Talking travel with founder of

I’m here with Mark Jolly, founder and editor of globorati, the top luxury travel site for the stylish jet set. Mark is also a contributing editor at Conde Nast Traveler, having reported from over 60 countries and lived on four continents. He’s here to talk about everything from which diamond-infused lotion is appropriate for your next getaway to Miami to the next big luxury destination (in South America, but not Brazil or Argentina).

globorati has covered some pretty over-the-top vacation packages. Are such experiences becoming more prevalent. What are some particularly extravagant ones coming up?

Most of what globorati covers is focused on useful, up-to-the-moment stories that capture the thrill and beauty of travel. But every now and again we’ll run something on a big-ticket, through-the-roof, ultra-luxe experience. The sort of stuff I call “sick travel” – stuff like a $700 breakfast at the new Ritz-Carlton Moscow, or a $30,000 private-jet expedition to Antarctica, or a $50,000 one-night package at the Four Seasons Miami (the massage uses lotion infused with ground diamonds). The other day, we ran a story on a $1 million vacation to Dubai. You can file that one under “vacations for the cash-rich, sense-poor traveler.”

What’s been the cushiest trip you’ve ever splurged on?

Sounds like an odd thing to say, but I’m a professional traveler: I normally get paid to travel and experience different cultures. The most singular journey I’ve ever taken has to be the Concorde. The experience was a thing of beauty: the captain invited me to sit in the cockpit, and from my seat, at 60,000 feet, I saw a panoramic sky that was an incomparably richer, darker blue than anything I’d seen at subsonic altitude. And at 23 miles-per-minute, I could make out the curvature of the earth. For the foreseeable future there’s absolutely nothing in commercial aviation that will come close to the Concorde.
There’s been a rise in luxury accommodations in some very unexpected places: Easter Island, Antarctica, Bhutan. Are there any particular cases that come up in your mind?

Welcome to “extreme luxury.” We’re seeing the term used more and more now, and by some measure it relates to those once-in-a-lifetime adrenaline adventures that come with the pampering and the personalized attention usually reserved for five-star experience. Some of the set-ups that have caught globorati’s attention are the no- to low-footprint projects sprinkled throughout the world’s remote destinations. Malikha Lodge, for example, is Myanmar’s only upscale retreat in the foothills of the Himalayas and backs on to Asia’s largest tiger reserve. Perfect Earth Tours has a hideaway in the Yukon, which touts “the world’s first organic canvas teepees,” with queen-size beds and private bathrooms. Abercrombie & Kent – which has a whole new program dedicated to extreme adventures starting this fall – has even created the world’s first wilderness camp in Antarctica.

Glamping, jetrosexuals, flashpackers, and of course, Globoratis. Can you help us sort out these demographics?

It’s funny how fixated the media is on the new buzzwords of luxury travel.

Our first big media splash was a New York Post piece that interviewed us about glamping, and since then, that’s normally been the first thing people ask us! is though, I concede, part of the circus too: I concocted the name as a way to allude to a new breed of luxury traveler who values the experience, not the price tag, of the world’s best travel possibilities. You’ve got the glitterati, the literati and now the globorati – whom I like to think of as stylish, intellectually curious world travelers rather than big-ticket consumers.

Tell us a bit about how you came to start You already landed your cushy gig at CNT right?

I still wear my contributing-editor cap for Conde Nast Traveler and, even after 10 years, it’s a privilege to be given the resources and trust to explore a destination so thoroughly. But there’s no escaping the fact it’s a monthly magazine. The world of luxury travel moves much faster than that and so I wanted to find a voice that spoke to those travelers searching for a daily scoop on the world’s hottest new hotels and travel experiences. Before globorati there was absolutely nowhere for people to go for this.

Speaking of cushy gigs, how did you get your start in travel writing? I heard that you’ve never accepted a guide book commission. Is that an overrated path to cracking into travel journalism?

I wrote my first paid travel story in college, when I was the editor of Oxford’s magazine, Isis – I got a university travel grant to hitch-hike from New Hampshire to New Mexico and write about the experience. But there’s this misguided notion that the path to travel writing is routed through travel. I believe the key is the lonely, exacting, painstaking discipline of writing. And rewriting. And rewriting.

If we’re talking about getting into and learning the craft of travel journalism, I’d say guidebook writing isn’t so much overrated as it is pointless. (The fact it’s poorly paid is a separate issue altogether.) The craft of quality travel journalism is based on the same writing and reporting rudiments common to all feature journalism, and there’s little way to learn that from filing a book full of listings (of course some guidebooks offer more than this but the foundation of all guidebooks is really the listings element).

What’s the next big luxury destination/region?

Peru has lain for a long time in the shadows of its two sexier neighbors, Brazil and Argentina. But now the smart-set is waking up to Peru’s riches beyond Machu Picchu.

What about three trends you see in this upscale market?

The growth of green travel and the rising cost of air travel will be even bigger stories in 2009. But what’s interesting is how these two factors have sparked the romance of train travel again. The Eurostar has dramatically reversed the air-domination of journeying from London to Paris. And just look at Spain: the new high-speed train from Madrid to Barcelona has already stolen one-fifth of Iberia’s business. In the luxe market, we’re seeing more and more one-of-a-kind train journeys – often billed as overland “cruises” – which pile on the pampering and customized services but without the guilt of longhaul air travel. This includes the new Danube Express, the Great Brazil Express (Brazil’s first ever luxury train), and Australia’s coast-to-coast Platinum service on Great Southern Rail.

And lastly, what are some tips you have for pulling off a luxury trip without breaking the bank?

Isolate which is the one experience you value most when you travel: where you eat or where you lay your head or how you get there or whatever… and then splurge on that one thing as you tighten the budget everywhere else. For my firs
t time in Venice I decided I had to book a romantic room right on the Grand Canal, despite the cost. But we ate cheap, walked everywhere and ditched the gondola option. It was heaven.

Tools for Removing Ticks

Anytime I go camping, I inevitably find myself traipsing through dense woods in a search for firewood. Camping season is, unfortunately, also tick season, and it’s rare to get back to the tent and not find a few of those nasty buggers latched onto my skin. Typically I spend some time hunting about my body, picking them off with varied success. They’re pretty tough to get off!

Kevin Kelly’s got a few good recommendations when it comes to tick removal: the Tick Twister and the Trix Tick Remover. The Tick Twister works by getting between your skin (or your dog’s) and the tick, and twisting it out of its death grip, while the Trix Tick uses a lasso to wrangle the tick off of your skin (seriously).

Check out KK’s reviews:

The Original Canopy Chair

It’s amazing how fast those collapsible camping chairs came down in price. It seems like only a few years ago I picked one up for $20 or $30, and now you can find them two-for-$10 at Wal-Mart. Granted, they’re poorly constructed at that price, but you get what you pay for.

If you’re willing to splurge a bit, Renetto has what they call the Canopy Chair. This comfy cousin to the cheapo is equipped with dual cup holders and a sun-blocking canopy attached to the back — perfect for your next camping trip. I just might have to get me one.

The Original Canopy Chair is available from Renetto for $49. [via]

Keep Your Gadgets Charged on the Beach

Reware is selling what they call the “world’s first heavy-duty solar beach tote” called the Juice Bag. The tote has an ultra-thin solar panel built into the side which harnesses the power of the sun and converts it into juice for your cellphone, digital camera, sombrero, or other gadgets you may bring to the beach to ruin with sand. Unfortunately it will not charge your laptop, as the solar panel’s power ratings are too low to feed the juice a laptop requires. As a bonus, you can remove the solar panel from the side and use it independently from the bag.

$249 from Reware. [via]

Must-Haves for your iPhone Camp Out

Are you planning to camp out next week for an iPhone? If so, you need to be prepared. Gone are the days of sleeping on sidewalks in the rain, or suffering in the heat. You need your iPhone, and you’re not afraid to wait for it in whatever Mother Nature decides to give. Here are a bunch of accessories to make your parking-lot camp out more comfortable, safe, and high-tech.

You’ll need somewhere to sleep, and access to power for charging all your gadgets is a must, so bring along a tent with power. The N!ergy tent from Eurekaintegrates three factory-installed 12-volt outlets inside,” and runs off of a portable, rechargeable battery. If you don’t need power, but still want light, check out Wood’s Solar-Powered EZ-Tent. This eco-friendly abode “features a removable, 7-inch solar panel on the top of the tent’s hub; 4-6 hours of direct light yields 2-4 hours of tent light.”

Even with a tent, the concrete won’t be soft. You most definitely need a camping mattress. The Therm-A-Rest is “a lightweight blowup mattress which is perfect for backpacking. It is less than an inch thick but somehow manages to absorb the painful ground so that you don’t have to.” And if that’s too wimpy for you, try the Aero Sport All-Terrain Raised Bed with Dual Power Pump, “the Cadillac of such mattresses.”

Never again will you have to rely on your line neighbor to save your spot on bathroom breaks. Bring along the best portable toilet money can by, the BioToi. “
Hygienic and environmentally friendly, each BioToi system comes with a roll of Bio-Bag waste bags, which are 100% biodegradable and 100% compostable. To use the system, simply thread the bags around the rim of the toilet seat, and do your business. When you’re finished, tie off the bag and pack it out. Each bag is certified to decompose to a humus state within 40 days when placed in a controlled compost environment.”

I know you probably won’t be showering, but please try to brush your teeth a few times. Prepasted toothbrushes are the way to go, and the ReadyBrush is your best bet. “All you need to do is wet the bristles and the [built in] toothpaste is activated.” Genius!

You need to eat, so why not cook it yourself? The WoodGas camp stove — a revolution in outdoor cooking — “uses 90% less fuel than ordinary stoves; and burns almost any plant-based fuel.” Or you could bring along the Wavebox, a “rugged, portable lunchbox that’s also a microwave.” You can either plug this into a standard outlet, clip it onto a car battery, or plug it into a cigarette lighter. Still too much for you? Bring along a self-heating dinner. “These package meals come with a nifty button that automatically heats up the meal in ten minutes when pressed. And they don’t need to be refrigerated.” Don’t forget the frozen drinks! Whip up a quick margarita with the Daiquiri Whacker, a portable, gas-powered blender. Be careful though — local laws may keep you from having an open container of alcohol in public. (Get the booze-holding sandal instead!)

Safety is important. You don’t want your precious credit card to go missing after spending days in line, so keep it in a TravelSafe pouch. “Featuring a slashproof skin and a high-tensile stainless steel cable with a padlock that cinches tight, the TravelSafe can be locked to pretty much anything.” Once you finally get your paws on the iPhone, attach an Xscream to the box. “This carabiner-like device is really nothing more than a portable yell-box. It clips easily on a purse or backpacker and when danger approaches one simply presses the button and out comes a 120-decibel scream. This will either frighten the thief off, or irritate him so badly he will beat you until you start screaming equally as loud.” If you’re bringing along a laptop (and I know you are), try stashing your credit cards and cash in the Stashcard, a safe that slides into an open PCMCIA/PC Card slot.

Am I missing anything?

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