8 Need To Know Tips For Visiting Antarctica

Antarctica is on the bucket list of most aspiring travellers. The White Continent has a fearsome reputation as the coldest, driest, and windiest region on earth. Despite this, countless cruises visit this breathtaking land each summer. Regardless if you are young or old, an Antarctic cruise has something for everyone. Wildlife and photography lovers will be particularly thrilled! So, to help you prepare fully for your Antarctic adventure, I have written my top 8 tips for visiting Antarctica for an epic trip. 

tips for visiting Antarctica,Akademik Sergey Vavilov cruise ship in the Lemaire Channel
Akademik Sergey Vavilov cruise ship in the Lemaire Channel

8 Must-Know Tips for Visiting Antarctica

Book Early

There’s a rumour of tips for visiting Antarctica going around that suggests that booking a last minute cruise to Antarctica is the cheapest way to go. This is largely untrue as the real price gems come from booking way in advance. When I say way in advance, I mean 1-2 years! This will guarantee the early bird prices that won’t be beaten.

Save Your Pennies And Book A Research Vessel

There are three options when it comes to Antarctica cruise ship options; research vessels, expedition vessels, and luxury vessels. Although research-style ships have less space and less facilities, their rugged outfitting actually makes the trip feel more like an adventure! They’re also far cheaper than the other two options. 

Buy Some Muck Boots

Antarctica cruise tips,Large floating Iceberg
Large floating Iceberg

All Expedition cruises, including Antarctica, make daily shore landings via zodiac boats. As great as these excursions are, you’ll need to bring a pair of muck boots or comfy wellies to deal with the ‘wet landings’. I suggest buying a pair with good thermal lining and excellent grip on the soles. 

Pack Layers

These tips for visiting Antarctica may sound obvious, but Antarctica is not a warm destination, even during summer. Most days, you’ll be lucky to see the temperate gauge rise above freezing. The best way to combat the cold weather is to wear layers. This means wearing a thermal base layer, fleece, and warm parka. Wearing layers is great as it allows you shed them or add to them depending on the temperature. 

Bring Excellent Binoculars 

One of the main reasons for taking an expedition cruise to Antarctica is to witness the incredible wildlife on offer! You’re likely to see whales, penguins, seals and much more along your journey. I therefore strongly advise bringing a good pair of binoculars. When I say good, I mean good! I’m taking about image stabilised binoculars by Canon or Nikon. These really help reduce handshake, offering a better viewing experience.

tips for visiting Antarctica,icebergs
Icebergs in Antarctica

Bring Earplugs

Although the thought of going to sleep with the sounds of penguins in the distance may sound idyllic, the reality is a little less appealing. Often you can hear the noise of the engine, not to mention other passengers and unfamiliar wildlife noises. Getting to sleep can be difficult because of all the new sounds that your body is not accustomed to. I strongly advise bringing a pair of earplugs to combat this. You may not need them, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. 

Book An Extra Activity

On most cruises to Antarctica, you’ll have the option of booking one or two added activities such as kayaking or camping. I really think these add a new level of fun to the cruise, especially kayaking. Although it costs extra, you get to experience Antarctica in a way that few other ever have. Explore icebergs and shallow inlets with your guide who will show you the best wildlife watching points. 

Take The plunge

During your cruise everyone is offered the chance to do what is called the ‘polar plunge’. This is a free activity and involves you jumping from your ship, without a wetsuit, into the freezing waters below. For safety purposes, you’ll be harnessed to a guide who will reel you in once you hit the water. I’m not going to lie to you, the water feels like thousand knives when you splash down. After a hot mug of tea though, you’ll feel a lot better!  

About Burnham Arlidge

Burnham is a travel writer, photographer and videographer with a passion for story telling and a Masters in filmmaking from the BBC and UWE . Having travelled from Africa to Antarctica, Burnham loves writing engaging content and creating vibrant visuals for companies and individuals across the world. Burnham's work has been featured in National Geographic, World Nomads, and Antarctica Guide.

Other posts by the Author

    2 Responses

    1. Top 5 Countries To Visit In Winter | Go 4 Travel Blog

      […] Antarctica is not for the faint of heart but for those hardboiled winter lovers gunning for the pinnacle of cold-weather locations. The country is almost always on ice. However, the severity of conditions becomes magnified over winter. There’s much to see and do during the cold season; including a foray across the Drake Passage, where you are bound to bump into a hurdle of playful penguins; and whale watching or touring glaciers and research bases synonymous with the region. […]

    2. Following In The Footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton | Go 4 Travel Blog

      […] the great Sir Ernest Shackleton and the ship Endurance. 100 years after the great expedition to Antarctica, 1914 – 1917; here are some moving and powerful events to take you on a voyage of discovery […]


    Leave a Reply