Always striving to offer
travelers unique opportunities like living in an Italian village for three months, sleeping in the Louvre, or spending one night in the Downton Abbey castle, Airbnb is outdoing itself this time. The short-term rental company has partnered with Ocean Conservancy to offer five aspiring conservationists the chance to travel to Antarctica to join a scientific research mission this coming December.

The program has been dubbed the Antarctic Sabbatical. In December, the five fortunate folks chosen will accompany Antarctic scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams as “citizen scientists” working to expand the conservancy’s mission of protecting the ocean and raising awareness of the threats posed to the ecosystem. If selected, you’ll spend a month in the Antarctic region, including an immersion training in Punta Arenas, Chile, where you will prep for the stay with courses on glaciology and field sampling and try your hand at lab work and equipment practice. You’ll then fly to Antarctica, landing on a naturally formed blue-ice runway in the continent’s interior, where the studies are to be conducted.

Once you’re “on the ice,” as veterans of the Antarctic refer to being in the region, the itinerary will look like this:

  • Collect snow samples from the interior of Antarctica and study them for microplastics to determine how far waste and pollution have traveled across the world.
  • Visit the South Pole and walk around the globe in just a few steps.
  • Visit some of the continent’s well-known sites including the Drake Icefall, Charles Peak Windscoop, and Elephant’s Head to learn about Antarctic geography.

After the time on the ice, you will return to Chile to continue work on what you’ve learned with Ocean Conservancy. The goal is to train you to become an ambassador for protecting the oceans and deliver insight on how the Airbnb community and others can help minimize their collective plastic footprint when traveling throughout the world’s six other continents.

Sign up for the contest on Airbnb’s website.