What’s better than business class? And much, much better than the tour buses of old?
Private jets, obviously, and a growing number of brands are marrying the age-old travel tour to the economic realities of 2016 — which suggests that for high-end travelers, too much is never enough.
Below, four of the most grandiose jet tours on earth.
Better bring your folding money.
If you like Four Seasons hotels, you will almost undoubtedly be interested in the Toronto-based hotelier’s new “Private Jet Experiences,” which fly guests between international destinations (and, predictably, Four Seasons guest rooms). The 25-day “Extraordinary Adventures” trip, for example, kicks off in Austin, touches down in Lana’i, Sydney, Langkawi, Mauritius and Tanzania (among others), and will set you back $137,000. Other themed private jet trips focus on “Culinary Discoveries” (traveling to Seoul, Chiang Mai, Copenhagen, etc.) and “International Intrigue” (stopping in Beijing, the Maldives, St. Petersburg and elsewhere).
Africa’s best luxury safari outfitter has just debuted their “Private Jet Expeditions” of the continent’s most beautiful destinations, with just nine clients on an Embraer 145 Pilatus PC12 and, where necessary, a helicopter. Choose between 15 days in East Africa, a 19-day tour across the continent or two weeks in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia (a bargain at $75,000). Expect a mix of shark-cage diving, waterfall sightseeing and safari.
Got 10 days free in early December? Want to experience New Zealand’s best golf courses (with the possibility of an extension to the very trendy island of Tasmania) in comfort? Kalos Golf can hook that up, with its 10-13 day tour of the country’s best golf courses, from The Hills in Queenstown (“home to three New Zealand Opens and the most exclusive course in New Zealand”) to Julian Robertson’s Kauri Cliffs on the North Island. In between rounds, expect the best the country has to offer, from helicopter tours of the staggeringly beautiful Milford Sound to the Art Deco capital of Napier. Travel between destinations is by chartered jet, with an upper limit of 44 guests.
If cruising on actual water doesn’t offer a sufficiently luxurious experience (despite what the New York Times might have to say on the matter), high-end line Crystal Cruises will soon have an option for you: round-the-world tours on a Boeing 777-200LR (redesigned with “customized VIP interiors” with flat-bed seats, plus “a swanky bar”) or a 787-8 Dreamliner (reconfigured to fit 52 passengers, rather than the standard 300). The monthlong, $100,000 tour will take in 9-10 stops, “where the travelers will be able to get a whistle-stop tour of key attractions, just like they'd do if they were on a traditional sea cruise.” Save some cash with a two-week tour for half the price, but book now: Crystal AirCruises is currently enlisting participants for 2017, and space won’t last.