Flying commercial on your vacation? News flash: That’s so last year. Jet tours, as in you and a few others in a private jet with a laser-focus mission, are arriving at mach speed in 2017. Sure, you may have to ask your boss for extra time off (and a serious raise), but it’s insanely worth it. It’s not cheap for nothing.
Whether you’re into tigers, tsars or technology, here are our favorite departures for the New Year and beyond.
FOR THE ANIMAL LOVER:
Smithsonian’s Wild Encounters
February 17 - March 8
Although a far cry from the show Naked and Afraid, there are still plenty of ‘wild’ experiences on the 20-day trip. From Hawaii to Rwanda, you’ll experience rare animals, birds and marine life in their natural habitat with a handy Smithsonian scientist by your side.
Itinerary highlights: Kona, Hawaii to see Hawaiian green sea turtles, dolphins and migrating humpback whales; Papua, New Guinea for parrots, cockatoos, cormorants, hornbills and bird of paradise; Borneo, Malaysia to experience rescued orangutans, proboscis monkeys, and kingfishers; Jaipur, India to search for leopards, Bengal tigers, and striped hyenas; Tanzania to see elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards and Cape buffalos; and finally Rwanda to visit endangered mountain gorillas.
Cost: Starting from $84k
FOR THE ITALIOPHILE:
Discover Your Italy’s Grand Tour of Italy
Led by Italian in-the-know pros, hit all of the country’s most popular destinations (plus some off-the-beaten path, too), from Lake Como to Capri, over 15 days. And what’s unique is you can choose to go when you want—that means you can have that jet all to yourself. FYI, with this tour, you better love sailing on the high seas as much as you do hailing a private jet.
Itinerary highlights: A boat tour to visit stunning Italian islands you’ve never heard of…Borromean Islands; sailing around Lake Como—say ‘hey’ to Clooney for us; hiking Cinque Terre trails plus a sunset cruise; vineyard tours and tasting in Moltacino wine country; full day excursion on the island of Capri; a jeep trek on Mt. Etna Volcano; play time on the white sandy beaches of Sardinia.
Cost: Starting at $16,400
FOR THE TOLSTOY FAN:
Empire of the Tsars
April 2017 – Private Jet Tours
Even if you had no clue it was going down, you can still celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution in style. On this tour, you’ll follow the footsteps of the Romanov family. As families do, this 300-year-old dynasty had periods of glorious achievement as well as staggering stupidity. Abruptly in 1918, the three-century rule was ended…execution style (including the family’s doctors and servants). Find out why on this 9-day trip down history lane.
Itinerary highlights: Yekaterinburg, where the final Romanovs died; Moscow, believed to be where the first Tsar was born; and St. Petersburg, home to crazy amazing Tsar-appointed architecture.
Cost: Roughly $28k
FOR THE HUNGRY SOUL:
Four Seasons’ Culinary Discoveries
May 27 - June 14, 2017
You’ll be stuffing your face at places the guy behind the four-time title of “best restaurant in the world” deems worthy? Holy god, yes. Chef Rene Redzepi, of NOMA in Copenhagen, organized the ultimate globe-trotting foodie tour based on his own favorite eats around. Rumor has it he may even drop in for part of the tour.
Itinerary highlights: Tokyo, Japan foraging with Chef Namae Shinobu and a private dinner at his Michelin-starred restaurant, L'Effervescence; Hong Kong for street food and local market tours; Mumbai, India for dinner at Gaggan with a former Noma chef; Florence, Italy for wine tasting at medieval estates and dinner with Chef Fulvio Pierangelini, coming out of retirement for a single night to cook alongside his son, Fulvietto Pierangelini; Copenhagen, Denmark foraging for local ingredients with the Noma team for a private dinner at Noma that evening; Paris, France to dine at Michelin-starred Le Cinq at Four Seasons Hotel George V.
FOR THE TECH GEEK:
Technological Wonders of the World
National Geographic + Wall Street Journal
Oct 22 - Nov 9, 2017
Creativity and innovation make us human. (Well, that and we like to have sex for pleasure, but until we find the private sexscapade tour, this will have to do.) This tour explores the past, present and future of human ingenuity. For the tech junkie, conservationist, or history buff in all of us, this trip covers eight global destinations over 19 days.
Itinerary highlights: Silicon Valley, because the trip needs to start somewhere and your iPhone defaults to the weather in Cupertino; Rwanda, where - no joke - you’ll visit a village of endangered mountain gorillas in the wild. Seriously, they’re social animals that have their own communities; Singapore, where you’ll walk through a grove of solar-powered “supertrees” (You’ll feel like you’re walking through The Hunger Games’ Capitol of Panem); Jerusalem, to learn what drives cutting edge innovation in Israel, while at the same time exploring the historic sites holy to many walks of faith (with an alternative option to check out the world’s tallest building by helicopter in Dubai instead). Most destinations have multiple options to help customize the trip to individual interests.
FOR THE NEWSHOUND:
Around the World by Private Jet: Cultures in Transformation
Abercrombie & Kent + New York Times
February 8 - March 5, 2018
Everything changes over time. Heck, you were once a bratty kid who sucked their thumb, and now, here you are—about to drop six figures on a vacation. Well, regions of the world transform, too. And for 26 magical days, a few New York Times correspondents and the luxury travel pros at A & K take you on a tour of our ever-changing world.
Itinerary highlights: New York City is the launching point, and it all begins the way every morning should. — with brunch (though this one is hosted by the newspaper’s publisher). Easter Island to explore the Moai (those wacky 600-year-old, 15’ tall human sculptures) and get a taste of local island life with native Polynesian dancing (P.S. this part of the trip led by noted NYT op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof); Morocco, where you’ll ride a camel through the Sahara for some desert camping; Iceland, for a champagne toast inside a glacial ice tunnel—as one does in Iceland; Cuba, for a Buena Vista Social Club-esque concert and a cigar factory visit to find out why they’re so damn good; Bogota, Columbia, to visit the Museum of Gold and shake it with the locals while learning some cumbia; Iran, for a face-to-face encounter with the birthplace of civilization.
Cost: From $135,000