To avoid excess baggage charges on international and domestic
flights, check with your ticketing agent about luggage restrictions.
In general, you are allowed two normal-sized pieces of luggage
per person and one carry-on bag.
In addition, we recommend:
- That your luggage is sturdy, secured and clearly labeled.
- That you carry your passport and other important documents,
prescriptions and other vital supplies in your carry-on luggage.
- That you check that the airport code on your claim ticket
- That you claim your luggage and check it onto ongoing flights
yourself whenever possible. This may not always be convenient
- but it will decrease the risk that your luggage will go astray.
The polar regions are cold even in the summer - but probably
not as cold as you may think. In very general terms, expect
temperatures to be as low as 5° to 15° F (-15° to -9° C) and
temperatures as high as 40° F (4° C). Summer temperatures in
the Antarctic average around 32° F (0° C). It can also be colder,
windy and wet. Be prepared for it.
Although summer temperatures can be surprisingly mild,
you should expect wind, clouds and precipitation. For your comfort
and safety, avoid getting wet (whether from perspiration, precipitation,
unsuitable boots or sea spray). Bring wind and waterproof outer
Beware of tight clothing that leaves no room for trapped air,
which is an excellent insulator. Wool, silk and some of the
new synthetic fibers like polar fleece retain heat better than
Those who complain, "its not the cold, its the wind,"
are right. Wind removes the layer of air your body has heated
around you to keep itself warm. A mere four m.p.h. wind can
carry away eight times more body heat than still air. The so-called
wind chill factor measures the increase in cooling power of
moving air, whether its wind that is blowing or you who are
moving rapidly and, in effect, creating a wind against yourself.
Wetness also increases the loss of body heat. Air is a very
poor conductor of heat, but water is an excellent one. If your
skin or clothing gets wet, your body will lose heat much more
rapidly. Even at 50° Fahrenheit (10° Celsius), you can suffer
ill effects of cold if you are wet.
The following tips should help you be comfortable and healthfully
warm in cold weather.
- Avoid overdressing to reduce
- Wear water repellent outer garments
that will keep you dry on the outside and still "breathe"
enough so that moisture from your body can escape.
- Body heat is most likely to
be lost from parts that have a lot of surface area in comparison
to total mass namely, the hands and feet. Keep them warm and
dry. For hands, mittens are better than gloves.
- If the rest of your body is
covered, as much as 90% of the heat you lose can come from
your head, so be sure to wear a cap.
- Dress in comfortable, loose
layers. For anyone out in the cold, it is far better to wear
layers of relatively light, loose clothing than one thick,
heavy item. Between each layer there is a film of trapped
air which, when heated by your body, acts as an excellent
insulator. Keep from overheating.
- Wool and silk are superior to
cotton because they can trap warm air. Synthetic fabrics that
spring back into shape after compression are also good. When
damp or wet, polyester down is a better insulator than goose
or duck down. Polar fleece is popular and recommended.
What to Pack
When packing, don't
weigh yourself down with too many clothes or too much gear.
Select informal, practical attire for your trip that can be
worn in layers, including:
You should look for a lightweight, roomy, wind and
weather-resistant shell with some insulation. Bright colors
are more visible - and thus safer - in polar environments.
That is why polar travelers traditionally wear red.
Trousers: Ski pants are suitable if you have them;
otherwise, bring any sturdy trousers that can be layered between
your long underwear and rainpants.
Pants (Trousers): Water resistant "rainpants"
of coated nylon are essential for your comfort. Wear them
over your regular clothes to keep you warm and dry. Even better
is gear made of Gore-Tex and similar fabrics that are waterproof
and "breathable". These materials keep out wind
and water without trapping excess heat. Although excellent,
these fabrics are expensive and can be damaged by prolonged
exposure to salt water. Rinse Gore-Tex in freshwater after
exposure to salt.
Underwear: Silk or polypropylene underwear is highly
recommended since it keeps you warm without adding bulk. Most
people prefer a lightweight version - but this depends on
your personal thermostat.
Wool sweaters or a polar fleece jacket of medium weight
Bring several practical turtlenecks for layering
and use around the ship.
and Gloves: Keeping your hands warm and dry is
a challenge - and important. Thin polypropylene gloves can
be worn underneath warm mittens. Thus, you can take off the
mittens to operate your camera and still have some protection
from the cold. Its a good idea to bring an extra pair of wool
mittens to wear if your other pair gets wet (or lost).
Cap: A warm cap to protect your ears - and a scarf.
Socks: Sturdy, tall wool socks worn over a thin
pair of silk, polypropylene or cotton/wool socks should provide
enough insulation for your feet. Bring several pair, since
you will inevitably get your feet wet.
Boots: A pair of pull-on rubber, unlined and completely
waterproof boots that are mid calf or higher (12-16"
high) with a strong, ridged non-skid sole is essential for
landings. You may have to step from the Zodiac into icy water
up to 10" high on some landings. Also, expect poor footing
on the ice and ashore. Do not bring heavy, cumbersome
boots that make it difficult to walk. Boots with waffle soles
like those on a hiking boot or running shoe tend to give the
best footing. For maximum warmth, wear loose-fitting boots
and two pairs of socks. Try out your boots before the voyage.
Other Useful Items
- A sturdy, lightweight and waterproof
daypack to bring your gear a shore.
- Sunglasses with U.V. filter.
- Protective lotion for lips,
hands and face. Reflected glare from water, snow and ice can
- Bathing suit for hotels, aboard
some ships and (maybe) for a polar plunge.
- Camera and twice the film you
think you may need.
- Extra pair of prescription glasses.
Those who wear contact lenses should also bring glasses since
salt and wind can irritate the eyes.
- Prescription medicines and other
remedies such as seasickness medication and lomotil. Be prepared
for rough water. Bring along a signed and dated letter from
your physician stating any health problems and dosage of medications,
to provide information to medical authorities in case of an
- Binoculars for spotting whales
and seabirds from deck.
- Zip lock plastic bags as an
added protection for carrying camera, film, etc.
- T-shirts or other casual warm
weather clothes, for layering and aboard ship.
- Dressing for Gateway Cities.
(Don't forget this important aspect of your trip)
To make specific
travel requests, click here.
Antarctica Travel Essentials
Choose from full-size, rolled or folded travel maps. Excellent
quality, detailed, and informative!
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other specialty items.