As coronavirus restrictions ease, wealthy Brits go on a trip of a lifetime.


Wealthy people are “blowing the bloody doors” on a luxurious vacation worth £100,000 to celebrate the easing of coronavirus travel restrictions with large families.

Sally Donaldson, store manager at luxury travel agency Kuoni, said she was trembling when a couple with two children recently spent more than £50,000 on a trip to the Caribbean island of Antigua.

“It’s a lot of money. It’s amazing,” Donaldson said. “We are happy to help our customers. But when you look at the money you spend on vacation, it starts to shake a bit. More than what most people earn in years? I wonder what these people are doing, but they all work hard and we all deserve a vacation.”

Donaldson, who manages Cuoni’s branch within the John Lewis department store on Oxford Street in London, says customers who had to cut back on travel plans during the COVID-19 pandemic have free cash and are now ready to spend the big bucks. She and her colleagues have sold other custom tours for over £100,000.

“People haven’t traveled in two years because of the epidemic, they want to travel again, and they don’t question the price,” she said. “More than 80% of people mention the epidemic as a reason to want to go out.

“This is no ordinary European break,” she said. “This is a special trip of a lifetime.”

As the pandemic eases, the trend of booking very expensive vacations (what industry leaders call “satisfaction”) was noted in a study by travel agency ABTA.

ABTA’s Sean Tipton said, “With travel being severely restricted for more than two years, people are desperately wanting to go abroad, and many are booking vacations of a lifetime.” “Most of these trips will be funded by funds saved during the pandemic, when opportunities to go to restaurants, bars, cinemas, theaters and other recreational activities are significantly reduced and many people have increased their savings as a result.”

With most Britons facing their biggest income pressure since at least 1990, the Bank of England warns people that inflation will soar to 10%, energy bills close to £3,000 a year and interest rates rise.

Antarctica
It may seem a bit chilly, but bucket-list trips to Antarctica are booming. Photo: WorldFoto/Alamy

Tom Barber, founder of London-based travel agency Original Travel, said many of his customers “spent their break time rummaging through coffee table travel brochures and making a list of places they want to go. Now they can finally put the list into action.

“After years of taking travel for granted and losing the right to get around, the guilt-free ‘satisfaction’ is to throw off the shackles of lockdown and quarantine to embrace travel and all the joys of travel once again,” he said.

“Don’t wait for ‘someday’ anymore. It’s time to treat yourself, visit the places you’ve always wanted to visit, enjoy the experiences you’ve always wanted to try, and generally have the vacation you’ve always wanted. Take away.

“People tell us they’re going to blow up that damn door. [on the spending on holidays] this year.”

Barber said average spend per reservation increased from £14,000 in 2018-19 to £21,000. He said around 8% to 10% of all trips cost more than £50,000.

Currently, overseas travel is illegal.

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Not only is it expensive, but vacations are long. Barber said a quarter of all trips booked through his agency are now over 15 days. “A lot of people have been on sabbatical for several months. “They are realizing that getting kids out of school for a semester isn’t a bad thing as long as you’re doing something educational.

“Two years ago, the government said it was illegal to go on vacation. Now people will never take it for granted again.”

Popular “bucket list” trips customers have recently booked, Barber said, include seven-week diving vacations to Indonesia and the Pacific Islands of Palau, five-week sabbatical trips across the United States, and tours to Michelin-starred restaurants in Spain. .

Other major destinations include the Northern Lights in Norway, the mountain gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda, and voyages to Antarctica.

Silverback Mountain Gorilla in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park
Silverback mountain gorillas in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park. Tom Barber, founder of London-based Original Travel, says such trips are now on people’s bucket lists. Photo: Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images

“We have all been dreaming, planning and looking forward to our vacation in 2022 for nearly two years. So it’s not surprising that the types of vacation we book now are in some ways more ‘decadent’. long periods of abstinence.

“Degeneracy means different things to different people. For some, it’s about luxury, for others it’s about hedonism, rich experiences, or getting off the grid entirely.”

Barber says third-generation travel, which he calls 3G, is also gaining popularity because families make the most of time together. “Now we know how important family is, and being together is even more important if our grandparents are through the pandemic.”

It can be difficult to find a place for all three generations to work, Barber said, and travel can be very expensive as travel must take place during the school holidays.

“It will often be a large private rental property like a safari lodge or beachfront villa in Kenya,” he said. “Most of the time, the paying grandparents are traveling as a way to get everyone together.”



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