HomeAfrica/Middle East10 Unique Travel Experiences You Can Start Planning Now

10 Unique Travel Experiences You Can Start Planning Now

Virtuoso is a network of top luxury travel advisors. Last year, I was allowed to take part in a special track of presentations for the group’s travel advisors previewing the hottest luxury travel experiences you will be reading about – or if you read this issue, maybe you will experience them first hand.

1. Around the World with Geoffrey Kent: An Inspiring Expedition by Private Jet
2. A Private Estate Takeover on Lake Como
3. Take A Safari, Educate A Child In Africa
4. Origami Meets Augmented Reality
5. Safari Off The Beaten Path
6. Kayaking and Fine Dining in Patagonia
7. Tornado Chasing in a Luxury RV
8. Firing The Guns of HMS Belfast
9. A VIP Start To Your Australian Odyssey
10. A Luxury Residence in French Polynesia

1.  Around the World with Geoffrey Kent: An Inspiring Expedition by Private Jet

While Abercrombie & Kent has run over 50 private jet trips, in 2020 the company’s founder Geoffrey Kent is planning to personally escort this 26-day journey that will take advantage of its private Boeing 757 to visit places that would be hard to reach on commercial airlines.

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: A&K

Don’t worry that some of the places you will be visiting may not have luxury accommodations. “Whatever is missing we bring,” said Ann Epting, senior vice president of private jet and special interest travel. In some cases, it’s a quality bed linens. In other cases, it’s the beds! 

On this trip Chamba Camp Thiksey in India didn’t have enough luxury tents, so A&K is commissioning nine new ones that will be ready when its group arrives next fall. It usually takes about three years to plan an itinerary taking into account the logistics.

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: A&K

For this trip, you start in Seattle and fly to Kanazawa where you will have a private dining experience with geisha, then after visiting the war prison nicknamed the “Hanoi Hilton” in Vietnam, you will helicopter to a private yacht for a cruise of Ha Long Bay.

In Laos, you’ll be blessed by a monk, then jet off to the Maldives to go kayaking and fishing, and you’ll make stops in Eritrea, Benin and remote areas of Brazil before returning to New Orleans for a Mardi Gras-style celebration. Price is $160,000 per person, and the trip is already nearly sold out after going on sale just two weeks ago.

The full itinerary is here.

2. A Private Estate Takeover on Lake Como

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: Villa Pliniana

Dating from 1573, set against the base of a steep mountain, Villa Pliniana offers access by boat and helicopter, and spectacular 180 degrees views of Lake Como. You can play billiards on the same table as Napolean, one of its many famous guests, and so can your friends.

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: Villa Pliniana

The private resort is only available for full takeovers and its 17 bedrooms spread across several buildings accommodate 34 guests. It’s managed by same owners as nearby Il Sereno and Le Sereno in St. Barts. If you want, the team from Michelin star Ristorante Berton Al Lago will oversee your kitchen.

Because of the layout with different buildings, it’s ideal for smaller groups as well, however, the rate is 20,000 Euros per night either way.

3. Take A Safari, Educate A Child In Africa

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: Micato Safaris

For clients where private flights and iced bottles of Dom Perignon are not enough, Micato Safaris delivers trips “that completely remove any stress” said a company official. Voted nine times to Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best list, there is valet laundry service every day, everywhere.

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: Micato Safaris

Before you go, you provide your dietary preferences so all your meals will be aligned with what you like, even in the wilds of Africa, and yes, all vehicles have Wi-Fi. For every safari it sells, Micato funds the education for an African child.

4. Origami Meets Augmented Reality

If you are looking for something beyond the ordinary, Windows to Japan probably has the answer. Working exclusively through travel advisors, it creates one-off experiences around culture, food, and craft.

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: Windows to Japan

As an example, for one family that wanted to experience the juxtaposition of Japan’s strong traditions and modern technology, the company created an excursion where they learned the art of origami from a family that has been practicing it for more than 700 years before turning their works into an augmented reality app they could share with their friends.

Other experiences include learning how to create a Japanese garden, a session with calligraphy specialist, sword crafting, sumo, archery, bonsai making, and virtually any type of artist or expert matched to your interest.

5. Safari Off The Beaten Path

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: Wilderness Safaris

For those of you who have been there, done that, or aren’t driven to stay in Africa’s many highly regarded and sometimes hard to get a reservation at luxury lodges, Wilderness Safaris specializes in what it calls “the luxury of space and exclusivity.” Some of its camps are limited to as few as six guests at one time. Still, you will be pampered. There just won’t be many other people.

6. Kayaking and Fine Dining in Patagonia

Former investment banker Emmanuel Burgio combines his passion for Latin America and the Med – he’s French and his wife is from Argentina – with UNESCO World Heritage Sites, soft adventure and gourmet dining.

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: Blue Parallel

A recent private trip by Blue Parallel to Patagonia included riding horses, then kayaking to a remote beach where guests had a famous chef cook for them. Another trip included biking through Croatia’s wine country before dinner in a villa. Your change of clothes was of course transported and waiting for you so you could shower and freshen up first. “Outdoor adventure, white-glove service and privacy,” he told the advisors.

7. Tornado Chasing in a Luxury RV

For Excursionist, getting you backstage to meet the cast of Hamilton or a gourmet mountaintop lunch served by a Michelin star chef might be almost run-of-the-mill. 

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: Excursionist

In addition to tours of corporate headquarters such as Google and Facebook, or behind the scenes at the Supreme Court, consider glamping in National Park or something it recently pulled off for the CEO of a major company, tornado chasing in a luxury RV with an expert who advised in making the movie Twister.

8. Firing The Guns of HMS Belfast

London-based NoteWorthy specializes in the U.K., Ireland and Paris and its tricks including getting clients front row seats and viewing at major Royal and sold-out sports events.

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: Noteworthy

The destination specialist can arrange for you to actually fire one of the guns on HMS Belfast and while you’re doing so, they’ll raise your own personal flag to the top of this most significant surviving WWII Royal warship, now docked on the Thames in Central London.

Of course, that’s just the start. The company can arrange private visits with many notable figures, you just have to ask discreetly. “We have a very interesting black book of contacts,” Nicola Butler, owner of NoteWorthy told me.

9. A VIP Start To Your Australian Odyssey

Most flights from the U.S. to Australia arrive around six o’clock in the morning, and unless you want to pay for the night before, with high occupancy rates at Sydney’s top luxury hotels, chances are you will be snoozing in an armchair in the lobby.

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

Instead, let Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley pick you up at the airport in a helicopter and whisk you 30 minutes to its rustic location on the Great Dividing Range between the Wollemi National Park and the Gardens of Stone National Park, within the World Heritage-listed Greater Blue Mountains.

The 4,413 sq. ft. Wolgan Villa will give you plenty of space to relax and unwind and work off the jet lag with hikes through the brush, horseback riding, biking, bird watching, a private campfire under the stars, and maybe a trip to its award-winning spa. You even have your own private pool (pictured below).

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley

James Wyndham, the resort’s general manager says you’ll also be able to skip Sydney’s famous zoo, having seen a good deal of Oz’s famous wildlife while you were unwinding and getting ready for your Down Under adventure.

10. A Luxury Residence in French Polynesia

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: The Brando

To visit The Brando in French Polynesia you have to take a 20-minute flight from Papeete. And while the luxury villas on the sustainable island where Marlon Brando once lived have won shelves of awards, the new 3,000 sq. ft. three-bedroom Brando Residence takes things to the next level providing a full luxury home experience.

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: The Brando

There’s even a fourth bedroom for nannies or your own personal chef if that’s how you travel. Don’t worry about mosquitoes or pesticides typically used in many places. The resort releases sterile males and after they mate, you won’t be bothered to put it politely.

Out of the ordinary vacations
Credit: The Brando

There’s a minimum stay of two nights and five nights during the festive season. The nightly rate for the residence starts at 15,000 Euros. Of course, even spa treatments are included.

Doug Gollanhttp://douggollandotcom.wordpress.com
I am Editor-in-Chief of Private Jet Card Comparisons and DG Amazing Experiences, and a Contributor to Forbes.com.
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