[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he trend for “extreme travel” is gaining traction, with tour companies such as Total Management creating thrilling packages for only the bravest of travellers. The new luxury, it seems, is to be able to do things that fill your friends with awe and envy. And, for the rich, the new thrill is danger and discomfort.
“Experiences by Total Management” is a new division for the company, which now offers moneyed travellers the chance to do anything from film their own documentary with a BAFTA award-winning production team, to more dangerous activities such as polar diving in Antarctica.
Globetrender asked a spokesperson why they decided to launch “Experiences”. They said: “We believe that luxury is no longer something associated with just goods and possessions, but rather extraordinary and exclusive experiences that can be shared and remembered.
“Experiences by Total Management was launched in response to demand from our clients, both individuals and corporates alike, for unique and extraordinary experiences. Through our global network of partners in the travel, hospitality, sport, fashion and music industries we have been able to carefully curate a portfolio of exciting and varied global opportunities that broaden the horizons of our clients’ every-day approach to entertainment, adventure and experiences.”
Of the kinds of experiences available, which are proving of most interest? Our “Experience” collection ranges from Gourmand, Health and Wellbeing, Travel and Adventure, Fashion and Style, Sport, and Art and Culture. Interest is varied and it depends on the season and also the client.
“However, the Travel and Adventure experiences are ever-increasing in popularity with clients who have previously lacked the time or resources to create their own opportunities, which is where we come in. We have noticed in recent years that more and more people want to fully immerse themselves in ‘travel’ and go beyond the realms of regular experiences such as a hotel in Tuscany.”
Here are four extreme travel adventures from around the world, as chosen and presented by Total Management…
This extreme travel journey starts with a two-day crossing over the Drake Passage looking out for whales, albatross and icebergs. Once in Antarctica, you will have daily excursions on land and participate in the activity programme of diving, snorkelling or kayaking. There will also be Zodiac cruises through the ice to visit scientific stations.
Travel will be on board ice-strengthened expedition vessel Polar Pioneer (for 54 people), which is able to make landings where others can’t. At 72 meters long, it is smaller than most ships visiting Antarctica. You will explore the deep bays and fjords of the Antarctic Peninsula where massive glaciers flank a rugged spine of snowy mountains.
Scattered amongst penguin rookeries and basking seals, reminders of early explorers bring history to life, and scientific stations open the door to fascinating research. Travel through the iceberg canyons of Antarctic Sound to the Weddell Sea, where huge glaciers pour down between the mountains from the polar plateau, and plates of ice the size of city blocks cover the ocean’s surface.
Visit fossil-rich islands, wildlife havens and remnants of historic explorers’ huts. Venture across the Antarctic Circle beyond 66°33” South, takes you to a frozen region of brooding mountain ranges, massive blue icebergs and waterways taut with fast ice. Plentiful krill attracts the continent’s greatest variety and concentration of wildlife, including orcas, leopard seals, fur seals, penguins and snow petrels.
Duration: 11-12 days. Price starts from US$7,800 per person and is for one to three people.
Cortina D’Ampezzo is internationally renowned for being part of the Dolomiti Superski area of Italy, which is the world’s largest skiing carousel linking 12 resorts. From alpine and nordic skiing to heli-skiing and serious hiking, Cortina is a paradise for snow sports enthusiasts.
This skiing experience in Cortina allows skiers to visit some of the area’s most celebrated restaurants, including the Michelin-starred La Siriola. This one-off package includes a morning on the slopes with an ex-world champion in the Tofane Mountains along with the option of heli-skiing.
Duration: four nights. Price is on application and is for one to eight people.
Ice-driving is rarely undertaken by anyone other than Formula One drivers in order to perfect their driving techniques, test their cars’ limits and push boundaries. With a world-class instructor at your side you will experience driving a 300-horsepower Porsche 911 across a frozen Swedish lake, rally style. Just imagine all those doughnuts and hand-brake turns you’ll be able to do…
Duration: three nights with one day of driving. Price is £7,000 for two people.
Taking place over three days in the English countryside, you will familiarise yourself with the various psychological and physical stages of kidnap through the teachings and knowledge of specialist negotiators. Develop and learn surveillance skills, disguises, understanding your environment and covert gadgetry, used by intelligence operatives and special forces around the world. Then learn how to handle weapons with ex-Special Forces instructors.
Finally, learn self-defence from one of the UK’s top martial arts teachers. Learn to improve your situational awareness, ability to handle fear, focus, and stay calm under pressure. The experience will give you the confidence to be able to spot danger, avoid it and, if necessary, handle it using conflict resolution and self-protection techniques.
If you want to put your training into practice overseas, you can pay an additional £35,000 for “scenario-based training” and “opulent accommodation”. For an unpublished amount, you can even board a luxury yacht and experience a week-long secret mission so you’re guaranteed to feel like you’re living in a James Bond movie. (Pirating will almost certainly be on the menu.) This, surely, is the ultimate in luxury extreme travel?