Health & Safety | Polar Unbound


No vaccinations are required for traveling to the polar regions of the Antarctic or Arctic. However, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that travelers should be up-to-date on routine vaccinations. The CDC also advises the following inoculations for visiting many of polar region’s gateway countries: yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, rabies.

Please check with the CDC’s website to find out more health information pertaining to individual countries. 

Taking out travel insurance before setting off on your adventure protects against injury, illness, loss, theft and more. While travel insurance policies cover problems such as loss of baggage, tickets and cancellations, many exclude activities considered as “dangerous sports” unless you pay an additional premium. Make sure that your travel insurance covers the range of activities you may be participating in, such as as kayaking, as well as emergency evacuation. While ships provide basic medical supplies and on-board physicians, serious treatment necessitates evacuation.

As always, keep receipts for any medical treatment and medicines you receive while traveling. and obtain a statement from the police if later need to make a claim.

As travelers spend much of their time in the Arctic and Antarctic at sea, seasickness is a common symptom. Consider the best remedies for you, such as wristbands, medication, patches or ginger. 

The CDC has reported Zika outbreaks in Argentina and advises travelers to practice appropriate precautions. Check out the CDC's website for updated travel alerts, and please review our prepared Zika Virus Travel Tips on the Health & Safety dropdown menu to help you travel healthy. 

While the cold may be deceiving, the sun’s harsh rays can be made more intense as they reflect off of snow, ice and water. Protective sunglasses and sunscreen go a long way toward keeping your skin safe from sun exposure. 

Preparing your body for the activities awaiting you and being in good physical shape go a long way toward enjoying your polar adventure. Activities such as trekking, kayaking and boarding zodiacs can be physically taxing, so preparing your body and being in shape is highly recommended. 

Make sure to pay attention to your guides’ safety orientations. The environment and the wildlife can be fierce, so stay with your group and don’t approach wildlife. Also, seasons can change
quickly throughout the Arctic, so pack additional layers.