Luxury vs. Adventure – Why Compromise?
The African savannah at dawn. A pride of sated lions pad lethargically toward the bush to wait out the heat of the day. A giraffe gracefully arches his neck and shakes his head. Baboons call to the rising sun. This adventure could be yours but perhaps you or your companion want to finish the day with a nice merlot and a sound sleep on 1000-thread-count sheets. With today’s eco-friendly, luxury travel options, you can have it all. Wild animals and the wide expanses of Africa may not be your thing and that’s OK. You don’t have to venture a thousand miles up the Nile to experience a trip that will make your heart beat faster. There are plenty of destinations that can satisfy your taste for thrilling memories, as well as luxuries, comfort, and haute cuisine.
What and Where?
The definition of adventure varies from traveler to traveler. For one person, it means getting away from civilization and seeing life “as it was.” For another it merely means getting away from the culture they know and seeing how others live.
- In India, for example, you can find a very wide range of five-star trips. One of the oldest civilizations in the world, India has a fantastically rich culture and extraordinary historical sites. The subcontinent also offers safaris in some of the most exotic wildlife preserves to be found anywhere.
- Luxury cruises to Antarctica can leave you feeling you’re on another planet. The otherworldly landscape of ice and rock populated by animals you usually only see in zoos will leave you breathless while you sip your espresso.
- China and Cambodia were once mysterious and seemingly inaccessible to most Western travelers. They are now among the most popular luxury-adventure destinations.
- Thousands of stupas pointing skyward from the Myanmar plains greet travelers who only a few years ago could not have visited this country.
- The vibrant colors and dramatic mountains of Vietnam provide a gorgeous backdrop to cities with a fusion of French-colonial and local architecture.
- If you seek more active adventures and want to kayak a river, zip-line through a jungle canopy, or trek on Borneo’s Mount Kinabalu, you still don’t need to forsake creature comforts. You can camp with five-star treatment, with someone else setting up your tent and preparing a campsite gourmet meal, or you can just set up “camp” in a five-star hotel.
Imagine visiting Angor Wat in Cambodia sans crowds. This is a perk of luxury travel because many companies have the local connections to get their travelers special access. The guides who are picked by this class of operator are usually experts in the local history and environment; they are trained to cater to a clientele who has paid for the best.
Finding your Way
The key to planning any travel venture is deciding what you want out of the experience. A good place to start is with a series of questions such as:
- How long do I want to be gone?
- What size group do I want to be in?
- How far out of my usual life experience do I want to go?
- How structured or unstructured do I want my experience to be?
- Do I want to combine an adventure portion with a few days on a beach?
There is a tour operator out there to fit any dream you have for luxury-adventure travel to any destination worldwide. Don’t overwhelm yourself with choices. Decide on how you want to feel at the end of the trip and find an operator with proven experience and reliable testimonials.
You only live once. Don’t compromise. See the world your way.