People Love Traveling to These Totally Inhospitable Destinations for Some Reason

A new study named the planet's most extreme spots that people are still very keen on visiting.

According to a new study, your extreme, wild, and potentially dangerous vacation dreams don't make you a singled-out foolish traveler.

Luxury cruise company Antarctica Cruises has analyzed data revolving around the most inhospitable travel destinations on earth, and ranked them depending on how in-demand they are with travelers regardless of their not-so-breezy reputation.

You might now wonder how many travelers are, in fact, actively looking to spend their PTO in uncomfortable, harsh, and difficult scenarios instead of relaxing poolside with a drink in hand. Well, the short answer is: many, many travelers. And not only that—the number is reportedly on the rise, meaning that hyper-adventurous travel is currently on the rise. In the last six months alone, Google searches for "can you fly to Antarctica" (which is—spoiler alert—the most inhospitable place on the planet, according to the study) increased by 300%, while those for "Mount Everest trek cost" witnessed an even larger climb of 350% in the same time period.

To come up with its ranking of the most inhospitable travel destinations that people are still keen to visit, the company analyzed multiple factors in detail. First, the team put together a list of the highest mountains and volcanoes in the world, including the largest deserts as well. Then, it analyzed traits that are most associated with inhospitableness, including average temperature, wind speed, and distance to the closest city for each entry, and ultimately combined the results to give every destination an overall "inhospitable" score. Finally, they analyzed the average monthly Google searches for a few keywords that are relevant to travel in such places, and found out how much people were intrigued by potentially going there.

First on the list is, unsurprisingly, Antarctica. As the study reports, Antarctica features an icy desert spanning 14,200,000 km² (which is roughly 5,500,000 square miles) and experiences wild winds that can reach the speed of almost 50 mph. Plus, the temperature makes it all worse—the average is roughly -27 degrees Fahrenheit, and the closest city is more than 600 miles away. In spite of this, though, "Antarctica cruise" searches total, on average, 12,000 each month on Google, and according to statistics, the 2023 season's visitor numbers will be up more than 40% compared to the largest pre-pandemic year.

Second place goes to Mount Everest. The tallest mountain in the world (29,029 feet) is pretty inhospitable, with an average wind speed of almost 33 mph, an average temperature of -16.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and a distance of almost 100 miles to Kathmandu, the closest city. And yet, people still want to go! According to the study, 40,000 visitors a year do the trek to Everest base camp, and the searches for it on Google total as many as 18,000 every month.

Closing out the top three on the list is Argentina's Aconcagua, which is the highest mountain outside of the Himalayas. Standing at 22,837' tall, its average temperature is the same as Mount Everest's (-16.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and its closest city (Mendoza) is located almost 70 miles away. The mountain is a pretty hostile environment, and despite that, its popularity grew in the last few years with around 3,500 climbers attempting to summit the peak every year. The success rate, though, remains low, with only 30-35% of those adventurers actually succeeding.

Below are the 10 most inhospitable (but still desirable!) travel destinations in the world, according to the study:

1. Antarctic Desert
2. Mount Everest, Himalayas, Nepal, China
3. Aconcagua, Andes, Argentina
4. Ismoil Somoni Peak, Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan
5. Mount Logan, Saint Elias Mountains, Canada
6. K2, Karakoram, Pakistan
7. Denali, Alaska Range, USA
8. Mercedario, Cordillera de la Ramada, Argentina
9. Walther Penck, Andes, Argentina
10. Mount Elbrus, Caucasus Mountains, Russia

It might be hard to wrap your head around these destinations' popularity, but when looking at it from another perspective, it can also become very simple to understand why such destinations are so magnetic for many travelers. If you like adventures and are a proper adrenaline lover, visiting uncharted territories and experiencing raw nature is surely something that piques your interest—plus, most of these places involve a good amount of sport and require a certain level of fitness, and sports-related travel is another huge category in the industry.

Just by looking at the numbers above, the theory can be easily corroborated. For example, the study found that eight of the top 10 destinations are mountains, which not only speaks to the appeal of sports-related travel, but also to the large community that is invested in adventure travel as well.

Plus, the aesthetic appeal of these places is not to be disregarded either. Take Antarctica for example—not only is its constantly shifting thick layer of ice a sight to behold, but it also features incredible landscapes and wild nature to admire. Frozen lakes and imposing icebergs plus rare animals such as penguins and massive whales are all key attention drivers to the icy destination. The few adventurers who manage to climb to the summit of Aconcagua, instead, get double treats: on one hand, they satisfy their need for adventure and thrill, and on the other, they get incredible 360-degree views of the Andes Mountains, Chile, and the Pacific Ocean to the left, as well as Argentina's plains to the right.

For more information and to read the complete study, you can visit this website.

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Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.