Expensive Thrills

Activities for the Rich and Their Price Tags

Expensive Thrills
September 11, 2015

Some wealthy people prefer to take simple vacations, similar to the rest of America, but others like to indulge in more exclusive and expensive activities. The recent case of Cecil the Lion is an example of one such activity gone awry — big game trophy hunting that will cost Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer far more than the $55,000 he paid to kill Cecil. Palmer may be looking at a trial and possible punishment in Zimbabwe, and the publicity has put all safari operations under the spotlight.

Adventure safaris range in the tens of thousands of dollars to hunt and kill anything from elephants to leopards to buffalo. However, there are plenty of other adventurous indulgences for the rich that do not involve death — with the possible exception of the adventurer, if he or she is not careful.

  • Space Flight – Space tourists have flown to the International Space Station in the past for price tags ranging from $20 million to $40 million, propelled there by Russian Soyuz rockets. Those flights were arranged through Space Adventures, which offers a series of planned space tourism adventures. Possibilities range from suborbital and zero gravity flights to space station visits, space walks, and even a circumlunar flight (around the moon and back) targeted for 2018. These adventures are priced from a few hundred thousand dollars to an estimated $150 million for the trip around the moon.

    At least within the zero gravity/suborbital space, there is plenty of competition for future flights including XCor, Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic efforts, and Elon Musk's SpaceX. Recent failures may push the schedule back for some of these efforts, but doubtlessly there will be a waiting list of wealthy adventurers ready to sign up.

  • Mountain Climbing Expeditions – Not sure you can handle Mount Everest? Maybe you could start with the second tallest summit in the world — K2, otherwise known as "The Savage Mountain." While not as tall, K2 is considered technically more challenging than Everest.

    Whichever mountain you choose, you can find deals in the range of $20,000-$65,000 for an ascent to the summit — assuming that you are in sufficient physical shape and have the cash to undertake the journey. Keep in mind that there are only certain times when climbs are available, and that there is always the potential for Mother Nature to deal out the unexpected — such as the recent Nepali earthquake that literally moved Mount Everest three centimeters southwest.

  • South Pole Vacation – Say hello to the penguins for us! A cruise with a view is one thing, but an actual visit to the South Pole is quite another. Packages range anywhere from $40,000 to over $120,000, depending on the amount of time and activities involved.

    If you are interested, clear out your December. As you might expect, due to weather conditions the packages have only a narrow window of availability between late November and early January.

  • Deep Sea Excursion – People can go down in submersibles for under $1,000 at lower depths, but if you want to go really deep — like deep enough to see the Titanic — the luxury concierge service Bluefish can offer you that experience for a mere $60,000. You get to look over the remains of the Titanic for approximately 11-12 hours while the submersible's powerful lights illuminate the relic. Sorry, Leonardo DiCaprio is not included.

If you cannot afford any of these items, maybe it is for the best. Let others venture into space, climb mountains, and go on African safaris. Save your money for retirement and enjoy a simpler vacation instead.


Photo ©iStock.com/Vernon Wiley

  Conversation   |   30 Comments

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trish | 09.11.15 @ 17:01
There is so much out there I would love to try and do...but yikes...the cost is overwhelming
Kelley | 09.11.15 @ 17:02
I've always wanted to go deep sea diving.
Britt | 09.11.15 @ 17:02
This all sounds like it would be super fun to do actually.
Owen | 09.11.15 @ 17:02
Sometimes the experience is worth the money
Sarah | 09.11.15 @ 17:03
Oh my giddy aunt that stuff is expensive! I could find a lot of things better to do with that much money - just saying.
Zanna | 09.11.15 @ 17:04
I'd love to try space flight, but there's no way I could afford it!
Steffanie | 09.11.15 @ 17:04
I am a coward. Walking up stairs that you can see through make my toes tingle. There is no way I could do those, but my husband would love it, if it wasn't for the price.
Irene | 09.11.15 @ 17:05
No way! Not only would I not pay to do these things I wouldn't do them if I got paid!
Kyle | 09.11.15 @ 17:06
Pricey indeed, but I am sure they are well worth it.
Sara | 09.11.15 @ 17:07
There is so much I would love to do. However, it costs money and a lot of it. ...
Morgan | 09.11.15 @ 17:08
Even if I could afford it - Nope. No way.
Steven | 09.11.15 @ 17:10
Well sky diving is off the list..... was Airborne for the USA army so jumped regularly.. However, there is still plenty I would like to do.
Christina | 09.11.15 @ 17:14
I guess I'm not very adventurous! If I had that kind of money, I would sooner spend it renting a private island and lounging around on white, sandy beaches with a book and a drink ;)
Bobbie | 09.11.15 @ 17:20
Only if hubby manages to win the Lottery! I think a South Pole vacation would be a blast.
Heather | 09.11.15 @ 17:23
I can't fault someone with money wanting to do some of these. I do have an issue with people doing the big game hunting. These are beautiful creatures that will be extinct if we don't do something about this.
Kathryn | 09.11.15 @ 17:24
I love all of these ideas, too bad I'm still too broke to be able to do these.
Nancy | 09.11.15 @ 17:24
I wouldn't mind stepping out of my comfort zone a bit, but these prices are going to keep me right where I am.
Alec | 09.11.15 @ 17:24
It's on my bucket list to go up in the plane that simulates 0 g! Until then, I think I'll leave extreme vacations alone due to cost and that fact that I'm afraid of subs and freezing to death. ;)
Katie Greene | 09.11.15 @ 17:29
Wow. Some of these are amazing. I would personally never go, even if I could afford them, as I am terrified of heights, but it would make some amazing life experiences for some.
Erin | 09.11.15 @ 17:32
If I had the money, I'd do most of these in a heartbeat. They must all be amazing experiences.
Jennifer Sears | 09.11.15 @ 17:32
Deep sea diving is on my bucket list.
Kamie | 09.11.15 @ 17:32
Anything to do with flying or jumping from miles up in the air is a big no for me.. Nope nope nope, I am meant to stay on the ground, feet planted.
Daniel Dohlstrom | 09.11.15 @ 17:38
For sure if i could i would jump on some of these
Katie | 09.11.15 @ 17:39
Wow!! I need to find a way to make more money so I can afford to do some of these extreme vacations.. It all look so awesome!
gracie | 09.11.15 @ 17:43
I'd love to give everything but the space flight a try. I am not brave enough to be traveling the stars!
amanda | 09.11.15 @ 17:49
The endless possibilities but my oh my the costs!! I would love to see the south pole and the mountains but there's no way I'll ever get there with those costs.
Carla Truett | 09.11.15 @ 17:51
I didn't realize it cost money to climb Mount Everest. Wow! These are great bucket list goals for those fortunate enough to be able to afford it.
Christina | 09.11.15 @ 18:01
I would love to do some of these, but I couldn't bring myself to pay that much.
George Middleton | 09.11.15 @ 18:07
I would like to try deep sea diving,but not going to pay that much for it.
Angie | 09.11.15 @ 18:12
I'm not so sure I would pay that much to do things that are potential reasons I could get killed. I want to be able to come back and tell of my adventures...
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 12.08.16 @ 14:35
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