Thursday, September 8, 2016

Experiential Travel For The Rich!

With Labor Day having come and gone, summer vacations and time off from work has come and gone as well, at least for most of us. Our pitiful one-or-two-week paid vacations have slipped into history and it's time now to settle in for autumn and the grisly holidays ahead.

But not so for the rich. As you might imagine, they're free to come and go as they please - any time they wish, any time of the year. In fact, the very word "vacation" is not really in their vocabulary. For them it's called a jaunt, a journey, an exploration, or an adventure. With their private jets and pilots on retainer standing by, this could occur within moments from when the mood strikes. "Lets go to Paris for dinner!"

Our friend Ben down in Australia recently told me one of the executives in his corporation asked if he'd be up for a snow-skiing trip to Iran. Not entirely enthralled by the idea, he asked me if this is the kind of unusual thing rich people do for new experiences and thrills. Which brought up the whole idea and relatively new topic of Experiential Travel, which you may have heard of.

Bear with me for a moment, but there's actually two branches of this concept. Back around 1985 Experiential Travel was also known as Immersion Travel. Let's say instead of doing the grand tour of London, Paris, Madrid and Rome in two short weeks, you spend what precious time you have in one spot - getting to know the culture, the language, history, politics and traditions of that one particular place - and perhaps making steadfast friends along the way.

Then around 2012 the term Experiential Travel was seized upon by travel agents, luxury hotels and concierges worldwide who cater to the rich and super rich - promising new experiences, adventures, sights unseen, and of course tempting cuisines at any remote spot on the globe rich people might want to explore. In fact our friend Lorre White, widely known as the Luxury Guru in the media, stated that "Experiential Travel is the fastest growing segment of the business and leisure travel world."  Here's a link to her fascinating article.

Back when the British Empire ruled half the world, rich and elegant tourists with their Louis Vuitton steamer trunks would depart London on luxury steamer ships or the stylish Orient Express railway to visit Asia, Africa, Egypt, India and Hong Kong to explore the worlds they had conquered. Was this merely idle tourism or Experiential Travel?

As a young student traveling in Europe all I could really afford was visiting one country at a time. I had no idea it was called Immersion Travel, much less Experiential. But what I can tell you is that those visits which could last for weeks or months have generated friendships that sustain my whole life. And those same friends still visit me here in America to this day.

The thing is, you don't have to be rich or have a private jet to explore this beautiful world we live in. Just get out there and do it, no matter what kind of shoestring budget you're dealing with. Just go! Live, learn, and enjoy! As Saint Augustine said, "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page".

Thanks for dropping in this evening and happy autumn!


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