What Does A $100,000 Vacation Look Like?

If your summer travel budget is feeling a little skimpy at the moment, then indulge your fantasies for a minute and imagine you’ve got $100K to blow on your upcoming vacation. What does it look like?

Luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent is giving 50 travelers the chance to find out. The company, which offers high-end travel services to those with deep pockets, recently relaunched their private jet journeys in which travelers hop across the globe without ever having to come into contact with an economy class seat or gelatinous airplane meal.

In their latest (and most expensive) offering, Abercrombie & Kent’s founder Geoffrey Kent will accompany the passengers on a round-the-world adventure, which will take them to nine countries on a Boeing 757 decked out with plush business class seats, a lounge area, and a bar.Pit stops include an Amazonian river cruise, a visit to the Moai on remote Easter Island, dinner with diplomats in Sri Lanka’s Galle Fort, a game-viewing expedition on the Masai Mara, a swanky party in the wealthy nation of Monaco, and more.

How do you pack for a trip like that? Well, it doesn’t matter what you bring really, because you won’t exactly be wrestling for overhead bin space. Not to mention that joining the tour group is a traveling Bell Boy whose job it is to wheel your handmade Globetrotter suitcase around the planet. Nice, huh?

The 26-day tour departs from Miami next October … so you know, there’s still time to save up.

Adventure Travel Meets Luxury, In The Arctic

The idea of “adventure travel” is hot and those who sell travel know it. Travelers who lead an active lifestyle as a big part of their everyday life want to continue that focus when traveling. Local adventurers who might camp, hike, hunt, ski or bike around where they live, want the thrill of doing that in an amazing place somewhere else on the planet. Even travelers once satisfied with a pre-packaged land tour or the standard fare on a Caribbean cruise want more. Only one problem: not everyone who likes the idea of adventure travel is equipped to handle it. But they still want it.

Enter land tour operator Abercrombie and Kent, known for safe and luxurious safari-like travel packages with a hefty price tag.

Offering more than a lazy man’s adventure, Abercrombie and Kent (A&K) recently announced a 2014 lineup of cruises to the Arctic. These luxury versions of the frigid expedition sailings for hearty explorers, normally associated with that part of the world, might very well be just what the pseudo-adventure traveler has in mind too.

On their July 29, 2014, sailing – Arctic Cruise Norway: Polar Bears & Midnight Sun – A&K guides take their guests to see polar bears, walrus and reindeer from the northern shores of Norway to the Svalbard Archipelago and Spitsbergen (AKA the last stop before the North pole), setting foot on the coastal city of Tromsø and the polar bear stomping grounds of Nordaustlandet. The 12-day adventure starts at $8,995.Another choice – A&K’s Arctic Cruise Adventure: Norway, Greenland & Iceland (Aug 7-21, 2014) – boasts stunning wildlife, geological features and history on an intense 15-day Arctic voyage from Norway and Spitsbergen to the region’s most remote and magnificent islands.

Visiting polar bears on the Svalbard archipelago, Kejser Franz Joseph Fjords and Scoresby Sound in Greenland along with Iceland’s extinct Snaefellsjokull volcano among other stops is not a cheap swing around the Caribbean. This one will run you $11,995.

Think that sounds like a lot to pay? Not everyone does: A&K’s 2013 Arctic offerings sold out 10 months in advance. This video gives us an idea of why they might be so popular:

[Photo credit – Abercrombie and Kent]

Luxury Travel: Abercrombie & Kent’s New Lifestyle Club Gives Travelers A Taste Of The Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous

Despite a lagging economy, the growth of the ultra luxury sector in the travel and hotel market is hotter than ever. Travelers are increasingly seeking personalized, customized experiences and high-touch service above and beyond what traditional luxury hotels can provide. As a result, many companies have new or improved specialized programs to cater to this new breed of traveler.

One of the newest is Abercrombie & Kent’s A&K Lifestyle Club.

What makes the club interesting? Abercrombie & Kent has been offering ultra luxury tours and travel experiences for more than 50 years, but this is their first membership model.

The new A&K Lifestyle Club offers travelers (and their partners) a personal Travel Consultant and access to a network of 50 offices on seven continents to plan custom, high-end vacations, as well as a 24/7 global concierge service.

For a $3,750 joining fee and an annual cost of $10,500, members get a personal Lifestyle Manager who will act as the local knowledge and “fixer” both at home or wherever in the world they are. They will advise and help with lifestyle requests, from sending flowers to organizing restaurant reservations or gaining access to exclusive clubs and sold-out events. In addition, members gain instant access worldwide to logistical, medical and security advice around the clock. These team members are available whether or not you’re traveling with A&K. In addition to the travel benefits and special member’s only discounts, travelers also get gratis airport lounge passes and two free nights at A&K villas each year.

Want an even higher end experience? They’re relaunching their popular private jet journeys in 2014 with special African safari trip, booking here now for a 19-day trip at about $80,000 per person.

Can’t even dream of dropping $80k on vacation? They’ve also launched a more affordable travel product, dubbed “Connections,” where groups of up to 44 travelers enjoy similarly customized trips and high-end hotels at a much lower price point.

What do you think? Would you buy into this exclusive club, or are you apt to try to put together these types of trips on your own?

[Image Credit: Abercrombie & Kent]

Antarctica Heats Up As Popular Travel Destination

Antarctica was once considered the horribly barren, frozen place that only brave scientists would travel to. In the past, if Antarctica was on a travel bucket list it was probably in the same category as “Walk on the Moon” or “Travel back in time.” In other words, it probably was not going to happen. Recently, Antarctica has gained new popularity as a viable travel bucket list addition as more travelers visit and live to tell about it – some on television.

The debut of the Discovery Channel’s “Frozen Planet” brought to light the beauty of Earth’s polar regions and the animals that inhabit them, encouraging travelers to fulfill that bucket list dream a bit sooner.

Since the program aired on March 18, tour company Abercrombie and Kent has received over 200 hundred phone calls from travelers interested in Antarctica, specifically referencing the show with 49 bookings to Antarctica directly linked to “Frozen Planet.”

Increased interest in Antarctica comes with a price tag too. Travelers will need the time and the financial ability to make the trip. Abercrombie and Kent have an Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands tour that is priced at $16,995 per person. On sale now for $12,750, it’s still not a cheap swing around the Caribbean but a cheap swing around the Caribbean is probably not a top spot bucket list item either.

So what’s the best part of Antarctica?

“The penguins are adorable, the seals are spectacular and the whales have that ‘Wow Factor’ that take your breath away when they pop up beside your zodiac,” says travel blog ThePlanetd who has a photo gallery of their recent trip.Want to know more about Antarctica?

Gadling’s John Bowermaster has a series of posts made during multiple visits in “Bowermaster’s Adventures.”

Frozen Planet” airs Sundays 8 p.m. E/P on the Discovery Channel.

Photo courtesy Abercrombie and Kent

Icy Antarctica: a hot spot for student travel

Watching whales leap out of the water is one of many opportunities travelers have when visiting Antarctica, as an increasing number of people worldwide are looking to explore the bottom of the earth. Student groups, individuals and families are frequently heading south on an Antarctica adventure that many only dreamed of just a few years ago.

Recently, a group of Michigan State University study abroad students on an expedition in Antarctica found their boat stuck on ice and stranded, but not for too long.

“We just enjoyed the scenery for a while,” sophomore Jennifer Campbell said. “About a half-hour later, I had taken probably 100 videos because about 100 whales were around our ship, teaching their young to hunt.”

The frozen tundra of Antarctica has become a hot spot for ecotourism, too. Thirteen MSU students participated in the expedition in Antarctica program a few months ago.

“Not any two people have the same short list of reasons for going – the love of adventure and (being) off the routine path of MSU are some reasons why,” said Michael Gottfried, an associate professor of geological sciences in a State News article.

But the increasing amount of travelers visiting the continent could have consequences. Students are told to wash their boots and not to take anything because it changes the environment.

“It is untouched; you can tell how things have changed after centuries of human progress,” sophomore Jennifer Campbell said. “If everyone wants a piece of it, it’ll be all gone.”

Although many nations conduct climate and other scientific research in Antarctica, the MSU trip isn’t based solely on science, Gottfried said. Students in dance, journalism, engineering and other majors have taken the trip not just to explore wildlife, but also to learn about the physical and biological aspects of the area.

“People underestimate the pristine quality of this beautiful place,” Campbell said.

Looking to travel to Antarctica? A number of travel companies are offering unique adventures:

  • National Geographic Expeditions does a 14- or 24-day Journey to Antarctica aboard the National Geographic Explorer that hits the Antarctic Peninsula and the surrounding islands and waterways.
  • Journeys International has a 12-day Active Antarctica Adventure that allows those along for the ride to test their endurance with an average of two, off-ship activities each day, including camping, kayaking, mountaineering and cross-country skiing while appreciating the penguins, whales and icy landscapes.
  • Abercrombie and Kent sails the whale-rich waters of the Drake Passage to the Antarctic Peninsula’s bleach-white, remote coastlines on a comprehensive expedition cruise that reveals the many faces of the world’s last frontier. This one lets us go behind the scenes of an environmental research station and chat with on-board experts nightly about the day’s discoveries.
  • Students On Ice is an award-winning organization offering expeditions to the Antarctic to provide students, educators and scientists from around the world with inspiring educational opportunities at the ends of the Earth.

This video gives us an idea of what Students On Ice is all about.

Flickr photo by Antarctica Bound