Travel experts agree on one thing: this year promises to be the year of the GOAT: the greatest of all trips. The world’s elderly, and I mean college and high school-aged children, have lost so much of their educational experience to this brutal pandemic, so it seems fitting to celebrate their graduation with something so memorable that ‘it will eclipse canceled proms, homecomings and summers abroad. Think big: snorkel with whale sharks, cruise the Nile, witness the solar eclipse at sea. The time to start planning is now; a recent report by Virtuoso Travel Advisors shows a 76% increase in ultra-luxury travel with African safaris, Caribbean islands, international city destinations and ocean cruises as preferred experiences. Here is a list to get you started:
Ride the dunes in Abu Dhabi: The capital of the United Arab Emirates has cultivated a selection of unforgettable travel experiences ranging from high-speed Ferrari roller coasters to fat bike tours of the largest uninterrupted mass of sand on earth. Adrenaline junkies should seek out the Empty Quarter, where visitors can go dune biking, bashing, sandboarding and camel riding in the largest uninterrupted mass of sand on earth. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi offers a few other speed-focused opportunities, in particular Formula Rossa – the world’s fastest roller coaster, Turbo Track, a weightless experience, and The Flying Aces which features the world’s tallest roller coaster loop. world. Quieter days await at the Arabian Wildlife Park where 17,000 free-roaming animals live. Book a three-hour tour and you’re likely to see Arabian oryx, gazelles, giraffes, hyenas and cheetahs.
Snorkel with whale sharks at Hurawalhi Maldives: This decadent resort is well known for its underwater dining experience (5.8 Undersea Restaurant offers a seven-course culinary journey, with a selection of dishes carefully created by Executive Chef, Edouard Laurent Deplus) but your graduate will especially appreciate the chance to snorkel along some of Lhaviyani’s rarest reefs, accompanied by the locals – whale sharks and manta rays. The resort’s in-house marine biologist will guide and direct the experience and you can choose to end the day with a champagne sunset cruise which can include a night dive – or enjoy the sunset with champagne and dinner at 4 courses – all on the resort. private yacht.
The ultimate anti-stress Caribbean graduate experience: The Overwater Bungalow Spa experience at Mandarin Oriental Canouan offers total immersion in wellness, spa and gastronomy. The day begins with a guided hike led by the resort’s naturalist to the highest point in Canouan: Mount Royal (located on resort property). Upon your return to the hotel, you will be introduced to the Executive Chef, who will take you to pick your own seafood from the resort’s dock, from one of the best local fisherman on the island. Afterwards, a short boat transfer takes you to the overwater spa bungalow (with a glass floor overlooking the sea) for a series of treatments including a foot ritual, a Tibetan bowl singing guide, and a Grenadine salt scrub. The afternoon includes a private guided snorkeling experience amongst one of the largest living coral reefs in the world, followed by a lavish ‘Castaway’ picnic at Twin Bay. The day ends at the award-winning Tom Fazio Golf Course with a sunset cocktail experience on the iconic 13th hole and a private dinner on the resort’s Godahl Beach with the ‘catch of the day’ from the morning excursion on the dock.
Book a Safari with Go2Africa: South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana… the myriad of destinations and experiences for an African safari is overwhelming, which is why it’s essential to be guided by experts. To be sure to orchestrate the trip that best suits your family’s desires, book a trip with a local a travel agency, ideally made up of people living and working in Africa, like the experienced and award-winning experts at Go2Africa. They will organize a trip that speaks to your family and the trip you want to take. If you want rustic luxury in a malaria-free outpost with a good wine list and an excellent chance of seeing rhinos, they know exactly where to go. They’ll also save you hours of research on everything from travel insurance and restaurant reservations to planning transfers and local charters.
See a solar eclipse at sea: Ponant cruises offer their passengers a rare opportunity to witness the dizzying splendor of a total solar eclipse at sea. In April 2023, the experience will take place off the northwest coast of Australia – the only region of the world where the solar eclipse will be 100% visible. You’ll also have access to guest expert Alex Young, a solar astrophysicist who is associate director of science at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Houston Rockets Experience: Texas’ only Forbes Double Five Star hotel and spa, The Post Oak Hotel in Uptown Houston, (owned by Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta), puts the Houston Rockets first with a premium access experience. Guests will enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of Toyota Center before the game, coveted floor seating to watch the action, access to the exclusive Lexus Lounge, ultra-premium VIP entertainment bar with fine dining and cocktails, and a personalized Houston Rockets jersey. If basketball isn’t your thing, consider one of eight other Uniquely Post Oaks, including a private Johnson Space Center experience.
To visit Galapagos & Peru (June 28-July 10) with Abercrombie and Kent, experts in intimate and luxurious small-group travel. This premium 13-day charter begins with two nights in Quito where you’ll ride the Teleferico to the slopes of Pichincha Volcano, visit the Intinan Solar Museum on the Equator, and explore the city. Then, a four-night cruise to the eastern Galapagos Islands with twice-daily shore excursions that include nature walks led by a certified naturalist guide, and choose from activities such as kayaking, snorkeling snorkeling, light hiking or relaxing on land. The grand finale is a hike to Machu Picchu – option to hike the Inca Trail or take the train to Aguas Calientes.
Surf the Seychelles/Visit the Pyramids with the Four Seasons: The Four Seasons Resort Seychelles has a special partnership with Tropicsurf, best known for crafting ultra-luxurious epic surf experiences. You will have a dedicated instructor able to work all levels of surfers and enjoy the best waves on the island every day or just start finding your balance in a guided lesson on the Resort beach in Petite Anse Bay. Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence offers several bucket list experiences in Egypt. The property enjoys panoramic views of the Great Pyramids and is a short drive from the Grand Egyptian Museum. Dinner at the Pyramids is an extraordinary adventure that takes you into the desert where you will see the legendary pyramids of Giza illuminated from the comfort of your own specially constructed tent, where you will dine privately in local and diverse style at the Giza Plateau. A private Four Seasons chef and culinary team will provide everything from a sumptuous Oriental-themed menu to international cuisines. The night continues with a private Tanoura show to end your extravagant evening in a truly Egyptian way. The hotel concierge will arrange virtually any tour/experience you wish, including flights and private tours of all historical sites, even a Nile cruise between Luxor and Aswan.