This may be hard to believe, but billionaires and other members of the top 1% (in earnings) live a life pretty far removed from us lesser mortals. Even an anomaly like Warren Buffet, one of the world's richest men, who is famously frugal - having lived in the same modest house in a similarly modest manner for the last few decades - employs personal security which costs him close to half a million dollars a year, even though his own salary as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway is only a hundred thousand dollars (never mind that his holdings in the company are worth an esitmated $85 billion).
They live completely different lives is what we're saying, and perhaps nowhere is this more evident than during their vacations.
The Guardian reported that due to the enormous stress of running multi-billion dollar conglomerates and thus deciding the fate of industries, workers, even economies and countries, many super-rich people have started taking sabbaticals, for anywhere between a month and a year, to just decompress. Indeed, according to the report, specialized travel agencies have started establishing even more niche divisions to cater exclusively to the 1%.
Here, bespoke trips are planned for the super-rich, comprising itineraries and travel arrangements for extended holidays, featuring accomodations, foods, activities and other sundries which the rest of us can barely imagine.
Or they go back to the basics! In a super niche way, of course.
The report quoted Tom Barber, founder of London-based agency Original Travel, who said, "It’s a huge trend. The wealthy are looking for an escape. Often they want to get some sense of a back-to-basics lifestyle and learn the skills of our ancestors, like how to hunt and cook their own food."
Finnish Lapland's equivalent to Uber! Filmed by our Co-Founder Nick on his festive family break. #Lapland #FamilyTravel pic.twitter.com/p3550TDEUM — Original Travel (@OriginalTravel) December 19, 2018
Others, of course, are all about the swagger of swag. "For others, it’s ‘braggability’. They want to use their money to open doors that normal people can’t and to tell their friends all about it. If you’re in the 0.01%, you are going to be a competitive type of person,” said Barber.
Recent 'Super Sabbaticals', organized by Original Travel, include snow leopard spottings in India's Ladakh region, living with the Sān people of Botswana and diving with sharks in the “sardine run”, which takes place off the coast of South Africa.
Barber told The Guardian that, over the past six years, his company had arranged 80 sabbatical trips, the shortest being at least a month long, and had noted a spike in bookings last year. Keeping Barber's company, um, company, are high-end travel agencies in the US, which have reported a similar trend and are also launching sabbatical services.
Given that the world has seen a surge in the number of millionaires and billionaires in 2017-2018, it's no wonder that people are looking for more exclusive experiences, tailored specifically to their tastes, and have the bank balance to be able to afford it.
For instance, Barber noted that while most of the sabbaticals were for a month or two, he had also arranged a year-long break for a billionaire who wanted “some time to reconnect with this family”. The trip cost well in excess of £1 million, and the family visited a total of 65 countries. Original Travel and its associates planned every part of the trip, except for the flight tickets, since the family simply flew to each destination in their private jet.
So, who wants to be a billionaire?