When Skipping a Once in a Lifetime Experience Makes Sense

Posted By Jeremy in Antarctica

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Living the Dream reaches the end of the worldAlthough we secretly hope for some travel goals to work out from the start, inside we know a few aren’t meant to be.  So while we made every effort to make it down to Ushuaia, Argentina for the end of the sailing season, and did so with several weeks to spare, Living the Dream will not be exploring Antarctica on this long-term trip.

But while we are saddened by this new development, it really isn’t bothering us as much as it otherwise should.

Skipping a Once In a Lifetime Experience

Ships in Ushuaia.  Can I get on one?

As we’re rounding out our 9th month of continuous travel, we had a lofty goal of making it down to the icy continent few travelers ever get to see.

We had hoped to score one of those amazing last minute sales that can be rumored to be 50% off, or more, if you get your timing right.  The stories are true, and just about every departure had their last minute sale of at least 50% off, but with that we still had one hurdle left to cross.

The sale price was still higher than our budget.

It was due to this unfortunate fact that we had to make a decision between cutting one major destination that has been on our wish list for many years, or cutting several months worth of smaller destinations just to make it fit.

For the purposes of our RTW trip, the latter was just not an option.

Why We’re Keeping Our Plans

Tierra del Fuego mural

Most travelers who take off on long-term trips do so because they are not satisfied with their vacation plans at their jobs.  With just a few weeks of time off per year there is never enough time to see all the world’s wonders you’ve been dreaming of.

Our reason for taking a second long-term trip is due to this very same problem.

The itinerary we crafted for this long-term trip was to hit many destinations we’d otherwise never travel to on a standard two week vacation.   Spending a month in Nepal, two months in Eastern Europe, or even exploring remote places like Mauritius hardly ever happens on a normal vacation for people like us.

The remaining itinerary we have planned for this trip is no different, and to fit a two week excursion to Antarctica into it we would have had to cut two months worth of exploration in Central America, if not more into our South America route.

When thinking of it this way, we had to take a step back.

Is it really worth it to spend $9,000 on a trip to Antarctica just because we happen to be in Ushuaia at the right time when the trade-off is missing several months in an amazing part of the world, plus likely having to skip Colombia and Venezuela as well (both places we’d otherwise never get to on a normal vacation)?

Is the cost savings truly that much when we could get a semi-frequent sale for the itinerary we absolutely desire (as this one was not), with airfare and all extra perks, for less than $6,000 more? 

That difference, ironically, is about what we’d normally spend on a vacation anyway.

Well, considering we could easily do Antarctica on a three-week trip, something that we obviously cannot do with our Central America plans in one go, the answer is pretty obvious.

No, its not worth it.

The Hidden Perk Behind It All

It is incredibly painful to be in Ushuaia and having to wave goodbye to the ship you so desperately wanted to be on while having the money readily available to make it happen.  But considering the trade-offs for such a difficult choice, we know that the best reward is yet to come.

Our being upset over this decision is only natural, and will stick with us for several weeks as we continue this journey. But as hard as it is to see our dream sail into the horizon, we have to also keep looking to the future and reminding ourselves about the things we’ll now get to do because of it.

After all, exploring parts of the world we’d otherwise never get to see is what we set out to do at the start of this journey.  Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a painful reminder as to keep that dream in mind.

For those looking at heading to Antarctica with a last minute sale from Ushuaia, keep these tips in mind.  First, you do not need to be in Ushuaia to book a last minute price.  Companies that operate out of Ushuaia offer last minute sale prices anywhere from 7-60 days in advance, which can be booked online, and the rates will not get any better even on the day of departure.  In the 2014 sailing season, last minute prices varied from $3,900 pp to the more common $6,000+ per person for itineraries with twin rooms.  Keep in mind the $3,900 cruise in particular had a long waiting list for a journey that was more than two-weeks out but many of the average priced itineraries had spaces available up to one day before.

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