Airbnb wants to send people on a research trip to Antarctica


For anyone with vacation days left for 2019 and an interest in science, listen up: Airbnb is offering five volunteers or, as they call them, “citizen scientists,” a one-of-a-kind opportunity to take a month-long sabbatical to visit Antarctica and spend some time in Punta Arenas, a city near Chile’s southernmost tip, at the end of the year.

The sabbatical is scheduled for Nov. 18-Dec. 16. While all living expenses will be covered by Airbnb, the chosen winners will be responsible for having an up-to-date passport and may need to cover other expenses.

Keep in mind that this is not merely a sightseeing trip but rather a research expedition. While there will be chances to visit places like the South Pole, the Drake Icefall, and Elephant’s Head, as well as to see wildlife and ride snowmobiles, the main purpose of the sabbatical will be to assist British scientist Kirstie Jones-Williams and the Ocean Conservancy in studying the effect of microplastics on the Antarctic ice shelf.

Before embarking on a 10-day exploration of Antarctica, the volunteers will also spend two weeks in Punta Arenas, Chile, training for the trip. They will also stay there for a few days upon their return from Antarctica.


According to Airbnb, the work that the five volunteers will do during this sabbatical may help change public policy if microplastic is found in snow samples.

“If it’s a success, this expedition could lead to more studies on how to better protect this unique ecosystem and our planet as a whole,” said the company on its Antarctic Sabbatical page.

To be chosen, you must be over 18 and submit the online application form by Tuesday, Oct. 8 at Winners will be announced on Oct. 30. While you don’t need to have an extensive background in science, an interest in scientific research and the environment couldn’t hurt.

“This expedition will be hard work, with scientific rigor required during unforgiving wintery conditions,” Jones-Williams said in an Airbnb press 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.”

NASA's Operation IceBridge Studies Ice Loss In Antarctica
Getty Images | Mario Tama

There were reportedly more than 280,000 applications last year for Airbnb’s three-month sabbatical in Italy. Antarctica is a bit colder and more remote, but you might be competing against a lot of interested people.

Good luck!

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About the Author
Margeaux Baulch Klein
Margeaux Baulch Klein is a freelance writer and digital strategist based in Los Angeles. She has written for publications like the Huffington Post, New York Daily News, Bustle, and HelloGiggles, among others. Visit Scripps News to see more of Margeaux's work.

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