Skip to main content

For $10,000, You Can “Bag” the Most Elusive Continent of All: Antarctica

Peak bagging” is a well-known psychological phenomenon — or, depending on your position, “disease” — among hikers. It’s the concept of conquering peaks with related features (e.g. all the 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado, the seven tallest summits on all seven continents, etc.). It’s no surprise that the concept exists likewise among travelers. So, it seems fitting that one company has figured out a way to help “continent baggers” nab the most elusive continent of all: Antarctica.

Time was when only hearty sailors and borderline-crazy explorers would attempt to venture to Antarctica. Since around 2000, however, the journey has been open to anyone with a reasonably adventurous spirit and sufficient time and money. Those are all still prerequisites. But, Natural World Safaris is looking to substantially minimize the time required to allow a day trip to Antarctica, particularly for time-strapped vacationers.

Antarctica - Akademik Ioffe The Vessel HD

Most cruises to Antarctica depart from Ushuaia, Argentina, at the extreme southern tip of South America. However, the company’s newly debuted day trip will instead depart from South Africa and provide travelers with just 12 hours on the continent. The trip is five-star travel all the way, including a lunch on the ice with Champagne, exploration of icy grottos, and hiking amid thousands of Adelie penguins. Travelers also base out at a luxury polar camp that includes a sauna.

Antarctica’s pristine “last natural frontier” image has helped fuel a decade or more of conservation-minded travelers rushing to visit the continent before it changes for the worse. Ironically, the disaster tourism niche has only accelerated the demise of already threatened destinations (see also: The Great Barrier Reef). Scientists and legit conservationists worry that this sort of tourism — all of which is currently made possible by fossil fuels — can only do more harm than good. Natural World Safaris is quick to point out that their day trip is guaranteed to be carbon neutral and will be eco-friendly in other ways. For example, it’s offering travelers the opportunity to fly with scientists on already-booked research flights, instead of hopping a private jet. Their adherence to the Antarctic Treaty which includes a zero-impact policy means that all waste will be transported off the continent, their camp is solar-powered, and their air transportation partner is a certified Carbon Neutral Company to offset all emissions.

While weeks-long budget Antarctic cruises can be found for less than $4,000 (USD), Natural World Safaris’ day trips to the continent will run a cool £7,750 (more than $10,000 USD), not including the required flights to Cape Town. But, at least you can say you’ve been there, right?

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
The best things to do in Iceland: These activities are always on our itinerary
Coffee shops, lagoons, volcanoes, and more
Iceland

Iceland, with its breathtaking landscapes and unique natural wonders, has become a must-visit destination for travelers worldwide. In 2023, the island nation welcomed 2.2 million visitors, marking its second-strongest year on record. No longer a hidden gem, Iceland continues to attract more Americans and remains an affordable hotspot for Europeans.

Summer is the best time to visit Iceland if you’re looking for the most comfortable weather and vibrant city life. During this busy season, the long daylight hours allow for endless exploration of the country’s stunning scenery. Reykjavík and other cities come alive with tourists, offering a great vibe all around.

Read more
Soon, a major U.S. airport will offer additional flights to Mexico
Getting to Mexico is about to get easier
Balandra, La Paz, Mexico

Balandra, La Paz, Mexico Samantha Velázquez via Unsplash

Mexico offers a balmy climate and gorgeous ocean views, along with eclectic culture and cuisine. Next to the Sea of Cortez, La Paz — the capital of Baja California Sur — has turquoise waters teeming with life, causing Jacques Cousteau to name them the “world’s aquarium.” Monterrey mixes the urban and natural with vibrant city life surrounded by mountains and trails. Soon, it’ll be easier to get to both via additional flights from a major U.S. airport. Here’s what you need to know.
Alaska Airlines increases Mexico-bound flights from LAX
Monterrey, Mexico Mike Foster via Pixabay

Read more
Hurricane Beryl forces route changes for Caribbean-bound cruise ships
This is how Hurricane Beryl is affecting cruising
Cruise ship into the sunset

Hurricane Beryl is on a path toward the Caribbean, causing several cruise lines to alter routes. The Category 1 storm (74-95 mph winds) made landfall in Texas today with powerful wind and rain causing power outages for thousands. Cruise ships must find a way to steer clear, whether switching course or rescheduling port calls.

By adopting contingency plans, cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian aim to keep passengers safe and avoid ship damage. Here’s what their plans include.
Steering clear of Hurricane Beryl: Each cruise line’s strategy

Read more