I travel for pleasure, and photography. I read up about a destination long before the trip begins, so I know what to expect, where to find good food and accommodation and to ensure that I don't waste time and energy when I get there. We're booked to leave for Antarctica on 1 Feb 2010.
I always start trip-planning with Lonely Planet and Rough Guides, supplemented by internet 'research. For Antarctica, no RG is available, but I doubt that there is much that could be added to this comprehensive and attractive LP Guide as a means of preparation. My ultimate verdict will have to wait till we get back.
The Guide recognises that Antarctic tourists are most likely to arrive by ship, probably via South America, and may visit the Falkland islands and South Georgia as well as the Antarctic Peninsula, so it covers these places and deals with all the other modes of travel and possible directions of entry as well. The most popular landing sites are well-described, together with information on research stations, historic sites and places few of us are likely to be able or dare to visit. Brief accounts of Antarctic Exploration and recommended follow-up reads may require a warm blanket and a hot drink.
Access to various places is explained, applying to the ships, as well as the small boats used for in-shore cruising and landing. Blunt assessments are given of the potential for human beings to destroy the pristine environment and specific do's and don'ts for responsible behaviour, with warnings to observe best practice even if your tour-guides are lax in explaining it.
I hope that following the advice in this book will ensure that I leave no trace and take nothing away but my memories from this awesome place.