Travel to Antarctica: How You Can, and How Much it Costs

With the green travel practice of ecotourism rapidly gaining ground, few destinations offer as much to the environmentally conscious explorer as Antarctica. Home of the world’s South Pole and all but completely uninhabited by man, the southern continent remains the world’s centre of adventure and an increasingly popular target for those with a slightly different approach to global travel.

But as appealing as an Antarctic holiday may seem, accessing the southern continent tends to be an expensive and highly uncomfortable endeavour. While flights to regions of the Arctic remain fairly affordable, access to Antarctica is limited to that provided by a group of military airplanes and tour ship operators. Prices for basic shared tour boat packages begin at approximately $3,995.

Alongside the expense, however, is a holiday opportunity that’s as unique as they come. The typical tour will bring visitors up to the Antarctic Peninsula shoreline, with small groups departing for days on the ice and, weather permitting, a chance to camp alongside the continent’s penguin colonies. On the higher end of the price scale, skiing and trekking missions to the South Pole are also available.

The majority of cruise ships depart from Chile’s southern tip – Cape Horn – and travel through the rough and unrelenting Drake Passage. Visitors have reported severe seasickness and other illnesses due to the rough travel conditions, although a number of travel operators offer ‘luxury’ packages for those willing to spend slightly more money. If you’re seasick, it’s no doubt a worthwhile purchase.

For those intrepid enough to seek out the earth’s southern continent, it’s unlikely that you’ll return home disappointed. With an estimated 25,000 visitors throughout the year, Antarctica remains one of the world’s most remote and unique travel spots. Take the camera, the clothes, and always keep your adventurous attitude at the ready.

Russia’s Siberian Extremities are Becoming More Accessible to Travellers

Who goes on holiday to Siberia? Well, according to recent statistics from Russia’s Tourism Board, a greater number of people every year. While the remote Russian back country may not feature on the standard North Asian travel itinerary, hundreds-of-thousands of tourists are treating themselves to a holiday in Siberia, eschewing the traditional sunny beach in favour of the world’s best scenery.

Just ten years ago, travel throughout Russia’s far eastern regions was virtually unheard of. Access roads offered limited travel within the area, although those without four-wheel drive vehicles were often left stranded in the region’s dangerously rough scenery. However, with the region’s famous railway serving record customers annually, the world’s backyard is undergoing a renaissance.

Travel industry experts have pointed to Ewan McGregor’s Long Way Round motorcycle series for the region’s new found success, while others have insisted that the increase in tourism is simply a natural development. Given the truly wonderful scenery and nature on offer within Siberia’s more accessible regions, it appears that one of the world’s last true gems has been exposed to the world.

Most travellers opt to use the region’s railway system, combining a classic holiday idea with some of the area’s top natural attractions. Lake Baikal and its surrounding shores are a popular point for many European tourists, with a growing number of people visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site every season. Fresh fish and local products are popular souvenirs, each competitively priced.

While it seems unlikely that Siberia will win praise from the beach-and-resort crowd, the region is one that’s almost completely unspoilt by mass tourism. Given the relative expense of holidaying in Moscow or St. Petersburg, a railway trip through some of Russia’s undiscovered back country may be the best option for this year’s Far Eastern getaway.