How to Get to Antarctica for Free

Friday, August 4, 2017

Traveling to the White Continent is no simple feat. Logistically speaking, it is one of the most isolated places on earth, and specialized resources are needed to operate in the region. The expeditions are carefully and thoughtfully planned out. Permits are secured in advance, and aircraft and ships with crews and staff have to be brought to the region for the short Antarctic season. And this all comes at a price.

So it should come as no surprise that traveling to the ends of the world is, shall we say, on the more expensive side. Is it worth it? Absolutely! But of course, occasionally hopeful travelers on a tight budget ask us if they can go to Antarctica for free, or at a seriously discounted rate. And the answer is, surprisingly, there is a way! You just have to do a little research first. Here are a few bloggers who’ve shared their tips and tricks on how to travel to Antarctica for free.

Mapping Megan

In a guest blog post, Tracie Howe talks about how she didn’t know what to do with her degree after graduating college. She heard about an opportunity to travel while working on cruise ships and submitted her application.

What started off as a way to bide her time, Tracie’s trips took her practically all over the world – from Alaska to the Caribbean, through Europe and Scandinavia and everywhere in between… except for Antarctica. Finally, she was offered up the opportunity to spend six months on a ship traveling from South America to the Mediterranean by way of Antarctica.

Her bucket list was now complete, thanks to her work on cruise ships. Great read, and stunning photos.

Cool Antarctica

This site gives you a pretty good idea of what it might be like to (a) work in a base in Antarctica proper (compared to Tracie above who was working on a ship), and (b) what positions might be available and how to apply.

Contrary to popular belief, though Antarctica is a cold and isolated place, the number of folks who want to work here is much greater than the number of jobs available. And most of these positions are reserved for highly specialized people, such as chemists specializing in snow, ice and freshwater, glaciologists, and the like.

Some general positions are also available, like cook, carpenter, and radio operator. Though these positions aren’t necessarily as specialized as the former positions, there are a greater number of applicants for these and therefore are much harder to come by.

Also of note, one must be physically and mentally able to withstand the harsh Antarctic conditions throughout the year. All-in-all, this site gives readers a great sense of what can be expected if you want to work in Antarctica.

The Penny Hoarder

Much like Cool Antarctica, this article shares tips and tricks on finding jobs in Antarctica. However, this feature also links to some of the companies that can help you land those elusive jobs for either the U.S. Antarctic Program or the British Antarctic Survey. Companies like Lockheed Martin focus primarily on hiring management and science support staff for a few stations.

This article has had over 64,000 views so far and is complete with salary information and application deadline.

The Luminous Endowment

Photographer Michael Reichmann was a friend of Antarctica21 who loved Antarctica as much as we do. Before his premature death in 2016, he visited the White Continent many times with us, teaching professional and amateur photographers during his trips. Before passing, Michael set up The Luminous Endowment, a non-profit organization that provides grants to fine art photographers to help them pursue their dreams.

Antarctica21 is honored to be the sponsor of a yearly grant that provides a free trip to Antarctica to a photographer selected but the Endowment’s jury panel, a selection jury made up of some of the world’s leading photographers and photographic educators. If you are a photographer with a project in mind, please review the submission page. Note that there is a deadline for submission.

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