Cost of Living in Antarctica

At McMurdo your housing and utilities are at no-cost to you. Transportation to Antarctica from your hometown is paid for. Your meals and snacks are also free. Coffee is free. Extreme Cold Weather clothing is provided. Cleaning supplies and laundry soap can be obtained when needed. Even bedding and items like shower curtains are free. If you need a new shirt or such, you can go to “skua” which is like a free thrift store. In essence, the only thing you really need to pay for is toiletries. These I bought in advance and brought down with me. Alcohol and souvenirs are the only things you might need to buy. Oh, and better milk/cream from the convenience store on station.

The biggest cost of living for me while in Antarctica will be my reoccurring bills from home that I can’t avoid.

  • Storage fees for my belongings and vehicle ($60 a month)
  • Student loans ($60 a month thanks to income-based payment plans which don’t count food and housing as income!)
  • Car lease ($315 a month)
  • Dropbox Subscription ($10)
  • Car Insurance ($200 a month)
  • Balances on other loans, cards etc.

But what would I be getting paid? Well, that depends on the job.

The highest paying jobs I’ve qualified for (Steward Supervisor, Rooms Coordinator, and Senior Administrative Coordinator) make, at a minimum, $3.2K per month up to a maximum of about $3.8K a month. Net gains of at least $2k for every month I’m in Antarctica. Not bad.

The lowest paying jobs (Janitor, Food Steward) come out to $2.1k to $2.2k per month. That gives me at minimum a net gain of $800 per month while in Antarctica. That’s barely enough to cover my expenses especially when you consider that that’s both before taxes and before they withhold 15% as your year-end bonus.

So.

I can either be just scraping by in Antarctica or I can be sitting pretty and creating a nice savings account for when I leave. Either way, I can live off the income and that’s the important part.

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