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ANTARCTICA
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EGYPT

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ANTARCTICA

Why You Should Go

If Antarctica isn’t already on your bucket list, it should be! Truly one of the most unique destinations on the planet, the White Continent offers experiences you can’t find anywhere else, like getting seriously close to colonies of penguins in their natural habitat. Plus, Mother Nature puts on a pretty spectacular show at the bottom of the world. Who knew ice came in so many colors?

 

To really experience Antarctica, one of your best options is to sail aboard a small expedition cruise … an amazing adventure all its own.

 

Things You Should Know

Drake Passage

Most visitors to Antarctica arrive by ship. Traveling by ship means you must cross the infamous Drake Passage. If you’re lucky, you’ll sail smoothly on “Drake Lake.” It’s more likely, though, that you’ll have to endure the “Drake Shake.”

 

If you suffer from serious motion sickness, it is possible to fly to King George Island on a chartered jet. This option, however, comes with its own set of challenges. Feel free to reach out to us for more information about this.

 

Tourism Limits

In order to protect the fragile environment of this icy desert, the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) regulates the number of people allowed to go ashore.

 

According to regulations, vessels carrying more than 500 passengers are not allowed to land passengers ashore. Passengers on smaller ships are allowed to go ashore, but no more than 100 visitors at any one time in any one place can land on the continent.

 

The smaller ships deal with this regulation by creating rotating schedules where groups of guests go ashore for a few hours, then return to the ship to give other guests a chance.

 

To have the best experience, we highly recommend that you opt for a smaller ship.

When to Go

Cruises take place during Antarctica’s summer: November through February.

 

How Much Time Do You Need

The typical cruise duration on smaller ships is 10 to 14 nights.

 

Ports of Embarkation:

Shorter length cruises typically begin in Ushuaia, Argentina, due to its proximity to Antarctica. Longer cruises typically depart from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and other locations in South America, including Chile and Uruguay.

 

Things to See and Do

Depending on the itinerary and the cruise line, daily activities on the small expedition-style ships can include:

  • Zodiac excursions that take you ashore to observe penguins and other wildlife

  • Zodiac excursions to view icebergs and other dramatic scenery

  • Kayaking

  • Hiking

  • Photography

  • Snowshoe hiking

  • Cross-country skiing

  • Camping overnight

How Much Does It Cost?

Pricing can vary widely, but let’s put it this way: Start saving now. If you stay in a 97-square-foot cabin with no window, you can expect to pay about $8,000 per person for a 12-night cruise. If you stay in a 366-square-foot cabin with a balcony and a butler, you can expect to pay about $18,000 per person for an 11-night cruise. (Pricing is based on double occupancy.)

 

What’s Included?

Many cruise lines offer truly all-inclusive pricing, meaning that meals, alcohol, shore excursions and gratuities are all included. This can vary, though, so be sure to check.

 

How Far in Advance to Book

Due to the limited capacity of expedition ships, combined with the limited sailing season, Antarctica cruises often sell out. The earlier you can start planning, the better. It’s also helpful to be flexible. If you can’t get your first choice this year, try the following year.

Climate

The climate is icy, dry and windy. During Antarctica’s summer, you can expect a high of 50F and a low of 20F, on average.

 

How to Dress

Expedition cruising is generally much more casual than other types of cruising. The main goal is to stay warm and dry. Most cruise lines provide detailed packing lists so you can fully prepare for your adventure. You will definitely need knee-high waterproof boots, which you can usually rent if you don’t want to purchase your own. You will also need a parka. Many cruise lines provide complimentary parkas for you. Some even let you keep them.

 

Passport, Visa and Safety Information

For the most up-to-date travel information and requirements, visit http://travel.state.gov.

 

Health information

Check the CDC for current information and recommendations based on where you are traveling to/from: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/antarctica

 

Interesting Facts

At the South Pole, you can walk through all the world’s time zones in a few seconds. In other words, Antarctica does not have its own time zone. Most inhabitants set their clocks to match their home territories. Cruise ships usually keep their clocks at the same time as their port of departure.

 

If you are ready to explore the White Continent, you have many, many options. Instead of spending countless hours wading through them all, let us help you. We can match you with the experience that’s best for you.

EGYPT

Why You Should Go

Home to some of the most advanced early civilizations, Egypt is rich in ancient culture. From stories of the pharaohs, to monuments that were built more than 3,000 years ago, to the iconic Nile river, a visit to Egypt will leave you awe-inspired.

 

Due to safety concerns in recent years, Egypt fell off of many people’s travel lists, but this destination has become popular again, which means the pricing and crowds will likely increase. If you’re considering Egypt, you may want to start planning now.

 

When to Go

To avoid the blistering heat of Egypt’s summer, try to plan your visit between  November and April.

 

Also check to see if your travel dates coincide with Ramadan, the Islamic Holy Month (based on the lunar calendar, not the solar calendar). During that time, most locals will be fasting during the day and most restaurants won’t open until the evening. NOTE: If you’re visiting during Ramadan, refrain from eating, drinking or smoking in public during the fasting hours. (That’s just rude!)

How Much Time Do You Need

Egypt has more history to visit than nearly anywhere else in the world, and enough cultural differences to fascinate even the most experienced traveler. Fitting everything in is almost impossible.

 

To see the most iconic sites, you’ll need a bare minimum of five days, but 10 to 14 days is recommended. If you’d like to experience everything on the list above, you’ll need to stay longer, or visit more than once.

Things to See and Do

  • Alexandria, Egypt’s only Mediterranean city – perfect for Greco-Roman history enthusiasts

  • Historic monasteries

  • Cairo’s museums, pyramids, gardens and nightlife, as well as Coptic Christian and Islamic religious and historical sites

  • Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx

  • Aswan

  • Abu Simbel temples

  • Nile river cruise with guided tours of Kom Ombo and Edfu Temples en route

  • Luxor to see Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple, Colossi of Memnon and Valley of the Kings

  • Desert camel ride

  • Souk and bazar visits

  • Diving and snorkeling in the Red Sea at resorts located in Sharm el-Sheikh, Dahab, El Gouna, or Hurghada

  • The White Desert

  • Siwa Oasis

  • Wadi el Hitan (The Valley of the Whales), a paleontological site dating back 23 million years

 

The list goes on …

Climate

Because of its varying terrain of deserts, mountains and coastlines, Egypt experiences different types of weather, but generally speaking, it is hot and dry. June, July and August are generally the hottest months. In December, January and February, the lows can drop into the 50s (Farenheit).

 

Money

The currency is the Egyptian Pound (EGP). Most credit cards are accepted in major hotels and restaurants. Banks are usually closed on Fridays and Saturdays. ATMS that accept Visa, MasterCard and Cirrus are common in the main tourist areas.

 

Banks in Egypt will not accept coins for exchange. When you want to show appreciation by tipping, be sure to do so in the local currency. 

 

Language

Arabic is the official language. English and French are spoken widely, especially in the tourist destinations.

 

Knowing how to greet and thank the locals in their language can make all the difference. Egyptian Colloquial Arabic is different from Modern Standard Arabic, so you may want to do a little Googling before you leave home and practice a few phrases. Don’t worry if you get it wrong. As long as you try, the effort will be appreciated.

 

One expression that you will likely hear a lot is insha'allah, which means "God willing." 

Electricity

220 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are standard.

 

How to Dress

Egypt is an Islamic country, so it is respectful to dress modestly, especially when visiting temples and tombs. Women should wear loose-fitting clothing that covers their knees, shoulders, midriff and chest. Wearing a sundress with light leggings underneath and a lightweight scarf around your shoulders/chest is a great way to stay cool in the heat … and respectful.

 

When visiting mosques or other religious sites, remove your shoes, and cover your head if you're a woman.

 

Passport, Visa and Safety Information

For the most up-to-date travel information and requirements, visit http://travel.state.gov.

 

Health information

Check the CDC for current information and recommendations based on where you are traveling to/from: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/egypt.

 

Getting Around

Egypt is one of those countries where hiring a driver/guide or joining a tour is highly recommended. Depending on the operator you choose, you may gain access to special experiences and sites that would not otherwise be available.

 

If Egypt is on your bucket list, we can help you decide when, where and how to go to have the experience that’s right for you.

800-929-9371

explore@travelthatmatters.net

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WEEKENDS BY APPOINTMENT

Portland, OR

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