Packing for Antarctica

I’m glad I packed…

Chapstick, Kleenex, compression bag, sea bands, pill pouches, and extra camera batteries.

The chapstick was a no-brainer. I used it constantly. The Kleenex was so helpful on excursions because the cold always makes my nose run. I knew I was getting the yellow Quark parka on the ship, but I was going to Easter Island after the cruise, so I didn’t want to carry a large parka to a tropical climate. The compression bag was perfect. It allowed me to fit my parka inside my backpack and I never had to see it again until I got home from my trip. I wasn’t sure if I would get sea sick, so I brought sea bands with me, which I’d never tried before. The combination of sea bands and sea sickness tablets that the onboard doctors gave me caused me to NOT get sea sick the entire trip – including the Drake Passage! I felt so great! From my previous post about traveling internationally with meds, I did not bring the entire pill pouch kit. I only brought 2 of the individual pill pouches with me. I’m so glad I did because every morning, I had to carry all my pills I their original labeled containers to clear customs, so I would put all my pills in the pill pouch and go to breakfast, order an orange juice, and take my meds. I did the same thing at dinner every night. I could not have orchestrated my pill-taking more perfectly. The weather was so cold that it drained your camera batteries super fast. I’m so glad I packed extra batteries because I carried the extra batteries in my pants pocket so they would not get cold due to the body heat. When my camera battery drained, which happened rapidly and often, I was able to switch them out and continue taking photos.

I wish I had NOT packed…

Neck pillow, eye mask, and ski goggles.

I guess I’m the one traveler who doesn’t think a neck pillow on the plane is comfortable. I packed it to use on all my flights, but only used it on one flight and realized it was not comfortable for me, so I never used it again, and it was just taking up extra space in my carry-on. I brought an eye mask for the plane and for the ship (just in case). They handed them out on my overnight flight to Buenos Aires, so I didn’t need to pack one. I could have just kept the one I got on the plane for the ship. The ski goggles were stylish and all, but I didn’t think they served a great purpose other than style. LOL! They were helpful for the sea spray while riding in the zodiacs, but my sunglasses would have done the same thing. Only a few other people had ski goggles on the trip. Most everyone just wore sunglasses. I brought both and wished I’d only brought my sunglasses.

I wish I had packed…

Waterproof camera, waterproof phone pouch, and smaller dry bag.

It was so very difficult to use my camera on excursions because changing lenses was cumbersome. Some of my photos even have water spots in them because I got condensation or snow on my lens glass. I did bring a waterproof phone pouch, the same one I used in South Africa, but this time, it didn’t work. I was not able to navigate the phone buttons through the waterproof cover. Not sure if they expire or go bad after a certain length of time, but I should have checked it before I left to make sure it would work. I didn’t even use my phone on the zodiacs because I was afraid I would drop my phone into the water. A waterproof pouch would have been helpful. I would recommend, and I wish I had, a waterproof camera. I could have then been able to use it on the zodiacs and not worried about it on the shore landings. my camera did get quite wet on the zodiacs when I didn’t have it in a dry bag. My dry bag was cumbersome and hard to open/close and access my lenses inside. I wish I had a smaller, simpler dry bag like other people had. Mine was a large Waterseals dry bag that I used as a carry-on bag. It was stylish and served its purpose, mostly, but the large size was unnecessary and difficult to manage.

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