While being fit isn’t a prerequisite to travelling to Antarctica as it's a ‘soft adventure’, being fit enough to get the most out of the daily excursions will increase your overall enjoyment of the trip.

Being able to get on and off the rubber zodiac boats is crucial. A crew member will always help you get into and out of the zodiac, with a 'sailor’s grip' on your arm to provide stability. You must ensure that you have your hands free, so stow all cameras and walking poles. You can take them out against once you are securely seated. You will need to be flexible enough to take a deep step into the zodiac and for wet beach landings, you will need to swing your leg over the side of the zodiac and step down into the water. This becomes second nature after a few landings! 

Preparing for Antarctica



Ice hiking, Antarctica

Once onshore, walking distances tend to be quite short as Antarctica’s physical topography precludes longer walks. Most landings typically require walking for less than half a mile, although the ground is typically uneven and can be challenging when icy, so a walking pole(s) can be very useful. You may be walking on snow or rocks. Watch out for compacted spots that can be slippery, and in deep snow do try to follow the tracks made by the guides (this helps avoid creating lots of deep boot holes that penguins can fall into).  

During landings where there is the option to walk a little further, perhaps up to a ridge point for a panoramic view over an iceberg graveyard, you can choose the degree of difficulty. If you wish you can simply remain on the shore, contemplating the penguins going in and out of the water. Even if you don’t have mobility issues, we strongly recommend taking some time at the shoreline as this makes for fantastic photographic opportunities! 

Staying healthy


Woman smiling surrounded by Antarctic scenery

You will be passing through either Chile or Argentina en route to Antarctica. Aside from Covid-19, there are no compulsory vaccinations for Chile or Argentina at the current time but requirements are subject to change, so it is best to check with your local doctor. For more information check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Make sure your immunisation is up to date for:

  • Tetanus
  • Hepatitis A
  • Diptheria - re-vaccination recommended every 10 years
  • Hepatitis B - higher risk for long stays and frequent travel
  • Typhoid - for travellers who may eat or drink outside major restaurants and hotels
  • Rabies - the risk of being bitten or scratched by a rabid animal is rare however it is recommended that you are vaccinated against rabies if you will be staying for an extended period if you will be in close contact with animals or cycling. If you do get bitten or scratched by any animal during your time in Chile or Argentina it is recommended that you seek medical advice as soon as possible.

You can find out more with our guides on Getting to Antarctica via Chile and Getting to Antarctica via Argentina.

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What our customers think of Preparing for Antarctica

Unplugging from technology and absorbing the natural world was an amazing gift. There are no words to describe the environment and how it will touch you. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2024

Becky Ahern - USA

I was very prepared, but you had to read all of the things (which everyone should do anyway!). Read the full review

Travelled: January 2024

Gina Vickrey - USA

I felt so well prepared and excited. The background offered through the reading list, Zoom [calls], and articles really made me feel excited and mentally prepared with more knowledge to really absorb what I was about to see. Read the full review

Travelled: January 2024

Aaron Moskal - USA

We were prepared from an equipment/gear standpoint. We were not prepared for the intense beauty Antarctica presented to us. I have been fortunate to experience many parts of the globe, both traditional and primitive, but nothing compares to the memories of this adventure. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Donald Appel - USA

Make sure that you get your gear together early. I found the checklist to be especially helpful when I was packing. This is one trip where you don't want to leave anything behind. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2023

Stephen Rathbun - USA

Zodiac excursions were excellent. Even taking the ride became an exciting daily activity. The expedition staff eagerly shared their experience with us, and taught us what to expect, how to observe, and why we saw what we saw. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2023

Dali Yang - USA

Work on cardio in advance as hiking uphill in the snow can be daunting - the snow is dry and brittle and you often sink into the snow up to the knee. It takes a lot of energy and lung power to pull out of those spots and keep going up. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2021

Mike Walcher - USA

US dollars are much appreciated and bring a much better exchange rate! We wished we had brought maybe $40 dollars in ones. Those would have helped with tips and small purchases in Ushuaia and at the Buenos Aires airports. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2021

Mike Walcher - USA

Carry cash and don't rely on ATMs in Argentina. It is easier and cheaper to exchange USD in ARG for pesos than using the ATMs that limit withdrawals adn charge 10% for the privilege. We were able to get some cash but ended up borrowing a bit from traveling mates rather than spend to use the ATMs. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2020

Monica Scott - United States Of America


Crossing the Drake Passage

If you’re worried about seasickness when crossing the Drake Passage, it might be a good idea to plan ahead and by researching the tablets, wristbands and patches, and consider talking to your doctor. If seasickness suddenly hits whilst on board, your ship’s doctor will be able to prescribe medication. Please note that this may be at an extra cost. 

Preparing for Antarctica

Sunset over the Drake Passage