Around the world, without excess

By Jeri Clausing
*INSIGHTLOGO200x115With the boom in luxury over the past few years there has also been a steady rise in round-the-world trips, particularly in seemingly over-the-top adventures with per-person costs upward of $100,000.

But there are still some-tried-and-true adventures for travelers seeking luxury global adventures that don’t exceed many middle-class families’ annual salaries.

Cunard, for example, just announced a series of round-the-world itineraries on its famed Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria ships, with prices starting around $20,000.JeriClausing

And a Canadian tour company that has been offering private jet trips in the late 1980s offers its 25-day round-the-world tours for $32,995 per person.

Ben Nierop, president of Travel Guild Inc./Private Jet Adventures, says he keeps the costs down by booking five-star hotels, just not five-star “plus, plus, plus.”

And while many tour companies are scurrying to add the latest in luxurious, lie-flat seats, the plane he leases has more traditional first-class seats. That’s all that’s needed, he says, because none of the flight segments exceed five hours.

“I affectionately call it the working man’s around-the-world trip,” he said, noting, however, that “many of the people flying with us could probably pay twice the price. And we have some people saying, ‘You should charge more for this.’”

But he says with his reasonable prices, casual atmosphere and changing itineraries, every trip since he restarted the annual tours in 2004 has had a repeat passenger rate of 25% to 40%.

And with an upcharge of just $3,000 for solo travelers, “It’s a wonderful trip for singles,” he said. “We have quite a few men and women who come alone.”

Nierop says plans his trip runs from Nov. 23 to 25, departing from Calgary to Anchorage. From there, the plane heads to Seoul, Borneo Beach, Singapore, Jaipur, Abu Dhabi, Malta, Casa Blanca, Morocco and Iceland.
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