Airbnb is offering five volunteers a free month-long trip to Antarctica


Glacier in Antarctica

Eastcott Momatiuk | The Image Bank | Getty Images

Airbnb is looking for five people to embark on an all-paid for month-long trip to Antarctica to study the environmental impact humans are having on the isolated continent.

The vacation rental platform partnered with non-profit advocacy group Ocean Conservancy to run the “Antarctic Sabbatical,” which will involve traveling to the region in December to join Antarctic Scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams on a research mission.

Airbnb described the trip as “an unprecedented opportunity for five passionate individuals to travel to Earth’s most remote continent” in a press release on Monday.

The five people selected to become “volunteer citizen scientists” will collect snow samples and study the extent to which microplastics have reached Antarctica.

No formal qualifications are required to be considered for the position — instead, Airbnb is looking for people with “an adventurous spirit, passion for the environment and willingness to apply.”

However, candidates must be over 18 to apply for the Antarctic Sabbatical and be able to travel for a month between November and December this year. Applicants must also be able to speak conversational English.

Before traveling to Antarctica, participants will attend immersion training in Punta Arenas, Chile, to complete courses on glaciology and field sampling, as well as lab work and equipment practice. They will return to Chile after completing their field research to analyze the findings.

During the trip, volunteers will be given time to visit the South Pole and other Antarctic sites.

Private travel to Antarctica is generally very expensive, with many 10-day tours costing upward of $5,000 and luxury options costing more than $50,000.

“This expedition will be hard work, with scientific rigour required during unforgiving wintery conditions,” Jones-Williams said in the release. “We are looking for passionate individuals, with a sense of global citizenship, who are excited to be a part of the team and to return home and share our findings with the world.”

The Antarctic Sabbatical is part of a wider scheme being rolled out by Airbnb, which the firm says is intended to encourage people to take career breaks to complete community projects. It follows the “Italian Sabbatical,” a project that sent five people to restore the Italian village of Grottole. More than 280,000 people from all over the world applied to take part in the three-month trip, which concluded in August.

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