The World’s Most Expensive Trip

A new journey organized by London’s Hurlingham Travel, a bespoke luxury travel company, has made headlines for being the “World’s Most Expensive Holiday.”  The trip, which would take two years, costs a hefty £990,000 (approximately $1.5 million). Whoever is lucky enough to be able to afford the holiday would visit hundreds of UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Taj Mahal DaylightDestinations included on this high-priced adventure include the Taj Mahal in India, the Great Pyramids in Egypt, the Forbidden City in China, and the site of Machu Picchu in Peru. Currently, the trip is for sale on British website VeryFirstTo.com. The website promises business-class flights whenever it is possible and accommodations in hotels such as the Cipriani in Venice and Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton.

Douro ValleyDon’t have a million bucks to spend on a vacation? Trips organized by Academic Arrangements Abroad might not visit hundreds of World Heritage sites, but many of our travel programs include spots on the UNESCO list. For example, our Rajasthan program features a sunrise viewing of the Taj Mahal as well as a stop at the Jantar Mantar Observatory.  Travelers on “In the Realm of Angkor: The Splendors of Thailand & Cambodia” admire the magnificent 12th-century temple of Angkor Wat. The 19 perfectly aligned Windmills of Kinderdjik, built in the 17th century and placed on the list of UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997, are part of our 2014 “Dutch & Flemish Landscapes” program. And a cruise from Porto travels through Portugal’s Douro River Valley, the world’s first demarcated wine region.

Kinderdijk_ZhenWhich World Heritage sites would you most like to see?

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What’s Your Dream Trip?

By Ingrid Ahlgren

Bali beach flowerEveryone has a trip they fantasize about taking someday. Perhaps it is a safari in Kenya, a cruise along Norway’s fjords, or a visit to Machu Picchu.

We asked Arrangements Abroad staff members to tell us about their dream trips. Where would they go, and what would they like to see or do on these journeys of a lifetime?

Assistant Tour Coordinator Stephanie Tack, who has an MFA in dance, would love to travel to Bali and see the island’s dances, theatrical performances and music rituals.

“I would like to talk with the dance teacher about dance and ritual in their culture and observe young students learning and maybe participate in a dance class,” she explains. “I would also like to observe locals practicing Balinese Gamelan music and learn more about the intricate rhythms and how the instruments are made.”

Gloria and drivers in IndiaSome staffers have already taken their fantasy journeys. Vice President of Communications Gloria De Luca says every trip she’s taken to India has been a dream trip.

Gloria in India“Her sights, sounds, smells and serendipitous experiences are never twice the same — and the spectacle of color always leaves me speechless,” she says. “From the smelly camels and dusty smiles of Pushkar, to the quiet terraces and rose-petal baths at the magical hotels of Udaipur, India is a surreal celebration of life — I always have to pinch myself when the journey ends.”Gloria with henna hands

Several years ago, Senior Editor Sara Welch took a luxury barge cruise with her mother through the south of France.

Sara and her mom“The captain was named France, and the ship was blue and white and had lots of flower boxes,” Sara recalls.

The seven-day cruise on the Rhone River started in Nîmes and ended in Lyon. Shore excursions included the Papal Palace in Avignon, the Cisterican Abbey in Sénanque, the ochre quarries of Roussillon, Aigues-Mortes (medieval town surrounded by salt flats — purple waters and pink flamingoes), and Arles, which was Sara’s favorite.

She explains: “van Gogh painted over 200 canvases in 444 days here before slicing off his ear. Arles’ ancient streets are shaded with fig trees and wisteria vines, and at night you can see the same sky that inspired The Starry Night.”

AvignonThe scenery during the voyage included bright yellow sunflowers bobbing in the breeze, vineyards, olive groves and fields of lavender. Sara adds that the food was fabulous: “roast pork with stewed apples, fresh anchovies wrapped around olives, and lots of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.”

What is your dream trip?

Machu Picchu Celebrates its Centennial Year of Rediscovery

On July 24, 1911, 36-year-old Yale professor Hiram Bingham came upon the spectacular site of Machu Picchu and revealed one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Built around 1450 at the height of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu covers 125 square miles in a dramatic mountain setting, surrounded by thick jungle. Its homes, temples, terraces, walls and other structures were stunningly built 7,970 feet above sea level without use of the wheel and without mortar. There are theories as to the purpose of the “Lost City of the Incas” and to the reason behind its abandonment in 1572, but none has been proven. The site was not completely abandoned for all those centuries however: Believe it or not, when Bingham found it, there were people still living there, cultivating the land.

Happy Birthday, glorious and mysterious Machu Picchu! Thanks to limited tourism, you look great for 100 (and even better for 561).