5 myths about traveling to Antarctica


“Is it just like snow and stuff?” Sigh, so many myths about traveling to Antarctica.

Yes, that is a direct quote I heard more than once when I told people that it was my dream to visit Antarctica. The last continent. The Great White South. The land of penguins NOT polar bears.

Nothing can compare to the wild and untamed grandeur that is Antarctica. Here vast white mountains drop down to the sea, icebergs the size of islands slowly drift pass your ship and the wind is so strong it can knock you over.

There’s actually a lot to see in Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula — where the majority of tourists go — is a continuation of the Andes Mountains from South America, meaning it’s quite mountainous. Peaks often rise out of the ocean, interspersed by enormous glaciers. It’s one of the most pristine places on Earth, in no small part because it’s mostly untouched by humans.

And yes, you can go on holiday to Antarctica, and yes it’s pretty freaking awesome. And there is more than just snow and stuff. Listen up and let me break down some myths about traveling to Antarctica.

25 photos that will inspire you to visit Antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

Because Antarctica is one of those ultimate adventures, you likely won’t find too many people who have journeyed the very bottom of the world before. Yeah yeah yeah, I can already hear the ones going “well I know so-and-so.” But seriously, most people haven’t been. It’s not Disneyland or Paris. There’s no Tripadvisor here.

It’s never been easier to get the elusive golden ticket down to Antarctica, but that doesn’t mean that myths surrounding this mysterious land aren’t abundant, because they are. And in fact, even down there you’ll hear them repeated a lot. Crack a book, people. Read a blog.

There are no polar bears in Antarctica. Wrong hemisphere. I repeat, there are NO POLAR BEARS IN ANTARCTICA.

So let me take this opportunity to clear up some of the most common misgivings and half-truths I’ve heard and bust some of these myths about traveling to Antarctica. Enjoy!

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

1. It’s too expensive to visit Antarctica

Perhaps one of the biggest myths about going to Antarctica is that it can be mind-blowingly expensive, but there are still ways to make the trip more affordable too.

Alert the press – it’s not as expensive as you think it is. Most trips I’ve seen run for less than $10,000 USD for around two weeks with Intrepid Travel or Peregrine Adventures. And if you’re smart, you can get it a lot cheaper. Whether you’re a penguin fanatic like me, or you want to set eyes on the raw and beautiful landscapes, there’s an Antarctic expedition to suit you.

Yes, that isn’t cheap, I know. But it’s also not unachievable either. And remember that’s all-inclusive – activities, accommodation, food, heaps of adventure. Just not alcohol or any extras.

Because there has been a lot of growth in the tourism industry in Antarctica, prices have come down quite a bit and just with like most travel; there’s quite a bit in between budget and luxury. On my first trip down, I was huddled down in with three other girls in a little bunkbed while a friend who was on another chartered ship had her own suite with a king-size bed and bath! It varies widely.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

If you can be flexible on timing, there are bargains to be had to get a spot on an Antarctica trip, so sign up for emails from a few tour operators and keep an eye out for any specials.

Most trips are released a few years in advance, and often there are sales early. The cheapest tours run for about ten days while longer ones are almost a month-long, like my trip with Intrepid that also included subantarctic islands. If you want my opinion, spend all the money you can on a journey that includes going to South Georgia. 

Your best bet for saving money is to book at least a year in advance, going early or late season. If you have a couple of friends who want to do the trip, a triple-share or quad cabin aboard a research-style vessel can make things a lot cheaper too.

You can also hang around Ushuaia during the summer in Argentina, the port city where most of the Antarctic ships depart from, and often there are deeply discounted last-minute sales to fill the few remaining beds, where you can book in less than a week before for a couple of thousand dollars, even on the priciest trips.

Because it’s so expensive to operate these trips, companies often make sure there are no empty spaces on board.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

2. Antarctica is only for explorers and scientists

Protected by the Antarctic Treaty, since the Cold War Antarctica is preserved as a scientific reserve with freedom of scientific investigation with no military activity permitted on the continent. That’s why most of us only know of Antarctica from the scientific research conducted down there on the various scientific bases.

And it’s true that there are boatloads of scientists and researchers spending extended periods in Antarctica – just under 4,000 in the summer months, dropping to 1200 during the harsh winter months.

But the frozen wonderland and its wildlife is also a huge tourist drawcard, bringing in more than 50,000 visitors each year. But don’t freak out (yet). All reputable operators are members of IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators, which was founded in 1991 to advocate and promote the practice of safe and environmentally responsible travel to the Antarctic.

This means that tourism is HIGHLY regulated there in order to protect and preserve this magnificent place.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

3. It’s way too cold

Before I went to Antarctica in 2018, I fully expected the cold to be unbearable. Sadly, that’s not true. This is another one of those myths about traveling to Antarctica.

While it’s true Antarctica is the coldest place in the world, with the lowest-ever temperature recorded at -89.4ºC, NASA reports. But the tourism cruising season takes place during the Southern Hemisphere summer, between November and March when the sea ice has melted enough to allow landings and access from ships there.

With long hours of daylight during mid-summer, the temperatures can range between a more bearable -2ºC and 8ºC.

On my first day there I was amazed I didn’t even need a parka. It was sunny and warm hiking around on the snow. I had been way colder in Canada in winter. But of course, Antarctica is home to the wildest weather on earth, and sometimes it was so windy it could blow you over, and it snowed often. It varies!

What to pack for a trip to Antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

4. It’s dangerous to visit the white continent

Antarctica’s harsh environment certainly makes travel to the area more challenging, so it’s essential to choose an experienced operator who is a member of IAATO, but in terms of danger, the companies are experts and super skilled to make sure nothing terrible happens. 

Crossing the stretch of ocean between Cape Horn and Antarctica, known as the Drake Passage, can be rough, so if you’re prone to seasickness, prepare yourself. There are even some options to fly across the Drake. I would imagine most accidents on the ships happen from people falling over in rough seas. 

Even though you don’t have to be super-fit to go on a guided Antarctic expedition, but it’s essential to have a right level of mobility. This means being able to remain stable on your feet on sometimes slippery decks and gangways, as well as getting in and out of Zodiacs if you’re going ashore.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

You’re required to have a very high level of travel insurance (I recommend SCTI, and it’s what I use) to go to Antarctica because if a severe accident happens, you’re up a shit creek and the whole trip gets canceled as the ship returns to shore. That’s gonna cost a fortune, so your insurance needs to usually have a medical evacuation cover of over $500,000 dollars. There aren’t any hospitals or rescue choppers for you here.

As for the wildlife, the penguins are harmless but make sure you don’t slip in their abundant poo. Orca and leopard seals are top predators (one even killed a scientist once) but because the ships maintain safe distances from the wildlife and is super on guard, I was never worried even when a few rogue seals chased me, though you definitely don’t want to get bitten by a seal, their mouths are full of bacteria.

And while crime is nonexistent, there are some very fascinating stories of people going batshit crazy; like an Argentinian doctor who once burnt his entire science base down as to not have to stay another winter.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

5. You’re mostly on the ship

Because you can only visit Antarctica on boats (for the most part) and you’re required to sleep and stay on the ship, some people think that it’s more like a cruise or that you’re stuck on board the whole time, which isn’t the case at all. There are no hotels or places to stay in Antarctica apart from the few science bases, but tourists aren’t allowed to stay there. A few companies have the option to let you camp for a night on the ice.

Size matters when it comes to choosing an Antarctic trip, as the number of passengers on your ship will determine how often you get on to terra firma. Choose a smaller vessel for the best experience. Bigger ships aren’t allowed to make landings in Antarctica.

No more than 100 passengers should go ashore at one site at the same time. In some places that is even more restricted. With smaller ships (up to 100 passengers), getting on and off the boat and into Zodiacs or on land is quick and efficient, giving you more time to explore.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

Antarctica is a place that can and will change your life. The myths about traveling to Antarctica have got to go!

Wild and remote where the weather is in charge and nature is at its most abundant, Antarctica is an incredible place. It is worth every penny spent on a voyage there. It can have a profound impact on you and inspire.

And remember, Antarctica is so much more than just snow and stuff. And there aren’t any polar bears.

Any myths you’ve heard about Antarctica? Is this the kind of trip you’d splurge on? Spill!

myths about traveling to antarctica

Many thanks to Intrepid Travel for hosting me in Antarctica – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own – like you can expect less from me!

The post 5 myths about traveling to Antarctica appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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10 ways rifugios in the Dolomites are redefining hut life


I love you New Zealand, I really do. But the Rifugios in the Dolomites are INSANE.

Your quirky charm, your quiet hills, your plethora of sheep. You are a magical country, but I have a confession to make. I’m having a love affair with the Dolomites. Sorry, I’m not sorry!

When I moved to New Zealand, I proudly stated that it was the most beautiful country on earth. I had never seen mountains so tall and cliffs so steep, and I was convinced it was a place that could never be replaced as #1 in my heart, and that remained true until recently when I visited the Heart of the Dolomites.

10 reasons why this unknown corner of the Dolomites is an adventure seeker’s paradise

rifugios in the dolomites

Now, I’m not saying the Dolomites are my new favorite mountains, but I’m also not *not* saying it, ya know?

High alpine passes you can drive to in a car, cheap, delicious wine, creamy gelato, and vibrant Italian locals have been just a few of my favorite things but the thing that has blown me away the most?

The huts.

Errr, wait. Let me rephrase that. Hut is not really the right word to describe these places. Growing up on New Zealand hut life, this is next level.

rifugios in the dolomites

Italian huts in the Dolomites are called Rifugios here, but a more appropriate word might be Mountain Mansion.

If you are planning on doing some multi-day hikes in the Dolomites, you’re really in for a treat, just you wait. These “huts” are more like hotels, and these rifugios in the Dolomites are like houses.

Here are ten reasons why the Italian rifugios in the Dolomites have forever altered my standards for alpine sleeping.


1. The trails to them are pretty easy

Sure, some paths are more challenging to complete than others, but for the most part, you can expect smooth, well-marked trails free of bush-bashing and off-trail navigation in the heart of the Dolomites around the Agordino.

Depending on which rifugio you choose, the trails will either be jam-packed with like-minded hikers or be mostly empty.

Either way, the trails are generally wide and generous allowing you to spend more time looking up at the beauty before you and less time looking down focusing on your footwork; and forget about using your hands.

rifugios in the dolomites

2. OMG, there are showers!

My version of a hut shower is quickly washing my face in an icy mountain stream, but in Italy, you can minimize your stink by having an actual shower at the rifugio. That’s not something you can find at the backcountry New Zealand huts.

Some rifugios offer cold showers, and while some even provide warm showers (which are an extra charge for very little water, but still!) As we arrived at Rifugio Tissi near Alleghe, we saw dozens of people lined up waiting for their well-deserved hot shower. I stayed true to my dirtbag roots and opted out, but it was nice to know that was an option.

How flash is that? Read more about hiking to Rifugio Tissi here.

rifugios in the dolomites

3. Beer, wine and grappa, all day every day

There’s nothing I crave more than an ice-cold beer waiting for me at the top of the mountain. Is there anything better than after a hot and sweaty hike?

I’ve trained myself to patiently wait until the entire trip is done when I can indulge in a feast and a beverage, but in Italy, you don’t have to wait.

Enjoy a well-deserved tipple while taking in the unparalleled views or have a civilized glass of wine with your dinner. Goodbye sack of goon wine, Italy knows how to do hut wine properly.

Rifugios in the Dolomites have treats on tap.

rifugios in the dolomites

4. Espresso all the time too

Listen, I’ve had some desperate times in the mountains, but I rarely, ever, ever go without some form of coffee in the morning.

I’ve tried it all from coffee in tea bags, instant coffee, Aeropress, filter, cowboy coffee; you name it, I’ve tried it.

There is no coffee I’m too good for when it comes to caffeinating in the mountains.

Do I prefer an espresso drink in the mornings? Sure, but most of the time, that is not my reality. In Italy though, it certainly is. Fancy espresso machines at the top of the mountain so you can be adequately caffeinated. Going back to cowboy coffee is going to be hard.

rifugios in the dolomites

5. You don’t need to bring much with you either

As I was preparing for my first rifugio experience, I called my guide in a panic. What exactly do I need to bring?! I don’t have a sleeping bag or a camp stove or cutlery. I didn’t even have food to bring for a snack!

He told me in the most Italian way ever to chill out. It was all taken care of. All I needed to do was to bring a change of clothes and sleeping sheet (which he loaned me), and the rest would be there.

He was right, of course. The food, the drinks, the bedding. It was all part of the rifugio experience.

Was it strange to not have to haul a 20kg pack up the mountain? Yes. Was it the best thing ever? Also yes.

rifugios in the dolomites

6. Italian three-course meals 

My mountain meals usually consist of freeze-dried meals or a poorly executed concoction of couscous and whatever else I can find in my fridge.

Eating during hiking is simply a necessity for me. I never spend too much time or energy into planning tasty meals.

In Italy, though, you have the best of both worlds. Rifugios offer three-course meals complete with pasta, salad, polenta, dessert, and of course, wine. Going to bed with a stomach full of delicious food was a serious game-changer, especially since I didn’t even need to carry any of it with me.

rifugios in the dolomites

7. And of course, there’s wifi available

Ok, I’ll be honest, one of my favorite parts of going to the mountains is getting away from normal life far from emails and social media and the demands of work. But rifugios in the Dolomites are fancy!

In New Zealand, there’s simply no way to stay connected in the backcountry which is a perk I’ve come to relish in the past few years. Not only is there no wifi, but there is also no power, electricity or phone reception either.

It’s awesome!

rifugios in the dolomites

When we arrived at our first rifugio in the Dolomites, I was shocked to see the wifi name and password hanging on the wall. What the hell?!

But, as much as I love being in the mountains and taking time just to appreciate the view, I can see the perk of having wifi.

Need to let your loved ones know you’re alive and well? Easy. Need a distraction because everyone around you is involved in a heated conversation entirely in Italian, which you do not understand? Hello Instagram. Use the wifi when you need it but don’t forget to put the phone down for a bit and stare at the beauty in front of you too, ok?

rifugios in the dolomites

8. With wifi, there must be electricity

The last time I went to a hut and didn’t take a head torch was never.

It’s never happened. I know that as soon as the sun is gone, I’m going to need a head torch to show me where the bathroom is. But in Italy? No problem.

The rifugios have electricity and keep it accessible until about 10 pm when everyone goes to bed. If you’ve spent all of your phone battery taking photos of the fantastic scenery, you can also recharge but be prepared: finding a free socket is a bit of a mission.

rifugios in the dolomites

9. Flip flops for all

Do you know that feeling of wanting to kick off your shoes as soon as you arrive at your destination? It’s a fantastic feeling, but when I’m hiking to a hut, I usually ignore it.

I’m prepared to keep my shoes on in case I need to go outside to take photos or go to the bathroom. In Italian rifugios, they provide flip flops (which they adorably call “slippers”), so you can kick off your shoes immediately and walk around as needed. Bliss!

So refined!

rifugios in the dolomites

10. Next-level views everywhere

Rifugios in the Dolomites are adorable and amazing and offer all of the amenities you could ask for in a mountain hut. But by far, the thing that makes them stand out is the fact that they are perched in the heart of some of the most stunning mountains on the planet.

Implausibly perched on top of cliffs or tucked away into quiet valleys, it’s hard to imagine the scale of the work that went into building them.

Basking in the glory of the famous Dolomites makes every other problem in your life seem small and insignificant, and for a moment, all that matters is the beauty in front of you. (And the wine waiting for you at the table).

Have you ever seen mountain huts like these? Have you been to a rifugio before in Italy? Spill!

rifugios in the dolomites

Many thanks to the Heart of the Dolomites for hosting me in Italy – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own like you could expect less from me!

The post 10 ways rifugios in the Dolomites are redefining hut life appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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5 ways to land a free flight upgrade next time you travel


This is something I get asked about ALL THE TIME (especially on my Instagram). Liz, how are you always flying in business class? How did you nab that flight upgrade? You must be rich.

Well let me tell you, I’m not.

The past few years, I switched from being miserable cramped up in coach to stretching out and enjoying all of the comforts of flying premium WITHOUT paying full fares. Yes, you read that right. I almost always fly in business or first class but I only pay for economy fares, if at all.

And it only took me 10 years to learn how. Show me the champagne. Let me spill all the tea.

Tips for surviving long-haul flights from a professional flyer who hates flying


It’s totally possible to fly premium without paying premium fares if you know how to hack the system. A flight upgrade is totally possible if you know how the system works.

Sure there are always the same tips flying around about how upgrades work, like getting to the airport early or flying alone or offering to take the next flight if yours is overbooked, but honestly, those aren’t concrete tips. Sure they might work here and there, but not regularly. You just have to get really really lucky.

I’ve found it’s a perfect storm of a few things to be able to get that very expensive upgrade without shelling out thousands of dollars. Follow along as I share below.

1. Ask and you shall receive but don’t be thirsty

Long gone are the days of random, spontaneous upgrades, that almost never happens anymore. A flight upgrade got a lot harder to get.

Airlines have tightened up the purse strings considerably for upgrades, and you’ve gotta play their dance if you want a cozy seat that makes you smile instead of cry.

I can tell you just by asking about upgrades is the first start.

Your chances of getting upgraded move up considerably by just asking.

No one is just gonna give you an upgrade just because they feel like it – don’t act entitled at all.

Have you ever met a flight attendant before? They’re busy and overworked and see whiney travelers every second of every day. They don’t give a shit about you or your desire for an upgrade, and they sure as hell aren’t just gonna hand them out like candy.

And be careful how you ask too. No one likes anyone asking for free upgrades. It’s so annoying.

Use sentences like “are there any opportunities for upgrades on this flight” or “are there upgrades available?” to show that you’re serious and might even buy one (which you should consider – see #4). Often there are upgrades at check-in at drastically reduced prices.

I’ve often paid a couple hundred bucks at the check-in counter for a long haul flight upgrade (that’s usually $4,000), and a few times they even just gave it to me for free for asking nicely. Boom

flight upgrade
2. Dress the part – don’t look like a hobo

Look like a business traveler and act like a business traveler is key to getting an upgrade.

Often airlines still have a dress code to access lounges, and if you don’t look the part, your chance of an upgrade goes out the window.

You’ve often got to fit into their mold of what an affluent, business traveler would look like and your Uggs, Lululemon leggings while wearing a neck pillow with shitty attitude from long travel days doesn’t cut it.

Look professional, act professional, and it goes a long way.

flight upgrade

3. Build loyalty with an airline

From my experience, you have a much better chance of getting upgraded with you already have loyalty with an airline. As soon as you have status with an airline in terms of mileage, they almost immediately begin treating you better. They want to look after their premium customers first.

Obviously this means booking most of your flights with the same airline or same alliance network.

If your flight is overbooked, the top ranking status fliers are generally the first people who get bumped up a class to make room. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been bumped up at the gate on an Emirates flight from Auckland to Dubai because the economy cabin is full. Usually it’s right at the gate when they swipe my boarding pass and it goes “beep beep” and flashes read, only then to have flight attendant rip it up and hand me a business class ticket.

Trust me, it feels so GOOD!

4. Keep an eye out for last-minute upgrade options 

Often I get an email a few days before a flight offering a very cheap offer to upgrade which I often take depending on the trip. Usually it reads something like “book now for $400 and you can upgrade with this special offer into business class.”

Normally on my long-haul flights from New Zealand, the difference between an economy fare and a business class fare is around $3,000 – $4,000 this is quite a deal!

Some airlines, like Air New Zealand, let you bid on upgrades in advance, so you can put in how much you would pay for an upgrade in a cabin class and depending on other bids and the flight, you might get it!

Often I’ve found the cost of an upgrade might even equal out what I would pay in extra baggage, seat select, food, lounges and internet anyways, so I might as well pay for an upgrade and get all of that anyways.

flight upgrade
5. Use your miles, points and dollars strategically

Many of my upgrades come from strategically cashing in my miles I’ve saved, often from credit cards I use – worth it!

Nowadays since I’m no longer flat out broke, I generally book all my flights with either Emirates or Air New Zealand, the two airlines most relevant to me and the ones I both love the most and use the most. I strategically rack up my miles, often buying the most expensive economy fares knowing I am getting a lot more miles out of it.

And then I use my miles to upgrade cabin classes when I really need them.

How to fly for free (for real!) using credit card points

I’m also super on top of when my airlines are running deals like double miles or bonus miles on certain dates and I certainly take advantage. And trust me, when you’re on hour 8 of a 17 hour flight, you want to be sprawled out in business class in custom pajamas with endless champagne than cramped up in economy.

You gotta be in the game if you want those upgrades. Are you?

Have you ever been upgraded on a flight? Do you have any upgrade hacks while flying? Share

flight upgrade

The post 5 ways to land a free flight upgrade next time you travel appeared first on Young Adventuress.





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5 myths about traveling to Antarctica


“Is it just like snow and stuff?” Sigh, so many myths about traveling to Antarctica.

Yes, that is a direct quote I heard more than once when I told people that it was my dream to visit Antarctica. The last continent. The Great White South. The land of penguins NOT polar bears.

Nothing can compare to the wild and untamed grandeur that is Antarctica. Here vast white mountains drop down to the sea, icebergs the size of islands slowly drift pass your ship and the wind is so strong it can knock you over.

There’s actually a lot to see in Antarctica. The Antarctic Peninsula — where the majority of tourists go — is a continuation of the Andes Mountains from South America, meaning it’s quite mountainous. Peaks often rise out of the ocean, interspersed by enormous glaciers. It’s one of the most pristine places on Earth, in no small part because it’s mostly untouched by humans.

And yes, you can go on holiday to Antarctica, and yes it’s pretty freaking awesome. And there is more than just snow and stuff. Listen up and let me break down some myths about traveling to Antarctica.

25 photos that will inspire you to visit Antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

Because Antarctica is one of those ultimate adventures, you likely won’t find too many people who have journeyed the very bottom of the world before. Yeah yeah yeah, I can already hear the ones going “well I know so-and-so.” But seriously, most people haven’t been. It’s not Disneyland or Paris. There’s no Tripadvisor here.

It’s never been easier to get the elusive golden ticket down to Antarctica, but that doesn’t mean that myths surrounding this mysterious land aren’t abundant, because they are. And in fact, even down there you’ll hear them repeated a lot. Crack a book, people. Read a blog.

There are no polar bears in Antarctica. Wrong hemisphere. I repeat, there are NO POLAR BEARS IN ANTARCTICA.

So let me take this opportunity to clear up some of the most common misgivings and half-truths I’ve heard and bust some of these myths about traveling to Antarctica. Enjoy!

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

1. It’s too expensive to visit Antarctica

Perhaps one of the biggest myths about going to Antarctica is that it can be mind-blowingly expensive, but there are still ways to make the trip more affordable too.

Alert the press – it’s not as expensive as you think it is. Most trips I’ve seen run for less than $10,000 USD for around two weeks with Intrepid Travel or Peregrine Adventures. And if you’re smart, you can get it a lot cheaper. Whether you’re a penguin fanatic like me, or you want to set eyes on the raw and beautiful landscapes, there’s an Antarctic expedition to suit you.

Yes, that isn’t cheap, I know. But it’s also not unachievable either. And remember that’s all-inclusive – activities, accommodation, food, heaps of adventure. Just not alcohol or any extras.

Because there has been a lot of growth in the tourism industry in Antarctica, prices have come down quite a bit and just with like most travel; there’s quite a bit in between budget and luxury. On my first trip down, I was huddled down in with three other girls in a little bunkbed while a friend who was on another chartered ship had her own suite with a king-size bed and bath! It varies widely.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

If you can be flexible on timing, there are bargains to be had to get a spot on an Antarctica trip, so sign up for emails from a few tour operators and keep an eye out for any specials.

Most trips are released a few years in advance, and often there are sales early. The cheapest tours run for about ten days while longer ones are almost a month-long, like my trip with Intrepid that also included subantarctic islands. If you want my opinion, spend all the money you can on a journey that includes going to South Georgia. 

Your best bet for saving money is to book at least a year in advance, going early or late season. If you have a couple of friends who want to do the trip, a triple-share or quad cabin aboard a research-style vessel can make things a lot cheaper too.

You can also hang around Ushuaia during the summer in Argentina, the port city where most of the Antarctic ships depart from, and often there are deeply discounted last-minute sales to fill the few remaining beds, where you can book in less than a week before for a couple of thousand dollars, even on the priciest trips.

Because it’s so expensive to operate these trips, companies often make sure there are no empty spaces on board.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

2. Antarctica is only for explorers and scientists

Protected by the Antarctic Treaty, since the Cold War Antarctica is preserved as a scientific reserve with freedom of scientific investigation with no military activity permitted on the continent. That’s why most of us only know of Antarctica from the scientific research conducted down there on the various scientific bases.

And it’s true that there are boatloads of scientists and researchers spending extended periods in Antarctica – just under 4,000 in the summer months, dropping to 1200 during the harsh winter months.

But the frozen wonderland and its wildlife is also a huge tourist drawcard, bringing in more than 50,000 visitors each year. But don’t freak out (yet). All reputable operators are members of IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators, which was founded in 1991 to advocate and promote the practice of safe and environmentally responsible travel to the Antarctic.

This means that tourism is HIGHLY regulated there in order to protect and preserve this magnificent place.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

3. It’s way too cold

Before I went to Antarctica in 2018, I fully expected the cold to be unbearable. Sadly, that’s not true. This is another one of those myths about traveling to Antarctica.

While it’s true Antarctica is the coldest place in the world, with the lowest-ever temperature recorded at -89.4ºC, NASA reports. But the tourism cruising season takes place during the Southern Hemisphere summer, between November and March when the sea ice has melted enough to allow landings and access from ships there.

With long hours of daylight during mid-summer, the temperatures can range between a more bearable -2ºC and 8ºC.

On my first day there I was amazed I didn’t even need a parka. It was sunny and warm hiking around on the snow. I had been way colder in Canada in winter. But of course, Antarctica is home to the wildest weather on earth, and sometimes it was so windy it could blow you over, and it snowed often. It varies!

What to pack for a trip to Antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

4. It’s dangerous to visit the white continent

Antarctica’s harsh environment certainly makes travel to the area more challenging, so it’s essential to choose an experienced operator who is a member of IAATO, but in terms of danger, the companies are experts and super skilled to make sure nothing terrible happens. 

Crossing the stretch of ocean between Cape Horn and Antarctica, known as the Drake Passage, can be rough, so if you’re prone to seasickness, prepare yourself. There are even some options to fly across the Drake. I would imagine most accidents on the ships happen from people falling over in rough seas. 

Even though you don’t have to be super-fit to go on a guided Antarctic expedition, but it’s essential to have a right level of mobility. This means being able to remain stable on your feet on sometimes slippery decks and gangways, as well as getting in and out of Zodiacs if you’re going ashore.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

You’re required to have a very high level of travel insurance (I recommend SCTI, and it’s what I use) to go to Antarctica because if a severe accident happens, you’re up a shit creek and the whole trip gets canceled as the ship returns to shore. That’s gonna cost a fortune, so your insurance needs to usually have a medical evacuation cover of over $500,000 dollars. There aren’t any hospitals or rescue choppers for you here.

As for the wildlife, the penguins are harmless but make sure you don’t slip in their abundant poo. Orca and leopard seals are top predators (one even killed a scientist once) but because the ships maintain safe distances from the wildlife and is super on guard, I was never worried even when a few rogue seals chased me, though you definitely don’t want to get bitten by a seal, their mouths are full of bacteria.

And while crime is nonexistent, there are some very fascinating stories of people going batshit crazy; like an Argentinian doctor who once burnt his entire science base down as to not have to stay another winter.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

5. You’re mostly on the ship

Because you can only visit Antarctica on boats (for the most part) and you’re required to sleep and stay on the ship, some people think that it’s more like a cruise or that you’re stuck on board the whole time, which isn’t the case at all. There are no hotels or places to stay in Antarctica apart from the few science bases, but tourists aren’t allowed to stay there. A few companies have the option to let you camp for a night on the ice.

Size matters when it comes to choosing an Antarctic trip, as the number of passengers on your ship will determine how often you get on to terra firma. Choose a smaller vessel for the best experience. Bigger ships aren’t allowed to make landings in Antarctica.

No more than 100 passengers should go ashore at one site at the same time. In some places that is even more restricted. With smaller ships (up to 100 passengers), getting on and off the boat and into Zodiacs or on land is quick and efficient, giving you more time to explore.

myths about traveling to antarctica

myths about traveling to antarctica

Antarctica is a place that can and will change your life. The myths about traveling to Antarctica have got to go!

Wild and remote where the weather is in charge and nature is at its most abundant, Antarctica is an incredible place. It is worth every penny spent on a voyage there. It can have a profound impact on you and inspire.

And remember, Antarctica is so much more than just snow and stuff. And there aren’t any polar bears.

Any myths you’ve heard about Antarctica? Is this the kind of trip you’d splurge on? Spill!

myths about traveling to antarctica

Many thanks to Intrepid Travel for hosting me in Antarctica – like always I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own – like you can expect less from me!

The post 5 myths about traveling to Antarctica appeared first on Young Adventuress.



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First Trimester Bumpdate


Michael and I are expecting our first child! And now that the secret is out, I’ll be sharing the occasional “bumpdate” here on CWS to document my pregnancy. If you haven’t already, click here to check out my announcement post! 🙂 *affiliate link

My First Bumpdate: First Trimester

I have been waiting for this time in my life for a very, very long time. I have always felt called to be a mother, so whatever I experience throughout this time, I will be thankful for.

FIRST SYMPTOMS:

As I shared in my announcement post, I found out I was pregnant at 8 DPO which was 6 days before my missed period. I found out very early! I only had one symptom before my BFP (big fat positive) and that was being extremely winded/dizzy. I have always been really in tune with my body so I definitely took notice of the more extreme windedness. I took a test that same day and it was positive. I was 3 weeks and a few days then. 

I did also have really bad hormonal acne before testing but adult acne is something I struggle with regularly, so I didn’t think of it much as a symptom then.

SYMPTOMS BY WEEKS:

WEEK 4:

  • Sore boobs – Oh my gosh. A couple of days after my first positive test, my boobs started to be so sore. This carried on consistently through week 10.
  • Fatigue – Just plain exhausted like never before.
  • Acne – I had the worst acne all around my chin area. It was not fun!

WEEKS 5 – 6:

  • Getting tired quickly
  • Bloating – I was pretty much bloated throughout my entire first trimester. 
  • Frequent peeing – And to think the baby isn’t kicking my bladder yet… oh gosh! lol
  • Nausea (occasional to severe) – Week 5 was when nausea started to creep in. It actually started on my trip to NYC for work (photo below) and I was really hoping it wouldn’t. I took a bus into the city and the trip was 2+ hours longer than it should’ve been and I felt so bleh. I couldn’t even make it through the entire conference that Saturday because I was nauseous. It was not an enjoyable trip at all but I survived!
    • That following week (week 6), the nausea was absolutely awful. I could barely leave my bed that entire week.

WEEKS 7 – 8:

  • Consistent nausea – Nausea continued. I’d have a day where it wouldn’t be so bad but the next, it was right back to awful.
  • Dizziness – Just plain dizzy if I got up too fast.
  • Lower back pain – Everything starting to stretch inside!
  • Morning sickness – After weeks of dealing with nausea, I started to get sick here and there in the mornings. At this point, I could count on 1 hand the number of times I vomited.

My First Bumpdate: First Trimester

WEEKS 9 – 10:

  • Occasional bad headache – I had one terrible headache week 9 and it made me sick to my stomach.
  • Morning sickness more consistent
  • Nausea on and off – My mother-in-law got me Sea-Bands* to try and they worked for me! I had put off trying them for weeks but they actually help a lot.
  • Excessive saliva
  • Lower back pain
  • Mood swings – (poor Michael lol)
  • Tailbone discomfort 

WEEKS 11 – 13:

  • A couple of headaches each week – This was when I caved and started taking Tylenol when a headache would happen. Tylenol is safe to take when pregnant but I am typically someone who avoids taking anything.
  • Hot flashes – I’m naturally a warmer person so I’m always warm but these weeks I started to have more times where I felt flushed and hot!
  • Morning sickness – Ironically, I didn’t vomit much the first half or so of my first trimester. It wasn’t until the closing weeks that I started to get sick once every morning when I’d wake up. I tried the saltines before getting out of bed thing but it didn’t work for me. After the morning, 98% of the time I wouldn’t get sick the rest of the day (aside from occasional nausea).
  • Back & lower back pain

My First Bumpdate: First Trimester

CRAVINGS:

I haven’t had ONE huge craving yet but I definitely have gone through a couple of different phases of cravings. The first half of my first trimester, I didn’t have any cravings at all. Instead, it was more about figuring out what my body would allow me to eat. I ate a lot of breakfast food, fruit, and yogurt. Egg & cheese on a croissant from Dunkin or McDonald’s egg & cheese on a biscuit were my saviors in the mornings.

The last few weeks of my first trimester, I started to get more of a taste for things back which was so great! I am still drinking coffee but I have cut back on my intake a ton. I don’t even drink coffee every day anymore. When I do drink coffee, it has to be iced! 

AVERSIONS:

I am not someone who has a weak stomach at all, so experiencing aversions was really new to me. Sadly, I had huge aversions to pasta and cheese. Like… my favorite foods. It was so sad! I didn’t eat mac n cheese for almost 2 months, haha.

The smells of meat when being booked would gag me sometimes, so I really only ate chicken my first trimester.

WEIGHT GAIN:

I didn’t gain anything during the first trimester. My weight ranges between 2-3lbs, depending on the time of day.

WORKING OUT:

The first trimester was really rough so working out was not an option for me. I did do some deep stretches when I was feeling up to it. For the most part, I was either too nauseous or exhausted to work out. I’m hoping this changes because I really want to do my best to stay healthy and stay in shape.

BODY CHANGES:

As I mentioned before, my boobs have definitely gotten bigger. I’m not complaining. I have always been quite small-chested so I’m enjoying being a bit fuller, haha. As far as a baby bump, there aren’t any signs of one yet. I have noticed my stomach becoming softer and more relaxed but I think I’m mostly still just experiencing bloating.

FAVORITE APPS:

Pregnancy apps have been my BFFs throughout my pregnancy so far. I love The Bump, BabyCenter, and Pregnancy+ to read about my baby’s growth and about how my body is changing. My favorite app by far is Glow Nurture! I used the Glow app to track my cycle before and during when we were trying to conceive and I had the best experience with it. I was so glad to see they had Glow Nurture for your pregnancy journey. There are discussion groups which can be helpful but I really love the daily logs to track everything day by day. 🙂

First Pregnancy Announcement

I think I remembered all of the big stuff! If you have any questions that weren’t answered, let me know in the comments. 🙂 So excited to share this journey with you!

Let’s connect! >> Facebook | Instagram Twitter Pinterest

The post First Trimester Bumpdate appeared first on Coffee With Summer.





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