical emergency, without this they will refuse you on board.

Most Antarctica operators will require you to have emergency evacuation, repatriation and medical cover up to US$200,000.

Antarctica trip Questions FAQ: How fit do I need to be to join one of these expedition cruises?.

The trip does not need to be physically demanding. You may opt out of the shore excursions and choose instead to view the wildlife and landscape from the deck. On shore, most vessels offer at least one easy walk that allows participants to experience the destination without going far from the landing site.

That said, you are required to have a good general health and physically capable of performing normal on board and ashore activities, which may require moderate exertion, with a high degree of self-sufficiency. Please note that you will also have to get up and down the steep gangway to board the zodiacs and the onboard stairs between decks

The range of age in general may range from children to seniors, with most travelers aged 30s-60s. Some vessels do not permit children under age 12 and families should not expect many children on any of the departures.

Antarctica trip Questions FAQ: Are Antarctica trips suitable for kids?

Some vessels have minimum age requirements ranging from 6 to 12. Other vessels leave it up to the parents to decide whether or not the cruise would be appropriate.

Do your children love animals? The dramatic landscapes and unique wildlife can be fascinating for children. The local wildlife will be everywhere. So there is plenty of activities to keep your children engaged during the trip. nearly every day they will have the opportunity to jump onto land and explore amongst the ice and snow!

However, the long voyages at sea can become tiresome for even the most hearty child traveler and I must warn you- when the ship is travelling through Drake’s Passage, some levels of seasickness is common.

At this point, you either can’t wait to keep planning your own trip to Antarctica, or are thinking about the possibility of working with a company like ours — or another of the excellent companies out there — to bring your trip to reality!

In my next post I’m going to tell you more about some amazing trips you can add on your pre and post Cruise, to maximiza the value of your Antarctica Cruise. 

Clara Barciela
Co Founder – Across Argentina and South America

P.S. Have you already got some ideas in mind for your trip? Just fill in a few details here and we can start bringing your adventure into focus.

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