FAQ

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What's the difference between an agent and an expedition company?
Expedition companies operate the expedition ships directly. Agents are companies that work independently on behalf of the expedition companies to sell the available berths on various ships. We investigate all options to find you the best trip and price for your needs.


What kind of company is Antarctica Travels? Do you own any ships?
We are an independent booking agent and do not own any ships. Rather, we represent the expedition companies that own the ships and help to match up the right expedition and ship with each traveller’s specifications.


What's the benefit of booking with an agent instead of an expedition company directly?
We represent all of the major expedition companies that take passengers to Antarctica.  We’ve personally been on all of the ships we represent, some multiple times, and are committed to matching each traveler with the right ship for their needs.  We don’t favour any one trip over the next – our only objective is to have the happiest clients around!  An added benefit of choosing to book through us is our personalized attention.  We can help you with reserving winter clothing, outdoors activities during your time in Tierra del Fuego, securing insurance, local Hotels or any other questions you have.


Are there extra costs for booking through you?
There are no extra costs to booking through us – you get the same rate (and sometimes better) as advertised by the ship’s company, with the benefit of our care and expertise from the beginning of the booking process right through to us personally delivering you to your ship on the day of departure.


What's the best time to visit Antarctica?
The Antarctic season falls in the austral summer – between the months of November and March – and things change a lot between these months.  It’s best to plan the timing of your trip around your particular interests.
November is when Antarctica is at its most pristine as it hasn’t yet been traversed by shiploads of other adventurers.  November to early December is penguin mating season, which can be quite entertaining as they are also busy building nests and stealing rocks from one another to do so.

In December/January, the days become longer, creating amazing conditions for photographic opportunities, and this is also the warmest time of year in Antarctica.  January is a great month to see penguins with their chicks together in their nest, and more species of whales start to make their appearance.
February to March is famous for the most incredible sunrises & sunsets you’ll ever see, as well as increasing whale & leopard seal sightings.  This is also the time when the penguins’ chicks have grown into hungry juveniles and can sometimes be seen being hunted down by leopard seals as they enter the underwater world for the first time.
By March, the days are becoming colder and shorter, but the truth is that every month is special in Antarctica because the wildlife, the ice, and the weather are constantly changing, revealing Nature’s full splendor.


What kind of insurance do I need?
Every traveller is required to show proof of medical and emergency evacuation insurance.  We highly recommend securing cancellation insurance as well.  We’re happy to help you find an insurance provider that will work for your needs.


Can I reserve my spot on a ship and pay later?
For regular bookings you will have the option to place a non-refundable deposit to hold your space, with the remainder due either 60 or 90 days prior to your departure date (depending on the expedition company).  For last minute bookings you will be required to pay in full in order to secure your berth at that rate.


Can I pay for my trip by credit card?
Once we’ve found you the right trip, you’ll pay the expedition company directly with our assistance. Many companies will accept credit card, but be advised that some companies charge an extra percentage to process credit card payments. Other companies will only accept payments via wire transfer or cheque. We will let you know at the time of booking how payments can be accepted for the trip you’ve chosen. As we are an agent, we don’t have any say over how the different companies charge the passengers, but will do our best to help you with the process.


How can I get a last minute deal?
Last minute deals are just that – last minute!
It does not always mean that they are discounted. Those are the last places available on board and each season is different.
Discounts normally become available within 20 to 10 days of a ship’s departure and you need to be ready to make a decision quick before spaces sell out. From season to season we can see that we have more people wanting to go that places available. The best way to stay abreast of last minute deals is to follow us on our Facebook page or on Twitter where we post new deals as soon as they come up, or to sign up with us letting us know your traveling dates in the South. It’s important to be aware that with last minute deals you’ll be required to pay for the trip in full at the time of booking to secure your space, and many companies do not accept wire transfer for these transactions.


When do you recommend I fly in to Ushuaia? Can I arrive the day that my ship departs?
We strongly recommend that you fly in at least one day prior to your departure day.  Although ships set sail from Ushuaia in the afternoon, it’s all too common for flights from Buenos Aires to be delayed and there have been cases of travelers missing their ship departures because of it. We prefer all travelers on the side of caution and get in to town early. Some expedition companies include one night’s stay in a hotel prior to departure day for this very reason.


What kind of weather should I expect?
During the Antarctic summer, daytime temperatures tend to hover around 0 degrees and on a sunny day it’s not uncommon for the air to warm up to t-shirt temperature. However due to the volatility of the geography, sudden squalls and white-outs may occur in which case you’ll be safe and warm inside your expedition ship.


Do I have to bring/buy winter clothes?
You will need some standard winter outerwear but due to the nature of the weather in Antarctica, layering is the best clothing strategy. This means that you’ll need a wind and water resistant pair of pants and jacket to go over your layers.  If you don’t own these, we can help you arrange outerwear rentals upon your arrival in Ushuaia.

For footwear, it is mandatory that you wear sterilized rubber boots (Wellingtons) during land excursions on Antarctica to avoid any contamination of the Great White Continent. Almost all ships provide these boots free of charge, and in the event that your ship does not, we can help you arrange rentals in Ushuaia.  Therefore you only need footwear that is appropriate for being on board the ship, or for any outdoors activities you plan to do while in Ushuaia.
You may also want to read this article about what to pack to help you prepare.


Are kids allowed on the expedition ships?
*Some* expedition companies will allow children but with restrictions such as only 12 years and older.  If you are looking to travel with your kids, please contact us so we can investigate and find out which company and ship would be able to accommodate your specific needs.


What about Sea Sickness? Should I be concerned?
See Sickness is very relative and depends very much on the individual.
It is true the Drake Passage can be very rough and if you are normally sea sick or concern about it you should talk to your doctor and he will recommend the best medicine for you.
Bring enough sea sickness tablets for the duration of the trip.
Normally you will get use to the ship motion on the second day.
Remember that once in Antarctica the ship will not move anymore because it will be sheltered


Do I need cash on board?
We recommend that you take some US dollars on board to pay for extra services such as drinks on board, souvenirs from the gift shop, tipping. You can also put that on your credit card but the crew will strongly appreciate the cash.
It is also very helpful if you disembark in Port Locroy and you want to buy some souvenirs or mail a postcard.


Tipping
Tipping is a very personal matter, we recommend $US10 per passenger per day that you are on the ship. It is better for the crew if we can give them US dollars cash.


How much film should I bring?
These is a very personal question but think what you normally use on holidays and multiply it by two or even three.


I am a single traveler, is that a problem?
Not at all! Most of the people you are going to meet on board are too. You have two options. You can book a single cabin by paying the single supplement (this amount will depend on the operator and the type of cabin). Some ships have already Single Cabins with no supplements.
The other option is to share your cabin with other single travelers from the same gender. Those cabins can be quadruples, triples or twins depending on the ship.


What does it mean that your company is a member of IAATO?
Being a member of IAATO (The International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) is an important designation as IAATO has set forth stringent guidelines and operational protocols to ensure safe passage for visitors as well as to protect wildlife and the environment. Membership with IAATO is essentially a “seal of approval” of an outstanding company.


**Please note that the above answers are general guidelines for most expeditions.  Some of the details may vary depending on which departure you book and it’s our job to let you know of the specifics of your trip at the time of booking.**
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