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Luxury Travel: What a Million-Dollar Vacation Looks Like

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Imagine planning a vacation with a $1 million budget. While for some of us, this will remain a dream, it’s still fun to know what you could get for that kind of money when booking travel, accommodations and experiences.

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GOBankingRates spoke to travel experts to get their picks for the best travel experiences money can buy.

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Travel Like a Millionaire

You won’t be flying coach on a million-dollar vacation. Here are some of the best ways to travel in style.

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TCS World Travel Jet Expeditions

Kim Parizek, a travel curator with Boutique Travel Advisors, recommends TCS World Travel as the best way to get from Point A to Point B — and everywhere in between — when there’s a million-dollar budget available.

“TCS is an all-inclusive small group jet expedition for ultra-luxurious travelers who want a seamless trip to the most exotic, unique destinations,” she said. “The entire trip is curated down to the smallest detail.”

The expeditions include not only private jet access, but also a perfectly planned luxury itinerary.

“The hotels are ultra-luxurious, and the meals are authentic and private for the group,” Parizek said. “Guests delve deep into a culture without the obstacles of customs and immigration to pass. If the destination requires visas, this is all accomplished behind the scenes with the TCS team. The guests can also expect their luggage to be managed behind the scenes by ground personnel during their journey.”

In addition to providing a hassle-free trip, there is staff ready to meet every need.

“Another benefit is that a doctor travels with the group to assist with any health concerns,” Parizek said. “Emergency medicine travels with the doctor, so the clients’ health needs are met on demand. In addition, the flight crew is the same throughout the journey and learns the preferences of food and drink during the flights for each guest.”

These trips start at around $100,000 per person, so for a million dollars, you can treat nine of your friends and family members to the experience.

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Abercrombie & Kent Private Jet Vacation

This private jet experience also affords high-end travelers the ability to see the world as only a VIP can.

“This vacation is hosted once per year for 30 to 40 people, and is generally about 20 days with seven to eight stops — one on each continent usually — at locations that are either hard to get to or are not traveled to easily by ‘normal’ people,” said Emily, a former travel agent and founder of The Female Abroad. “Every year the itinerary is completely different, so you could take this trip each year and never see the same location twice. The ‘private jet’ is a custom 757 Boeing with lie-flat seats, in-seat massagers, custom entertainment and more.”

The next trip is slated for May 6-29, 2023, for 48 people and will visit Japan, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Uzbekistan, Abu Dhabi, Jordan and Sicily. The trip includes a helicopter ride around Everest, private dinners and concerts, and more. The experience costs $153,900 per person.

“These trips are made for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation and they sell out every single year,” Emily said. “If you have the money, this is the trip you want to do.”

For a million dollars, you can bring five friends or family members along for the ride.

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Belmond Venice Simplon Orient-Express

If private jets aren’t your thing, perhaps a luxury train vacation is the way to go. If that’s the case, the Orient-Express should be part of your plans.

“For travelers interested in taking a historic travel route, the famed Belmond Venice Simplon Orient-Express takes you across Europe on the most luxurious train in the world,” said Louise Walker, managing editor of the luxury magazine AGLAIA. “The more luxurious the cabin you choose, the higher the price.”

Grand suites start at 7,350 British pounds ($8,488) per person and include 24-hour butler service, unlimited champagne and private in-cabin dining. On a million-dollar budget, you can easily travel with a family of four and have plenty of budget left over for private jets to transport you to and from the start and finish of the train journey.

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Indian Pacific Train

If you’ll be heading Down Under, consider the Indian Pacific train, which travels from Sydney to Perth.

“The Indian Pacific features a platinum class cabin costing north of $5,000,” said Stephen Au, a travel industry analyst at UpgradedPoints.com. “It offers the ultimate in luxury as you travel across the Australian landscape. All meals and alcohol are included, including a number of off-train excursions, and each includes a private cabin with a private bathroom. It’s an ultra-luxurious train that allows you to see parts of Australia you normally can’t see unless you drive.”

To fill out your million-dollar budget, don’t forget to factor in flights, and consider extending your stay in Australia at the Park Hyatt Sydney (more on that next!).

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Aqua Mare Super Yacht

There’s no more luxurious way to experience the Galapagos Islands than the Aqua Mare super yacht, which can accommodate up to 16 guests. The yacht features unique social spaces, seven designer suites and a one-to-one crew-to-guest ratio. And there’s no shortage of things to do on board.

“Relax and unwind in the jacuzzi, or work out on the sundeck,” said Danielle Riddle, co-founder and CEO of the Vancouver-based corporate travel agency Inspired Travel Group. “Enjoy gourmet dining by award-winning Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, paired with curated South American wines. The Aqua Mare is the perfect reprieve after a day of exploration.”

While you can book individual suites, with a million-dollar budget, you’re better off chartering the whole yacht.

“You will have each and every one of the luxury suites to choose from — not to mention the opportunity for an even more refined and tailored experience specifically designed to suit your needs and wishes,” Riddle said.

The cost to reserve a private charter for up to 16 guests is priced starting at $26,500 per night.

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©2016 Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic Space Flight

What could be a more out-of-this-world travel experience than a flight to space?

“If I had to take a no-budget, unique and newsworthy vacation, it would be a space tour,” said Axel Hernborg, CEO of the travel website Tripplo. “It is without a doubt adventurous and expensive, hence making for a perfect ultra-luxurious vacation.”

A 90-minute flight on Virgin Galactic will set you back $450,000, so you can have a friend or loved one tag along for the ride on a $1 million budget.

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Where To Stay: Five-Star Hotels and Private Islands

With a million-dollar budget, you can stay at the best hotels and resorts in the world boasting unbelievable amenities, or even stay on your own private island. Here are some of the most luxurious accommodations you can find.

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Como Laucala Island

Gabriella Horvath, an independent travel advisor and founder of Now or Never Travel, recommends Como Laucala Island for a private island stay in Fiji.

“It’s one of the most luxurious resorts in Fiji,” she said.

Each private villa has its own lounge, private pool, sundecks and outdoor baths. You also have access to a personal assistant who can make arrangements for activities, bring you room service and more.

Accommodations start at $5,600 per night. On a million-dollar budget, you can host 10 of your friends on a 17-day trip.

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Necker Island

AGLAIA’s Walker recommends a stay on Richard Branson’s private island, Necker Island.

“For travelers who enjoy the beach and water activities, you can’t go wrong with booking a trip to Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands,” she said. “Necker Island is one of the most exclusive private islands in the world, offering incredible dining experiences, plenty of activities, legendary events and a deep commitment to conservation.”

You can book the whole island for up to 48 guests for $128,000 per night, which means you can stay for a week if you have $1 million to spare.

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Park Hyatt, Sydney

UpgradedPoints.com’s Au said that this hotel is “the go-to hotel for luxury in Sydney. It sits in a perfect viewing spot to see the Sydney Opera House,” he said.

On a million-dollar budget, you can get those rooms with a view.

“You can easily spend several thousand a night on suites that have unobstructed views of the city and Opera House,” Au said.

But you also get top-of-the-line service in addition to the views.

“Staff at this hotel represent the ultimate in luxury — they remember your name as you walk through the halls, many rooms include private butler service and the restaurants on-site include gorgeous views of the city,” Au said.

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The Muraka, Maldives

With a million-dollar budget, you can experience sleeping underwater at your own private villa in The Maldives.

“The Conrad’s two-level, first-of-its-kind luxury villa offers not only panoramic above-sea island views, but also stunning under-the-sea views too,” said Inspired Travel Group’s Riddle. “Located more than 16 feet below sea level in The Maldives, the Muraka is a true luxury treat for the senses. Under the sea, accessible by elevator, you will enter your private underwater aquarium, ready to retreat to as you so desire. Enjoy the 180-degree curved acrylic dome views over your palatial king bed, along with floor-to-ceiling glass windows in the bathroom and closet.

“Then for a change of scenery, upstairs offers an integrated space for living, dining, sleeping and entertaining, along with an expansive deck complete with a stunning infinity pool for prime sunset viewing.”

The amenities are also top-of-the-line.

“Your luxury experience at the Muraka includes a private butler and chef, an on-call fitness trainer and spa treatments, tailored experiences and two jet skis — the ultimate in fun, relaxation, indulgence and pampering on this glorious sun-soaked atoll in The Maldives,” Riddle said.

Rates start at $9,999 per night, so you can afford an extended stay when you have $1 million to play with.

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Exclusive VIP Tours and Priceless Experiences

When money is no object, you can unlock the doors to some of the most famous places across the world and experience some of the most beautiful places as only the wealthy can. Add these on to your luxury travel and accommodations to make the most of your million-dollar vacation.

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Private Buckingham Palace Tour

Experience Buckingham Palace as a VIP with an exclusive, private behind-the-scenes tour when it is closed to the public. When you make this splurge, you’ll literally be treated like royalty.

“Be granted the type of access normally only appointed to a visiting head of state or personal guest of the [King],” said Valerie Edman, luxury travel advisor and agency owner at Cultured Travel LLC. “Enjoy being personally escorted by a senior curator through more than the standard 18 staterooms and enjoy champagne in the Marble Hall.”

Edman said a tour like this can cost in the thousands.

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Private Vatican Museum Tour

For VIP access at the Vatican, Now or Never Travel’s Horvath recommends opting for a private tour that will set you back about $300 per person. With a private tour, you can tailor what you see to your interests to truly maximize your time there.

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Hot-Air Balloon Ride in Loire Valley, France

See the Loire Valley from new heights with this luxurious experience recommended by Horvath. Expect to pay about $250 per person.

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Private Helicopter Ride Above the Matterhorn in Switzerland

Horvath also recommends this private helicopter tour, which costs about $5,600 for up to four guests.

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VIP Access to a Formula 1 Race

If you’d rather get your thrills from the sidelines, this one-of-a-kind race experience is worth the splurge.

“For an ultra-exclusive experience at a Formula 1 race, I have promoted highly coveted invitations to my clients to be team guests of various F1 teams,” said Boutique Travel Advisors’ Parizek. “It is a ‘pay to play’ scenario. The VIP invitation affords the spectator the most thrilling location above the raceway, where they are in a position to view the action at the pit stops during the race. The VIP hospitality package also gives guests access to the private team paddock for the entire event over the weekend. During the race weekend, there will be driver appearances, garage tours, pit lane walks, gourmet food, premium alcohol and exclusive team gifting.”

The VIP package also includes five-star hotel stays and private daily chauffeured transfers to and from the race. As for the cost, “the packages started at $26,500 per person in 2022 for the European races,” Parizek said. “The Mexico City F1 team invitations began at $10,000 per person this year.”

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