Luxury Travel Passions
By Karen Tina Harrison, About.com Guide
- Luxury Cruises
- Upscale Airlines & Jets
- Riding in Style: Luxury Trains
- Road Trips & Motorcycling
- Ecotourism & Green Travel
- Safaris…It's Time
- Food & Wine Travel
- Cultural & Festival Travel
- Heritage & Spiritual Travel
- Swing It: Golf Travel
- Biking & Hiking Travel
- Game On: Spectator Sports Travel
- Skiing & Snowboarding
- Scuba, Snorkeling, & Surfing
- Sailing & Private Yachts
- The Cult of Sun Worship
- Shopping & Collecting
- Spa Travel & Spa Retreats
- Customized Luxury Tours
- Exclusive Travel Clubs & Bargains
For many luxury travelers, there's one way to see the world, and that's onboard a luxury cruise ship. Cruises are easy: you don't have to sweat the itinerary-planning; you check in once (your room travels with you); and you get to see a lot, like dancing dolphins and small islands without airports. Warning: cruising is habit-forming.
- A-ROSA, Chic Euro River Cruises
- St. Peter Line: No Russian Visa Needed
- Sailing Tahiti Aboard Paul Gauguin
- Get Wet: Advice for Cruise Newbies
- How Can You Tell a Good Cruise Deal?
- Celebrity Cruises' Posh Azamara Quest
- Silversea, an Elite Luxury Cruise Line
- Barge Cruises: Romance in France
- Cruising the South Pacific
- Galapagos, Unforgettably Seen by Sea
- Alaska, Best Seen by Cruise Ship
- Antarctica, Only Seen by Cruise Ship
- Want to Expect From a Singles Cruise
- Two By Two: Best Ships for Couples
- All Together Now: Top Family Cruises
- Cruising: Gay & Lesbian Itineraries
Upscale Airlines & Jets
Don't believe the naysayers who insist that the golden age of aviation is behind us. Today's air travel is an elegant party for luxury travelers who fly business and first class on the right airlines -- and on (easy-to-book) private planes. Stretch your flight dollar by finding out which carriers' service (and lounges) are truly luxurious, and whether the upcharge to "upper class" is worth it.
- How to Fly Gorgeous
- All About Flying on Private Jets
- Jetway Private Air: 100% Customized Flights
- PlaneClear: Super-Easy Rent-a-Jet
- Magellan: Private Jets "On Demand"
- How Frequent Flyer Programs Stack Up
- Airfare Myths, Legends, & Tall Tales
- Choose the Best Possible Airline Seat
- Annoying Airline Charges to Avoid
- Get Upgraded (Or at Least Try)
- Stay Comfy (Even in Coach)
- Jet-lag Calculator (& Other Essentials)
- No Lounge? Try a Partner Airline's
- Flying Tropical on Air Tahiti Nui
- Everyone Loves Virgin America
- Jet Airways to Brussels & India
- In Space, No One Can Hear You Bark
- Model India Hicks' Inflight Beauty Tips
Riding in Style: Luxury Trains
If you're blessed with the ability to sleep aboard a rolling train, you've got it made. Today's luxury train journeys whisk passengers through picturesque countryside, with nary a truckstop in sight. And luxury trains are intensely social, with repeat passengers and proud service. Punch your ticket to one of these glamorous rail vacations.
- Eurostar: London to Paris Right Quick
- Rail Europe Eurail Pass: Still the One
- When in Rome...Italian Trains
- Paging Miss Marple: The Orient-Express
- Amtrak Has Changed. Photo Evidence!
- Grand Canyon Railway (Awesome!)
- New England Fall Foliage Rail Trips
- Maple Leaf Ltd: Canada's Top Trains
- VIA Rail's Trans-Canada Sleeper
- British Rail: Quick, Easy, & Scenic
- "Les Trains" in France: Fast & Faster
- Rovos Rail, "The Pride of Africa"
- Hiram Bingham to Macchu Pichu
- The (Totally) Great Brazil Express
- Tracking India: Railroads for Rajahs
- Japan's Shinkansen, First Bullet Train
Road Trips & Motorcycling
Road trips are an American tradition that appeal to our individualism. They let us create your own itineraries, make the rules, and follow our adventurous instincts. Plus, we get to spend precious conversational time with a loved one (and, if you so choose, your pet). With a road trip, the journey is the destination. Here are some deluxe wheel deals.
- Born Wild? Kensington Motorcyle Tours
- The Top 10 Cars for Road-Tripping
- You've Never Driven Cross-Country?
- PCH: The Iconic California Road Trip
- Driving Quebec's Gorgeous Gaspésie
- Get an International Driver's License
- Australia's Highway 1: the 1 to Follow
- New Zealand: The Road Less Traveled
- Kids & Car Trips: Make Everyone Happy
- Safe, Quiet Road Travels with Your Dog
- Meow! The Truth About Cats & Cars
- What You May Not Know About RVing
- Plan a Marvelous Motorcycle Trip
Ecotourism & Green Travel
Progressive, luxury travelers yearn to see this big world but leave a small footprint. Eco-lodges and environmentally responsible, sustainable travel programs have sprouted for these green tourists. Ecotourism's fundamental appeal? We can do good while having fun. And that's not a trend. It's good sense.
- World's Top 10 Ecotourism Vacations
- Are You a Garden Tourist?
- What Does Ecotourism Really Mean?
- Choose & Plan a Green Getaway
- Top Nature & Wildlife Adventure Trips
- Mexico's Nicest Eco-Resorts
- Wuksachi Lodge Amidst Giant Sequoias
- Eagle Island GA: Sea Monster Included
- Greenest of the Green in Coast Rica
- A Fabulous French Garden Chateau
- Ecolodges in Nearby Puerto Rico
- Amazin' Amazon Jungle Lodges
- Ushuaia & Cape Horn: End of the World
- A Nature Sanctuary in Cambodia
- Rotorua: Nature Blessed New Zealand
- World's Top 10 Ecotourism Vacations
Luxury travelers can be sorted into two groups: those who have been on safari…and those who pine to. Start your African nature adventure right here. And join the others.
- Africa's Top 10 Safari Experiences
- Name Africa's Big 5 Safari Animals!
- Ulusaba, Sir Branson's Safari Lodge
- Follow the Leader on a Family Safari
- Take a Camel or Elephant Safari
- Safari West: Africa in California
- Addo Elephant National Park, S. Africa
- Name Says It: Extraordinary Journey Africa
Food & Wine Travel
It's a big, delicious world out there, bursting with unforgettable dining and drinking experiences. If you yearn to taste what the world is serving up, you're a culinary traveler. Have a taste right now.
- Nobu Restaurants: Thank You, Japan
- This is Livin': Joël Robuchon Vegas
- Quay Restaurant Sydney: Ozzie Awe
- Milos Miami: South Beach Sensation
- Coyote Cafe, Santa Fe Foodie Landmark
- Terranea Resort: Delectable LA Dining
- Napa Valley: Wineries & Wonders
- Toronto is Booming, Its Dining Blooming
- Quebec City's 5 Most Fab "Restos"
- Mexico City: Dining Delicioso
- Where to Dine in Rio de Janeiro? Here
- Chocoholics Unite! (on St. Lucia)
- Vila Joya, the Algarve's Utmost Dining
- Peru's Top Celeb: Chef Gaston Acurio
- A South American Carnivore Carnival
- Eat Here in Vegas, As Soon As You Can
- Napa Valley's River Terrace Inn (yum)
- Vegas Uncork'd by Bon Appétit Fest: WOW
Cultural & Festival Travel
Traveling in pursuit of art and music festivals and cultural events is a genius way to organize your vacations. Festivals furnish so many nice things: ready-made entertainment, like-minded folks to mingle with, and great T-shirts to take home. Whatever you love to see, watch, and do...yep, there's a festival for that.
- Montreal Jazz Fest, the Biggest & Best
- Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance: Cars!
- 1,000 UNESCO World Heritage Sites!
- Upside: Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
- Burning Man: Pagan or Partyin'?
- Art Attack: Edinburgh Fringe Festival
- Prague's Spring Fest: a Classical Gas
- Brazil's Carnival: Ultimate Celebration
- NYC wow: Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Big Easy Fun at New Orleans JazzFest
- Sundance Film Fest, a Must-Fest
- Spoleto Spells Spring in Charleston
- Vegas Uncork'd: Sin City's Top Event
- Vegas Uncork'd: Sin City's Top Event
Heritage & Spiritual Travel
The best kind of travel makes us think about the world and our place in it. Heritage travel, in pursuit of our own ethnic, family, and religious heritage, brings us closer to who we are. For life's big questions, heritage travel has some of the answers.
- Asia's Top 10 Sacred Pilgrimages
- Black Legend Monaco: Music Icon
- Jerusalem, So Holy to So Many
- A French Cathedral Vacation
- Bella Sicily (How Could They Leave?)
- Saints Alive! Irish Monasteries
- Reformation Day in Germany
- Istanbul's Incredible Blue Mosque
- Jewish History in Curaçao
- Jewish Budapest in Pictures
- Visit the Vatican & See the Holy See
- Lourdes, the Blessed Place in France
- Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
- Black History Month Travel Ideas
- African Slave Trade Tours of Tragedy
- New Age Mysteries of Sedona
- India's Dazzling Dravidian Temples
Swing It: Golf Travel
Luxury golf travelers are an especially discerning and demanding bunch. For them, a hotel can't be great without a championship course out back. If you're a traveler who "swings," hit some of these links.
- Golf Travel Guide's Top Destinations
- Cranwell Course: Vintage Berkshires
- Hit the Links in Friendly Florida
- Caddie Call: Head to Hilton Head
- Bring the Shorts: Bermuda Courses
- Golf, Jamaican Me Crazy
- Swingin' in Los Cabos, Mexico
- Scotland, the Birthplace of the Sport
- What is Desert Golf? Will You Like It?
Biking & Hiking Travel
Imagine an eye-opening vacation that you come home from in better shape. Organized bike touring is a phenomenon because it's a win-win. Cycling supplies intense enjoyment…and exercise. Ditto hiking vacations, in which you can truly stop to smell the roses.
- Travel with Your Bike…Or Rent One
- An Organized or Self-Guided Tour?
- The Coolest Cycling Trips Out There
- The World's Top Cycling Tour Outfitter
- America's Best Mountain Biking
- Twice the Fun: BikeHike Adventures
- Walking Vacations in Nepal & More
- Appalachian Trail: Legend for a Reason
- Trekking Peru's Inca Trail
- Are You Fit to Hike the Alps?
- How to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
- Take a Hike…The Great Wall of China
Game On: Spectator Sports Travel
Are you a passionate fan of a certain team (or player or driver or jockey)? Give in to the urge to follow them (or him or her) on the road. Your stadium (or arena or track) seats -- and travel thrills -- await!
- #1 Classic Car Show & Vintage Car Racing
- Ballpark-Hopping in the USA
- All NASCAR, All the Time
- Follow the Birdie: The PGA Tour
- Go for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders
- Hockey, Invented in Canada
- First Saturday in May: Kentucky Derby
- Follow the World Poker Tour
- Yanks, Knicks, US Open, More in NYC
- The Armchair Soccer Tourist Guide
Skiing & Snowboarding
If you simply crave the white stuff and consider "take a powder" a compliment, check out our picks of sensational slopes, and start some trail-travel planning. It's all downhill from here.
- Romantic Winter Getaways for Skiiers
- Whistler in BC: Olympians Loved It
- Are You Ready for Zermatt in the Alps?
- Kim's Vermont Skiing Deals (& More)
- Ski South America (June to October!O
- What the…Heliskiing?
- January is Genius for Snow Sports
- Resorts with the Raddest Parks & Pipes
- Dogledding in Alaska (Cool!)
Scuba, Snorkeling, & Surfing
We agree, life's a beach. But it's not enough to sit on the sand and splash on the shore. Watersport acolytes insist you dive in. If you do, you'll discover a whole other world beneath the waves, a hushed, luminous world of fantastic fish, spectacular coral, and meditative thoughts. These are the world's best places to scuba-dive, snorkel, and catch a wave.
- Coral of the Story: Snorkeling Tahiti
- Snorkel with Whales & (Safe) Sharks
- Stop Promising, Start Diving
- Explore Mexico's Cenote Caves
- Oz-stounding: The Great Barrier Reef
- Hawaii, the Mecca of Surfing (It's Epic)
- Southern California, Surfin' USA
- How to Pack for a Surfing Vacation
- Gnarly River Rafting Destinations
Sailing & Private Yachts
Luxury travelers who are already sold on waterborne vacations can tell you that there's nothing like gliding over the deep blue sea in your own craft. Sailing and yachting keep your body moving, your mind challenged, and your senses inspired by beauty and adventure. Consider these shipshape escapes.
- A Guide to Sailing the Caribbean
- Charter Boats in the Caribbean
- The Dream: Sailing to Bermuda
- Maine, a Sailor's Paradise
The Cult of Sun Worship
Adulation of Old Sol is no longer a religion…or is it? Some of us – OK, many of us – follow the sun year-round to warm our bodies and gladden our spirits. After all, it's only human. These are some of the best beaches on the third planet orbiting the sun.
- Cancun: Disco Then, Divine Now
- Mexico's Magnificent Riviera Maya
- Los Cabos: Sun. Celebs. So Cool!
- Nude Beaches of the Caribbean
- Fort Lauderdale: "Blue Wave" Beaches
- La Paz, Serenity in Baja California
- Just Dune It: 19 Hawaiian Beaches
- 12 Tempting Beaches in Puerto Rico
- Locals Go Loco for Spanish Beaches
- Goa, India's Portuguese Beach Colony
- Thailand's Top 10 Beaches (of Many)
- La Paz, Serenity in Baja California
- Which Tahiti Isle Is For You?
Shopping & Collecting
Some luxury travelers shop to find one meaningful keepsake of their visit. Others travel with shopping top of mind: for shoes in Paris, bags in Rome, bespoke garments in Hong Kong, silver jewelry in Mexico, sample sales in New York. If shopping and collecting stoke your luxury travel fantasies, see how we can help.
- Pasadena Rose Bowl, Fab Flea Market
- High Fashion, Low Prices in NYC
- Europe's Secret Couture Resale Shops
- MS Rau, New Orleans' Treasure Chest
- Silk & Gems: Shopping in India
- Find It (Whatever It Is) in Rome
- How to Shop & Score in Hong Kong
- World's Most Elite Auction Houses
Spa Travel & Spa Retreats
A seductive, spice-scented destination spa multiplies the relaxtion quotient of luxury vacations. These stories bout far-flung, fabulous spas are intended for travelers who feel at home in hushed, votive-lit spas. You know who you are (and can't wait for your next facial or massage).
- Ojo Caliente, NM: Soothing for Centuries
- Zoetry Resort: Thalassotherapy in Mexico
- Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach's Eau Spa: Oh My!
- Our Spa Guide Divulges Her Faves
- Finding Your Perfect Spa Retreat
- An Eruption of Hawaiian Spas
- Palm Springs Legend: Two Bunch Palms
- Mandarin Oriental: NYC's Spa Pinnacle
- Mexico Spa Getaways Built for Two
- Europe's Vinotherapy Spas. Yes, Wine.
- France's Beckoning Spa Villages
- Karlovy Vary, the Czech Spa Cure
- Iceland's Blue Lagoon: All That? (Yes)
- Ritz-Carlton Phulay Bay: Top Thai Spa
- Evian Spa at Palace Hotel Tokyo
- Evian Spa at Palace Hotel Tokyo
Customized Luxury Tours
Organized tours are no longer one-itinerary-fits-all. Today, luxury travelers can choose a tour outfitter who shares their point of view, then work wth them to arrange a private or semi-private guided vacation Want to meet the locals? Volunteer? Visit temples or shops? Feast on street food or gourmet fare? Learn the whos, whats, wheres and hows of the custom tour game.
- Virtuoso Luxury Travel Agents Can Do
- Kensington Tours' Private Travel
- Asia Transpacific Tours: Asia Only
- Abercrombie & Kent: A for Adventure
- Artisans of Leisure Handcrafted Tours
- Absolute Travel: All Custom, Always
- EJ (Extraordinary Journeys) Africa
- 9 Fine Luxury Tour Operators
- Adventure Outfitter Selector
Exclusive Travel Clubs & Bargains
What's even better than a perfect, personalized luxury vacation? One that lets you save a few bucks (which you can then spend on some madcap indulgence). Here, About's travel insiders share their favorite vacation clubs and t strategies for economizing.
- Luxury Link: the eBay of Lux Travel
- Hotel Club Floor Upgrades: Worth It?
- Fab Perks from Virtuoso Travel Agents
- Mansion-to-Mansion Home Swaps
- When a Lux Villa Beats a Hotel Stay
- Inspirato: Lux Villas, VIP Parties
- 3RD HOME: Vacay Homeowners' Travel Club
- G2G, Getaway2Give: Travel Bargains