I’m so pleased to introduce you to Loren who just recently returned from her epic trip to Antarctica. Y’all, I have zero desire to check off the last continent cause I can’t stand the cold so I’m extra pleased that one of my friends has done this trip and can share her fab experience with you all! If you like her story as much as I think you will please share it so people can be inspired by her travels! She also blogs at DatingWithPassports.com, it’s one blog you’ll want to add to your reading list!
You recently returned from a trip to Antarctica. Who did you travel with and how long were you gone?
I traveled by myself, but I signed up with a tour company called G Adventures. It was a 15 day expedition to Antarctica with one night included in our port city: Ushuaia, Argentina.
What made you decide to make Antarctica your first solo trip? Were you nervous?
Honestly, I never planned a solo trip. This was a trip that a few people said they would go, but life happened and they couldn’t make it happen. I was determined to go regardless. No, I wasn’t nervous at all. I knew with a tour company, I was going to be surrounded by people the entire time.
If you don’t mind answering, how much does a trip like that cost and how long did it take you to save up the money to go on this epic adventure?
This is a tricky question to answer. There are many ways to go to Antarctica. You can take a flight there, charter a private yacht or you can go on a shipping vessel. I think the cheapest you can go down there is around $1500 on a fishing vessel, but I’m not sure they can guarantee clean drinking water.
For the trip, I originally booked it was $5,023. This was the cheapest I could find with excellent accommodations and amenities. This also put me in a quad room with 3 other people for an 11 day trip. Long story short: they cancelled my trip twice due to engine problems. I got my money refunded back, a free trip to Antarctica that was 15 days and a double cabin (but no one else was paired with me, so I got my own room.) Anyone who wants to go should be prepared to pay about 7K with the cruise and airfare included.
It took me zero days to save, because I already had the cash in my account. The crazy thing is when I booked the trip, I was making less than 50k a year. My parents did not pay or help out for the trip. I didn’t raise any money through crowdfunding. This was out of my savings. I only buy what I need. I’m not not in debt. Unless an experience or item has has a meaningful purpose in my life, I don’t spend money on it. I encourage everyone to evaluate what is a priority in their lives because that’s what they spend their money and time on.
Was the preparation for this trip different than other trips? If so how?
Yes, I had to buy clothes! I rarely buy clothes for trips, but this was an exception. I had to prepare for being in the cold for extended periods of time. I actually made a packing video that you can view exactly what I packed.
How did your family react to you traveling to this continent alone?
My family was excited for me. They traveled the world around my age, so I get the travel bug from me. I think with the two trip cancellations, there would a bit hesitant but once I got a free trip they were on board.
You are a young woman and this isn’t a trip many young people take. What made this appealing to you?
Actually, a lot of young people were on the ship. There were about six families with kids ranging as young as 11 to 25. They were a lot of single people in their 30s. Antarctica has always been appealing because of the penguins, the whales and the penguins. I always thought I would have to go once I became rich and retired, but then I thought why not now? I started doing my research and here I am.
What were your accommodations? How long were you gone and was it as cold as people would imagine?
Typically the Antarctica packages include a one night stay (double occupancy) in your port city. I stayed at the albatross in Ushuaia, Argentina. When I arrived at the front desk, they told me to sign in and I noticed the sheet had another man’s name next time to mine. I inquired then that I would have a woman paired up with me and they reassured me it would be fine. So around 9PM, this older man uses a key and walks into my room. He walks out and gets the hotel staff to clarify the mixup. Apparently, the hotel is fully booked so they move to another floor. A woman’s belongings are already there, but she isn’t in the room. Housekeeping had to remake the beds, because it was one kind size bed instead of two separate beds. I quickly fall alseep and then my new roommate walks into the room around 10PM confused because the room looks completely different than when she first arrived. I told her the story about the mixup and we quickly became friends and stayed close throughout the entire trip.
I was gone for 16 days, including Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
It wasn’t as cold as people imagine. Tourists arrive in the Antarctica’s summer, so the weather is between 32-37 degrees. It’s the windchill that will get you. You dress in layers so you don’t feel that cold.
How many people were on your trip? Were there other single women traveling?
The ship carried about 120 people, including the staff. They were other single women as well as men on the trip.
What was a typical day like on your trip? How was the food?
It was busy! I thought there would be a lot of downtime, but we had a wake up call at 7AM. Breakfast was served between 7:30AM-8:30AM. I was a kayaker, so we had a meeting in the library at 8:15AM to discuss the weather conditions of the day. The windchill was the deciding factor if we could kayak for the day and by 8:30AM we were suited up and out on the water. We would kayak for two hours and then return back to the ship to change into the landing gear. Then we would take a zodiac (a smaller boat) to shore where we would have an hour and fifteen minutes to wander and take pictures of the wildlife. At every site, there was always an optional hill to climb, if you wanted a better view. Then we would return back for lunch for an hour and then have a lecture by one of specialists on board. Around 3PM, we would have already arrived at a new location. Then we would kayak again for two hours and then a regular landing. You would have a time for a quick shower and then the daily recap. The daily recap was a time where we were served appetizers, basically a happy hour. We would ask the the staff about what we had seen and review the itinerary for the following day. At night, they had live music, a disco, and movies playing. There were always announcements to get on the deck to see Antarctica, so we were rarely in our rooms.
The food was AMAZING. Not only did they have food selections from all over the world, but they catered to dietary concerns. For instance there was an Indian family on board, and they had vegetarian Indian cuisine made especially for them. I loved having dessert after lunch and dinner. It was fine dining at dinner with an appetizer, soup, salad, entree and dessert. One day that had a BBQ with several grills on the deck for us, so we could eat outside. There was an omelette station for breakfast and an ice cream bar for an afternoon snack. I had surf and turf, no complaints!