At a time when the coronavirus has hit the travel industry with a 70 percent drop in bookings and what could be several years of pain ahead until things normalize, you’d think vacation deals would be easy to come by.
For more run-of-the-mill type trips, that might be the case, as airlines offer promos like buy-one-get-one to help fill empty seats. But for those high-end travelers looking for that once-in-a-lifetime, cost-is-no-object adventure, discounts are nowhere to be found.
For example, OceanGate Expeditions recently announced it was accepting applications to take a few lucky people along in its submarine to survey and catalog the wreckage of the Titanic two-and-a-half miles below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.
For a cool $125,000, the Everett, Washington-based firm is booking six 10-day missions that will give up to nine qualified citizen scientists a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore and experience this historic memorial site through a 21-inch porthole.
Like most things, certain restrictions apply – and in this case, they’re mostly around health and assumption of risk. But seats are still available for trips that will run from May to October 2021.
“More people summit Everest in a day than have ever seen the Titanic,” OceanGate Expeditions President Stockton Rush said in announcing the trips.
Been There, Done That
For those who aren’t sensitive to price, choosing a truly unforgettable getaway destination is literally about a world of choice, with options ranging from the posh to peculiar.
According to Black Tomato, a transformative travel service that arranges exclusive vacations to meet a variety of lifetime needs and events, there are several private islands, private yachts and private planes available all over the world if isolation (and maybe COVID avoidance) are your goal.
But then again, there are also the experiential trips that enable intrepid travelers to literally go where no one else has before – and for this, Black Tomato posts its list of top 10 unusual trips, which cost anywhere from $7,000 to $13,000 (excluding flights).
Among the unusual options, fearless and well-funded travelers can go face-to-face with gorillas in Rwanda, explore the moonscape salt flats of Lake Minchin in Bolivia, or ski beneath the northern lights in the Arctic Circle.
At the other end of the spectrum, well-heeled tourists can take over the entire 12-bedroom, 18,000-square-foot Royal Penthouse Suite at the Hotel President Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland for a cool $81,000 a night (taxes and gratuities not included).
While numerous heads of state and celebrities have also stayed at this lakefront destination, the list is not that long, and guests can still boast to friends that they slept in Europe’s largest and most expensive hotel “room.”
Now You See It …
Another way to ensure that your trip is never copied by your neighbors is to go somewhere that might not be around forever. To that point, Lonely Planet has put together six bucket-list destinations that are at risk of disappearing due to climate change.
Among the melting/sinking/submerging world wonders facing extinction are Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord glacier and the barely-above-sea level Maldives in the Indian Ocean.
Such adventures should keep tourists far away from COVID-risky crowds.