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Amazing Experiences Meant for a Splurge

By Adam Erace

  • PUBLISHED March 13
  • |

When money is no object, experience and rarity are the real treats. So: what makes your heart flutter? Your brain melt with delight? 

Now that you’ve put away funds for retirement and taken care of everything else that’s important financially, it’s time to splurge. We’ve come up with a list of amazing experiences listed from manageably expensive to eye-poppingly extravagant. 

Cruise the Pacific Coast Highway in a 1% Car: $380
California’s Highway 1, one of the most iconic and scenic ribbons of road in the country, reopened last year after more than a year of closures. The Quail Moto Rally Experience from Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel puts you in the driver’s seat of a Maserati GranTurismo, 1955 Ford Mustang, Audi R8 Spyder, Rolls Royce Phantom or a dozen other classic and luxury cars. The Coastal Gourmet Rally is an 83-mile ride along the PCH up to the famous Post Ranch Inn for lunch.

Sleep in a Geodesic Bubble at the Foot of a Bolivian Volcano: $3,960
You may not be able to vacation on the moon, but Kachi Lodge in western Bolivia strikes a compelling comparison. The hotel is composed of geodesic pods sprouting like sci-fi mushrooms from the Uyuni Salt Flats around Tunupa Volcano, and while the environment is spare and lunar, the bubbles are luxurious with plush bedding and private baths. Price is for a two-night minimum stay for two.

Unwind Like a First-Century Japanese Emperor: $8,792
When Emperor Uda, ruler of Japan from 887 to 897, wanted to relax, he headed to the Ninna-Ji Temple in Kyoto. Surrounded by cherry blossom trees, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is not a hotel—but Inside Japan Tours can arrange an overnight stay for up to five guests. The exclusive experience includes butler service, a private tour of the temple, tea ceremony at the emperor’s teahouse, gagaku performance, fire ritual, dinner in the emperor’s palace and vegetarian breakfast prepared by the temple’s Buddhist monks in the morning.

Walk Across the Serengeti on an Analog Safari: $10,000
No social media, no vehicles, no plunge pools or butlers. The Great Serengeti Traverse, organized by Mauritius-based outfitter Mark Thornton, spans 10 days and 60-ish miles completely on foot. Expert guides lead you through the backcountry savannas, where days photographing leopard-bedecked trees and dueling giraffes melt into nights of campfires and cold beers. This is the low-footprint, intimate, unforgettable way to safari.

Don’t Rent the Villa; Rent the Island: $23,500
Guana Island doesn’t have quite the ring of other British Virgin Island escapes like Prickly Pear Island, Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda, but the 850-acre private hideaway makes up for it in natural beauty. The island is a shaggy green inkblot in the Caribbean, with powdery beaches and turquoise coves tucked between each finger of land. You (and 34 friends) get the run of the place for a starting price of less than $25 grand, inclusive of meals by El Bulli-trained chef Xavi Arnau.

See 63 Ports in 30 Countries Aboard Seven Seas: $66,799
Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ recently renovated Seven Seas Mariner embarks on a 131-night around-the-world journey in January 2020. You start in Miami and end back there a third of a year later; in between you’ll visit Fiji, Australia, Egypt, Thailand, Panama, Monaco, Jordan, Singapore, Bermuda and 21 other nations. First-class, round-trip air and unlimited shore excursions are included in the price.
If you don’t yet have the funds to bankroll these splurges, remember that savings add up. Open your own mad money bank account and start working toward your own goals.


Adam Erace is a freelance food and travel writer based in Philadelphia. His work has appeared in Men's Journal, Fortune, Food & Wine and over 50 other publications.

Illustrations by Michael Crampton.

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