Five Luxury Flash-packing experiences

Oli Wettern 2 May 2014

For those bitten by the travel bug, whether on a Gap Year or in the extensive Cambridge vacations, budget backpacking is normally the name of the game. Whether sleeping in train luggage racks while Interrailing, or working as a tourist tout in South East Asia, student travel tends to focus on saving the pennies and hoping the pounds will look after themselves.

But this week we are looking at excess. If money were truly no object, what would you do Take a look at the selection below – and reconsider that year out after graduation!

1.Trans-Siberian Express – Oligarch Style

It is possible to do the Trans-Siberian on a budget – but where is the fun in that! Hop aboard the Golden Eagle Express, and settle yourself in for the ride from Moscow to Vladivostok, perhaps taking in Lake Baikal (largest freshwater lake in the world) on the way. Peak season Imperial Suites cost a mere £20,595 for the 2 week trip, replete with power-shower en-suite and complimentary minibar. Kick back and enjoy champagne and caviar as the steppe glides past the window.

2.History of Art Course – High Renaissance Man

At a loose end January-March 2015? Got a spare £12,000? Love Art and the History of Art? Then book yourself onto the next ‘John Hall’ Venice course. While expensive, you definitely get value for money. For three months, world-leading experts on art and sculpture lecture and guide you around the most stunning and interesting artwork and sites of Venice, Florence and Rome. With speakers including Directors from the world’s finest art galleries, and optional extras like cookery classes, this course will leave you ready to present the BBC’s remake of Civilisation.

3.Las Vegas – What happens in Vegas…

A cliché perhaps, but for good reason – no high-spending world tour would be complete without a visit to the City of Sin. And for those racking their brains for how to mark their 21st birthday a little differently – after all, Formals are getting a little passé – look no further. The Las Vegas official website recommends staying at the Hard Rock hotel, and living it large at The Bank nightclub at the Bellagio. And for those looking to gamble the night away – the sky is the limit!

4.Balloon Ride over Bagan Temples, Myanmar – Airborne Splendour

Burma/ Myanmar is hands down the most exciting country to travel to right now. Unspoilt by the hordes of full-moon partygoers heading to nearby Thailand, its pristine sites are a delight to those who enjoy being off the beaten track. But far-flung travel need not mean dingy hotels and dodgy plumbing. Burma’s finest site is probably the Bagan temple plain, easily the rival of the heavily frequented Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Well over 2000 temples are scattered across a dusty plain beside the lazy Irrawaddy River – and what better way to see them than from the air. Eastern Safaris offer hot air balloon rides at dawn and dusk – when the light is at its best – a relative bargain at $350 pp. What are you waiting for!

5.The Galapagos – Idyllic Cruising

Birthplace of evolutionary theory (sort-of), Darwin himself knew the Galapagos were worth cruising to. From around £2000 pp for a week, some of the finest scenery and wildlife on the planet does not come cheap, however. Still, it is undoubtedly worth paying for – the perfect end to your trip which has involved the ubiquitous South America salt-pan photos, with perhaps a visit to the Ecuadorean volcanoes. Go next summer, and relive the dawn of modern biology before/ after dropping by the Football World Cup in Brazil!