What do you do when the unexpected happens during travel to remote Antarctica or the Arctic? What if you lose your passport? Or your luggage disappears? Or your flight is delayed?
At Polar Cruises, we consider ourselves travel experts when it comes to Arctic and Antarctica cruises. That's why co-founders Chuck and Lynn Cross were named Conde' Nast Traveler Magazine's "Travel Specialist of the Year" nine times for the Arctic and Antarctica region. With over 120 combined polar trips shared amongst our staff, we are among the most knowledgeable people in the polar cruising and travel business.
But despite our wide array of travel experience and tips we offer to polar travelers making their way to Antarctica and the Arctic, there are some instances when weather, scheduling, airline troubles, or issues at customs come about, despite extensive preparation.
As your polar cruise experts, it is our job to help travelers prepare ahead of time so these instances are minimized. Following these simple guidelines can help ensure you have an enjoyable polar travel experience:
1. Gather important travel information. Be sure to collect and keep with you, the telephone number of all airlines, hotels, cruise ships, and the emergency contact sheet (complete with country codes) for all aspects of your voyage, as well as check-in times, verification codes, confirmation paperwork, and other important details.
2. Know where your documents are, and keep them together. By keeping all your documents for the trip in a single, easy to locate place, you will avoid misplacing pieces, and minimize time spent search for particulars.
3. Keep documents on your person. Travel information and ticket information won't do you much good if they are in your checked luggage. In case of lost or stolen luggage, you can minimize the tragedy by keeping important documents and information on you at all times, preferably attached to you, using a travel belt or something similar.
4. Make a Xerox copy of import information, and store separately. A couple copies of your passport as well as your vouchers, itinerary, and important final documents should be made and placed somewhere separate from the originals (for example, in your luggage). After all, if the copies are with the originals, and you lose the originals, you lose it all.
5. Leave a copy of all information with someone back home (other than Polar Cruises), in case of emergency. This will give you the option to contact someone other than Polar Cruises in the event we are closed or otherwise unavailable at the time of the crisis.
6. Have a Plan B. If you are delayed in your travel, use the emergency contact sheets in the country information and/or the telephone number of the hotels, transfers, etc. on your voucher to inform them of the delay. Even if you have more than one night booked with a particular hotel, if you do not contact them to inform them of the delay prior to check-in, you may be considered a no-show, and your entire reservation may be cancelled--even if you have pre-paid reservations.
7. Know your communication options. If you have decided to travel with your phone, there are a variety of options available for temporary World Coverage of your cellular phone depending on your provider. However, if you are not traveling with a phone or computer, there are internet lounges at both AEP (Jorge Newbery Airport) and EZE (Ezeiza International Airport) where you can use a computer or telephone. They are called Locutorios, and many are opened 24 hours. Many times, communicating directly with the airlines is your best option. You're welcome to call Polar Cruises but due to the time differences, it may be some time before we get back to you.
8. Buy Travel Insurance. When booking the trip of a lifetime to somewhere as exotic as Antarctica or the Arctic, where communications, flights, and accommodations are more scarce, it is worth the extra money to buy travel insurance to help deal with unexpected delays and events.
9. Plan ahead of time. Thoroughly read through your preparation documents which will help prepare you for your vacation to Antarctica or the Arctic. Your Polar Cruises team is available and ready to furnish you will all the information you need to book, and prepare for your polar expedition, including polar weather and temperature information, what to pack for Arctic or Antarctica cruises, and advice for getting the most our of your polar vacation.
10. You are your best advocate. Once in transit, it is much more difficult to secure help, so preparation and proactive behavior are your best advocates. In the event something does go array, keep all parties involved informed, and proactively seek alternatives through resources such as Trip Case to make sure a bump in the road doesn't become something much larger. Polar Cruises is typically 4-8 hours behind your timezone when you're traveling and may be closed for a few hours.
With the right preparation, travel setbacks can be minimized, and you can rest easy knowing that you are ready to experience a trip of a lifetime in the Arctic or Antarctic seas. Call Polar Cruises today to find out more about the vast variety of travel options we offer, and how you can start preparing for your polar vacation adventure: Toll Free at 888-484-2244 (US or Canada) or 541-330-2454 (Outside the US).