Roll with the rich in five easy steps: travel like you’re on the Forbes 400

From peaking through the curtain to first class to eyeing the VIP check-in line at the hotel, travelers are envious creatures. Someone else always has something we want – be it an experience, device or amenity. We fantasize about the perfect travel experiences, wondering what it must be like to [fill in the blank with what you dig most].

Nobody knows how to travel quite like the billionaires on the Forbes 400. Sure, this crowd isn’t hitting hostels, mingling with the locals and doing all the stuff we say we prefer. They’re busy with butlers and maids and yachts and poetry readings (sorry, not joking on this one). You’re not going to get the “genuine” travel experience if you roll like the rich, but who the hell cares? The last thing I’d want is genuine if I had that kind of cash.

Interested in traveling like the insanely wealthy? After the jump, there are five simple steps to running with the big dogs when you tour the world. It’s not nearly as hard as you might think … as long as you have the cash to back it up.

1. Vacation homes are a must
Yes, there’s something to be said for the luxury of a hotel’s best penthouse with butler service, private dining and a special entrance. You don’t want to mix with the proletarians, after all. But, this type of travel means you’re not in control. Eventually, you’ll find boundaries. So, to travel like the insanely rich, buy vacation homes in the places you like best.

2. Yacht or not
Vacation homes are nice, especially when they’re on the water, but you’ll never get away from land. To dart out from your troubles – or a collapsing Ponzi scheme – you need a yacht. Right now, yacht sales are in the tank, so you can get a better price than you may expect. Keep in mind that this is a billionaire‘s game: don’t try to do it on the cheap. If you can’t afford a yacht (or simply don’t want one), you can always explain away your yachtlessness with something about seasickness or a penchant for other vices (like mistresses).

If you do go the yacht route, pimp it out properly. Rupert Murdoch took friends and families on a cruise to Alaska. Just in case that wasn’t enough, his sailboat is decked out with a “technogym,” deep-sea diving equipment and king-sized sleeping cabins.

Do it big.

3. Join a club
Rich people and clubs … crazy. It starts in college, with the likes of Skull and Bones, and by the time these kids become adults, they’re paying ridiculous sums of money just to be allowed to spend money on dinner and drinks. Michael Bloomberg, New York‘s mayor, belongs to the Game Creek Club in Vail, Colorado. The privilege involves a $50,000 initiation fee, but I imagine the grub is fantastic.

4. Have the right friends
Again, Mayor Mike does it right, golfing with Ross Perot and Silvio Berlusconi. They’re both unbelievably wealthy and turned to politics after amassing fortunes in the technology/media space. When you’re that rich, you need to travel with people like you. So, be prepared to trade in your old friends – it’s nothing personal.

5. Do weird stuff
We all know that billionaires are crazy. So, when you travel, you can’t resign yourself to sightseeing, beach-sitting and cocktail-sipping. You have to do something bizarre … because you can. Stephen Spielberg attended a cliff-side poetry reading on Ireland’s Aran Islands before touring the moors on a motorized bike. Oracle chief Larry Ellison prefers speed, flying around in a MiG 29.

$500 million yacht to match the half-billion dollar plane

A few days back we posted a story about a custom built Airbus A380 that was being built for Saudi prince al-Waleed bin Talal. With a steam room, a Turkish bath, and a concert hall (complete with baby grand piano), not to mention a full garage for the prince’s Rolls Royce, the plane clocked in at a cool half-billion dollars. Not to be outdone by this lavish vehicle, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has ordered a new Yacht that, when completed next year, will be the largest, and most expensive, private ship ever built.

The new ship is named the Eclipse and comes equipped with two helipads, an onboard luxury spa, swimming pool, and a mini submarine designed to work as an escape pod should the need arise. The 557-foot boat even has its own missile defense system and bullet proof windows, while the master cabin is surrounded in armor plating.

The Eclipse will only be the newest addition to Abramovich’s navy when it hits the high seas next year. He already has three other yachts, but they only range in size from 161 to 377 feet. Clearly he needed something larger. Experts believe that this newest vessel was designed with the intent of overshadowing, eclipsing if you will, the 525-foot yacht owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the leader of Dubai. And what does this wonderful new ship cost? Approximately $495 million.

Lets see. Russian businessman? Check! Massive private yacht equipped with missile system? Check! Seems like we have our villain for the next James Bond movie.



Cities packed with billionaires

It has happened. Moscow has beat New York as the city most packed with billionaires, according to this Forbes research. Whereas New York has only 71, Moscow is now home to 74 billionaires (and probably also 740,000 starving people, but that is beside the point.)

  1. Moscow – 74
  2. New York – 71
  3. London – 36
  4. Istanbul – 34
  5. Hong Kong – 30
  6. Los Angeles – 24
  7. Mumbai 20
  8. San Francisco – 19
  9. Dallas – 15 (tie)
  10. Tokyo – 15 (tie)

The one that got me was Istanbul. Istanbul? What’s so lucrative going on in Istanbul? Why not Dubai?

What strange things have been found on planes?

Click the image to read the bizarre story…