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What to Know When Planning an Antarctica Trip

by Eugenia Lazaris

Mar 13, 2023

© Doethion | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Antarctica

If you’ve ever dreamed of once-in-a-lifetime family travel to Antarctica, you aren’t alone. After all, it is one of the world’s last unspoiled frontiers, and you can take part in amazing adventures like kayaking among humpback whales.


But, like many others, you may be stumped where to begin planning. Arming yourself with some key tips and information will not only make your dreams come true but also create a vacation the family will never forget.


Decide on the best way for your family to travel. While it is possible to visit the continent by plane, it is not environmentally friendly and there are few options. Air travel allows you to take a shorter trip and avoid a few days at sea, but the cost is often higher. This makes cruising to Antarctica a better option with lower overall costs and more freedom to choose your travel dates.


Whichever travel option you choose, book through a licensed tour operator. Antarctica has no official government, no official language (although Russian and English are commonly spoken) and no official currency. That also means no travel visa is required, but you still have to have permission to visit, something your tour operator will arrange.


Only scientific expeditions are allowed on the continent during winter months, so plan your trip during the summer. Keep in mind, though, below the equator, summer means November–April. Early in the season is the best time to view the landscape, but if you want to see plenty of wildlife, like humpback whales and emperor penguins, wait until later in the season when the waters are warmer and wildlife is more active.


Many tour providers for Antarctica share similar sentiments: This is a great trip for families, but it’s best to wait until the kids are old enough to take an active interest in the adventure. The destination is rugged, as is the journey, so when kids are interested and able to participate in the educational aspects of the trip, the result is a vacation that is not only easier on parents but also more rewarding for the whole family.


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