Tips for future travelers

I recently returned home from the Feb 6 Antarctica trip on Le Boreal, and I had a fabulous time. Just wanted to post some thoughts and tips, because I was looking for the same when planning.

I like to know exactly what’s on a travel itinerary and I felt somewhat under-informed prior to departure. Now I understand that the ship’s itinerary is tentative, and largely based on prevailing weather conditions so excursion locations and routes vary. But don’t worry, you will have a great time. During the 5 days we spent cruising around the peninsula we were offered excursions twice daily. On one day there were three outings. They keep you very well informed about the next day's plans.

Tips:

Have your boots shipped to the boat by Ship to Shore. (www.shiptoshoretraveler.com) This option is not clearly spelled out on the Tauck website, but it is a much better choice if you are renting boots. Yes, it is more expensive, but it saved a lot of luggage space and weight. I never got confirmation from Ship to Shore that the boots had shipped. Happily, the company was on-board at the time of embarkation in case of problems with boot sizes or fittings. The boots are rubber and somewhat rigid, so thicker socks work better to ensure a good fit.

Waterproof pants. I was planning on just bringing my ski pants but ended up also buying waterproof pants. The ski pants were fine protection though very bulky. I made sure to wear the waterproof pants on the occasional rough water landing, when you were drenched by waves during the zodiac ride. My husband wore insulated sweatpants and waterproof pants and was happy with that. You do not have to worry about upper body, since the parka provided is waterproof.

Warm accessories. I had glove liners, ski gloves, and a whole bunch of things I didn’t use. Every day, I ended up just using my thin $1 glove liners. They kept my hands warm from the wind. The only time my hands got cold was when the liners got wet on one of those wet/rainy/bumpy zodiac rides and I wish I had my waterproof gloves with me. Scarves were a nuisance to keep wrapped up and I preferred to wear a turtleneck to make sure my neck was warm. It really wasn’t that cold during our trip. The average was 30F, and I did not end up using my long underwear. I usually wore a pair of fleece leggings under my waterproof pants.

Binoculars. I didn’t see anyone carrying these around. I had a small lightweight pair that I carried in my jacket pocket at all times on and off the ship. I found them handy looking at animals from the boat, but I never used them on-shore – you’ll be close enough to the wildlife to see fine without them in most cases.

Seasickness. Nearly everyone, crew included, seemed to be using the behind-the-ear patch.

Shoes. Wore tennis shoes every day. They were fine for walking around Buenos Aires and the boat.

The parka provided is a little bulky. But surprisingly light for the amount of warmth and protection it offered.It was difficult to pack on the way back. Many people ended up carrying it by hand on the return flight.

Waterproof Backpack. I brought this to shore the first couple of days but soon stopped. The excursions lasted about 90 min on average. Almost anything you need can be stuffed into one of your many parka pockets. Tauck provided handy ziplock bags that were great for keeping cameras dry.

Walking sticks. Most people did fine without them. My mom and aunt who have trouble with their knees found them helpful. Some walks were a bit icy and steep, but there were always some relatively accessible areas near the landing points.


**I saw Bill C provided some good tips under the post 'Antarctica 2014 ; January 19 2014"

Have a great time!!

Comments

  • Hi Jess,

    Thanks so much for posting this. It will be SO useful to future travellers to Antarctica. I'm going to the sub-Antarctic ... Macquarie Island and all those tiny islands that lead down from New Zealand into the Southern Ocean and Antarctica ... next February. I've been working on my Hope Chest of requirements slowly since I booked! Urgh! The things you need ... and we can't take that gear hiring option, either!

    As I look at all that ocean between New Zealand and our Australian outpost, Macquarie Island, I know I am truly insane! I wonder if you can buy those ear patches in bulk?

    CHeers,

    Jan
  • Thank you SO much for the information. One question; how was the flight from BA to the southern tip of Argentina? Were your seats assigned by TAUCK? I have never flown on a non-US airline expect BA so I'm not sure about their operating procedures and carry on limits. Did you get your behind the "ear" patch before or on the boat?
  • Thank you all. We booked today for Jan 19 .Lots of time to sort out clothes but will probably rent boots,pants and anything I can't find in my old ski bag. Have been checking flights and have upped my comfort level in last few years to Business. After seeing LAN and AmerAL prices, checked Air Lingas Argentinas and found Business for $1900 RT from Miami. Can't get through to AA to see what they might have in Freq. Flyer...worst service in world, so unless anyone has major negative re Air Lingas Arg, I'll book then in a few weeks when they post 2014 flts.
    Bob, think your in Tampa area...we're cape coral. If you want, we're 540-903-9026.
    Lots to do before next Jan....Croatia,Russia and mow lawns.
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