If you're looking for a vacation getaway that's free from political unrest and pandemic threats, there's only one place on the planet that offers such a sanctuary from all these global issues. And that place is Antarctica, a continent that's roughly twice the size of Australia and is fast becoming a choice destination for those not only seeking an escape from the world's problems, but looking for a different adventure altogether.
You'll need cold, cold cash for this trip
Antarctica's location at the bottom of the world meant that as a travel destination, it's been under the tourism radar for several years. But that's all changed recently. According to an October survey released by travel pundits Virtuoso, Antarctica tops the list of Adventure travel preference locations, toppling former leader South Africa. It's also the second choice of emerging destinations behind Croatia.
A trip to Antarctica isn't cheap, with the lowest deals for a two-week vacation starting at around $7,000. And the frigid temperatures are enough to repel less than hardy travelers, which is why junkets in December, when it's usually the warmest (with temperatures average around 33 degrees Fahrenheit) are preferred.
Luxury cruises galore heading south
But that's not stopping the tourism industry from paying attention to a growing consumer base willing to fork over a little more to take in an experience of a lifetime. Nearly 200 cruises annually take passengers to the icy continent in vessels ranging from the luxury liner Hebridean Sky to the expedition vessel Magellan Explorer.
As there are no hotels on Antarctica, those ships serve as visitors' home base for the duration of the trip. It's no wonder why luxury cruises are a favorite to provide all the comforts of an idyllic getaway, including outdoor jacuzzis, complimentary wine with high-end cuisine, lavish spa treatments, lounges serving some of the best beverages served anywhere and cozy observation decks to check out all the wildlife.
See it all before it melts
The real draw is vacationing on a gigantic landscape of rock and ice, bordered by a crystal-clear ocean where large whale sightings are common. On land, there's a chance to witness penguins and seals going about their business in their natural habitat.
And given that Antarctica serves as an ideal barometer to gauge the effects of climate change, it's an opportunity to witness a unique ecosystem while it still exists.