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The most out-of-this-world experiences money can buy


Live out your dreams

Take the phrase 'once in a lifetime' and put it on steroids – that’s what today’s luxury concierges, cutting-edge technologies and bespoke tour operators are offering for the lucky few. From (literally) out-of-this world space travel and remote underwater excursions, to mind-bending opportunities which test the very limits of human existence, it seems there’s almost nothing left that money can’t buy.

Tread in the footsteps of Antarctic explorers

For those wishing to explore regions that few have been to before, a trip to Antarctica might just fit the bill. Several luxury tour operators enable you to travel to the southernmost point of the world, explore the legendary Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station (named after the two explorers who competed to reach the South Pole back in 1911), and follow in the footsteps of famous explorers.

What it’ll cost you…

Jacada’s luxury Antarctic trip will set you back at least $65,000 – though that’s including Antarctic treks led by professional polar explorers, ice cave exploration, kite-skiing, ice climbing, a flight over the South Pole and private viewing of an emperor penguin colony. Oh, and specialist flights, concierge service and luxury accommodation are all included in the 11-day, once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Unearth the remains of the Titanic

Whether you’re a history buff or a fan of the hit movie, the tragic sinking of the Titanic in 1912 still fascinates many. Fans will be able to get up close and personal with the very eerie remains of the abandoned cruise liner, on one of a few rare and exclusive scuba-diving trips taking place in 2019 and 2020. Heading 4,000 metres underwater in a specially-designed submersible, tourists can see all corners of the legendary ship.

What it’ll cost you…

Luxury private tour operator Blue Marble is offering the tour with specially developed, expert equipment – but it won’t come cheap. In order to participate, you’ll have to be willing to part with a staggering $100,000 to fund the eight-day trip, which includes return flights from Newfoundland, Canada and three days of training, followed by three days of diving with expert guides.

Explore the depths of the ocean in your own submarine

Want to take underwater exploration to new depths? Do so in your very own private submarine, perfect for thrill-seekers and explorers who are desperate to uncover the mysteries of the deep. Many models now feature clear domes and can travel up to 2,300 metres underwater, allowing you 360-degree vision and the ability to explore greater depths than ever before.

What it’ll cost you…

A personal submarine can cost anything from $1.2 million to $38 million, depending on factors such as capacity, size, battery life and endurance. Companies such as Triton sell personal submarines, with the likes of billionaire tycoons James Cameron, Richard Branson and Microsoft’s co-founder Paul Allen attracted to personal submarine travel.

Have your own James Bond experience in an amphibious car

Submarines are cool, sure, but what about a car that can drive on land and underwater? For your very own James Bond moment, it’s now possible to buy a sports car that can cruise across roads and, at the pull of a lever, submerge you underwater, with help from water jets, scuba tanks and propellers. The future is here…

What it’ll cost you…

Hammacher Schlemmer sells the amphibious car, inspired by the submarine Lotus Esprit which Bond drives in The Spy Who Loved Me, for a not-so-modest price of $2 million. However, for 007 fanatics who just can’t get enough of cool tech, it’s a small price to pay for such an out-of-this-world experience.

Enjoy an exclusive concert from your favourite star

A private gig from your lifetime idol sounds like a dream for many, but if you’re willing to shell out a hefty sum it might be closer than you think. Artists don’t tend to brag about these gigs, but many have performed them – not least due to the handsome pay checks they can offer.

What it’ll cost you…

It’s hard to put a price on it but reported costs for booking a big-name artist are anything from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions. In one lavish example, David Brooks, CEO of defence company DHB industries, allegedly paid $10 million for Aerosmith, Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks (among others) to perform at his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah to around 300 guests. While billionaire Indian business tycoon Mukesh Ambani hired Beyoncé to perform at his daughter's wedding for a reported $3-4 million.

Rent your own private island

If you hanker after luxury travel but want a secluded experience, renting an island is the ultimate treat. With numerous options available, from the Seychelles to the Maldives, Fiji to Madagascar, you can explore beautiful locations and dazzling oceans. Many island rental packages also offer butlers, private chefs, secluded coves and exclusive tours.

What it’ll cost you…

Unsurprisingly, private island rental doesn’t come cheap – according to Private Islands Inc., a small 2.5-acre island off the coast of Belize starts at around $3,950 per night – although larger islands can cost upwards of $150,000. However, when costs are split between a group, it may seem like a relatively small price to pay for such a unique and luxurious experience.

Have a private sandbank experience

If you dream of falling asleep under the stars to the sounds of gentle waves, turns out there are ways to do so now without compromising on luxury. Travel companies such as Milaidhoo offer the chance to stay on a private sandbank, with a four-poster bed, candles and battery-powered tealights creating a romantic atmosphere.

What it’ll cost you…

Try the Sleeping Under the Stars experience at Milaidhoo from $3,000, where you can opt for a private butler, bespoke four-course dinner and yacht thrown in too. At the more reasonable end of the scale, you can stay on a Maldivian sandbank courtesy of Soneva Fushi resort from $1,900 per night.

Marvel at Mount Everest from a balloon

For adventurers unafraid of heights, here's the perfect trip for you. Join only a handful of people in the world ever to see the highest and most iconic summit of all from a hot air balloon, offered by experienced senior pilot Chris Dewhirst via travel marketplace If Only. Thrill-seekers get to experience 360-degree unparalleled views of Mount Everest from the skies.

What it'll cost you...

The mind-blowing trip will cost you an eye-watering $5.9 million and is certainly not for the faint-hearted, as travelers must commit to a month of training to prepare for the once-in-a-lifetime expedition.

Have a private picnic among lava fields

Luxury lovers have the chance to experience Iceland's natural beauty on a whole new level. Why not try out some heli-skiing down pristine mountains, take a helicopter tour across stunning glaciers and cascading waterfalls, followed by a gourmet meal prepared by your very own chef among the stunning lava fields of Landmannalaugar.

What it'll cost you...

The lava field picnic, heli-skiing and private flight are included in Jacada's seven-day luxury trip will set you back at least a whopping $22,000. However, you can customise your trip to make the most of your extraordinary experience.

See the world in a year-long luxury cruise

If you’re a travel addict that just wants to go everywhere, aptly-named cruise operators The World provides a year-long trip that spans six continents, allowing you to visit more than 120 ports in over 30 countries. Compared to most cruise ships, The World spends almost twice as many days in port as at sea, giving optimum time for exploration of beautiful and exotic locations.

What it’ll cost you…

Trips are designed by passengers in collaboration with ship captains, based on best sea routes and travelers’ personal desires. The bespoke nature of the trip makes it difficult to put a price on, but it’s estimated that a ticket on board will cost anything from around $600,000 for a studio, to upwards of $2.95 million for a two-bed ocean apartment.

Have a Star Wars moment on a hoverbike

The HoverSurf HoverBike looks like something from outer space – but in fact, it’s a fully-functional, self-manned vehicle which combines a quadcopter drone with a motorcycle. Bearing a strong resemblance to the galactic speeder bikes seen in several of the Star Wars movies, these real-life versions use custom software to control velocity and range for the perfect ride.

What it’ll cost you…
The futuristic-looking HoverBike will cost $150,000 when released later in 2019. There’s also a $10,000 charge to be paid for an obligatory training package, which includes a custom HoverSurf suit and helmet.

Sleep with the fish

If you prefer the sea to the sky, the world's first underwater hotel villa may be more up your street. The Muraka is part of Hilton's Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort, providing guests with an idyllic undersea escape complete with a butler, private island tours and your own speedboat, as well as panoramic ocean views from your bed.

What it'll cost you...

Even the en-suite bathroom has a panoramic glass wall, so don’t mind a peeping manta ray or shark. Staying in the suite 16-feet below sea level, which comes with a second level and another two bedrooms, will cost about $50,000 per night before taxes, including your own personalized itinerary.

The future: Private space travel

Space tourism, once the realms of billionaires’ fantasies, is becoming closer and closer to a reality. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity made its maiden voyage on 13 December 2018 and while it was only a test flight, commercial flights are expected to take place from 2020.

What it’ll cost you…

More than 700 people have already signed up for a $250,000 ride on the rocket, so you’ll not only have to part with a large sum of money but may also have to wait a few years before dreams of heading to space can become a reality. However, Richard Branson anticipates that over time the cost of space travel will reduce to around $40,000.

The future: Walking cars

At CES 2019, Hyundai debuted the concept Elevate, a walking, climbing, robot-like car. While the company could only reveal a 1:8 scale model, the possibilities are enticing: it will be able to climb a five-foot wall, traverse a five-foot gap and have a track width of 15 feet. Resembling AT-ATs from Star Wars, as soon as the product comes to market tech fans will be sharpening their elbows to try it first.

What it’ll cost you…

There’s no indication of when the product will come onto the market yet, as Hyundai is still in the early stages of its design. Despite that, the possibilities afforded by the futuristic vehicle look incredible: from being able to rescue victims from natural disasters, to climbing stairs to picking up disabled passengers, this technology has the potential to be life-changing.