Your dad taught you how to play ball. How to shave and drive a stick shift. He ingrained in you a deep love for certain sports franchises and an enduring hatred for others. And you’ve been repaying him with … socks and ties? It’s time to step it up.
With international travel continuing to open up — and even brighter days hopefully ahead in the near future — this is the perfect year to plan a bucket-list father-and-child getaway. You don’t have to travel right now, either: book a trip and then dream about it for the next six or 12 months if you prefer, which is often half the fun, anyway.
“I’ve traveled extensively with my dad over the years and it’s been some of the most memorable and impactful moments in my life,” says Tom Marchant, co-founder of bespoke luxury operator Black Tomato. “Travels with dad are always about discovering things that are new and unusual, and it’s how I wish to travel with my children, too.”
So pay the old man back once and for all, with an epic and unforgettable journey. Think of a passion the two of you share, a destination you’ve both been desperate to visit, an activity you’d love to try … and then amplify that dream tenfold. Below, we’ve compiled 14 of the most outlandishly high-end and breathtaking adventures on earth: think road trips across Iceland, fishing expeditions in Patagonia, wildlife exploration from the Galápagos to the Maasai Mara, and unreal celestial events near both poles of the globe. Whatever your fancy, these getaways are sure to match it, offering something for every type of traveler and every type of dad.
Total Solar Eclipse Cruise to Antarctica
If a total solar eclipse and luxury Antarctic cruise are both once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, imagine knocking them out together with one incredible journey. PONANT is offering just that with a 16-night total solar eclipse itinerary aboard its Le Commandant Charcot vessel. The trip departs from Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, on November 30th, and returns on December 14th.
In between, brace yourself to experience the legendary and rugged Drake Passage, sail by the Larsen Ice Shelf, visit the South Shetland Islands, and view all of the seals, penguins and whales you can handle. And, oh yes, that total solar eclipse: the stars have aligned so this ultra-rare event is viewable from the Weddell Sea ice pack on December 4th. It’s an eerie and surreal experience even when you aren’t amid one of the most desolate and unique climates on the planet; here, that’s exactly where you are. Book a cabin with packages starting from $18,860.
Nairobi to Maasai Mara Kenyan Safari
Intrepid Travel, already the world’s largest travel B corp and one of its leading small-group tour operators, announced a new collection of Intrepid Premium journeys earlier this year. You’ll have all the same intimate and unique cultural experiences they’re known for, but with a bit more of a cushiony, white-glove experience along the way.
Take their seven-day Premium Kenya itinerary. Start your safari in Nairobi with a stay overlooking the Nairobi National Park, where you’ll be welcomed by traditional Maasai warrior song and dance. Transfer to Lake Nakuru National Park for a chance to view endangered black and white rhinos, then visit the Elsamere Conservation Center and Lake Naivasha.
This all builds up to the payoff: a three-night stay deep within the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. Make your safari dreams come true as you search for the famed Big 5 on daily 4×4 game drives, enjoying sundowner cocktails and premium accommodations that would make Hemingway envious. Departures begin in February 2022 and start at $4,200 per person.
Ski & Sail Under The Northern Lights in Norway
Ultra-luxury travel operator Black Tomato doesn’t do anything halfway. Take their Lofoten Islands Ski & Sail itinerary, an adventurous getaway to Norway’s Fjordland. “My father was a big sailor and raced across the channel so I grew up on boating expeditions with him and it instilled from a young age a love of the outdoors and adventures,” Marchant says.
Homebase for the expedition will be a historical schooner, a small vessel allowing you to navigate icy waters in total isolation, traversing near-uncharted territories under the allure of the Northern Lights. Strap on your skis during the day, with an abundance of mountain peaks to choose from for your downhills. Leave the ski passes at home; you and dad will be the only ones on these slopes. Reward yourself for conquering the challenging terrain with lavish dinners back aboard, toasting one another to a job well done. Prices start at $8,000 per person.
World Class Watersports & Private Villas in Turks & Caicos
What do you think of when you imagine Turks & Caicos? It’s the powdery white sand beaches and turquoise waters, no doubt, with the luxury accommodations to match. But there’s more to the TCI than meets the eye, as it’s a water adventurer’s haven, highlighted by world-class kiteboarding thanks to ideal conditions, with extensive shallow waters and consistent, close-to-shore winds. Turks & Caicos also has one of the world’s largest reef systems, resplendent with diving, snorkeling, boating and fishing opportunities.
When Simon Henault and his family decided to begin a new Caribbean life, far removed from the frigid Quebec winters they were accustomed to, they chose Turks & Caicos … and it wasn’t for the beaches, it was for the kiteboarding. Now, with White Villas, his family can tailor a custom watersports vacation for yours, with a stay in one of their eight premium villas, each with its own private plunge pool. “The difference between our place and others is that we personally are involved,” he says. “It’s the luxury amenities of a hotel with the privacy of a villa.”
White Villas handles all of the logistics for you, from having a rental car awaiting your arrival to loading up the itinerary with your wildest watersports fantasies and arranging for private-chef meals hosted right from your own villa. And those white sandy beaches? A two-minute walk away. Weeklong bookings start at $3,955 in the offseason and $6,930 during peak times.
Overland Jeep Safari Road Trip in Patagonia
The remote expanse of Patagonia provides you and dad with a worthy destination you can conquer. Embark with Quasar Expeditions on an Overland Jeep Safari through the untamed region spanning the southern tips of Chile and Argentina, replete with towering mountains and pristine glacial lakes.
Visit iconic sites such as Torres del Paine National Park, El Calafate, Perito Moreno Glacier and El Chalten. Spend your days hiking, kayaking and trekking across glaciers and icefields, and then soothe your muscles with stays at some of South America’s finest alpine lodges. The fun doesn’t stop there, either, with plenty of wildlife (think Andean condors and pumas), wine from local producers and Patagonian barbecues also on the docket. Three different base itineraries can be fully customized, with the southern summer season of September to April providing an ideal travel window.
Antarctica for the Day From South Africa
When you really want to get to Antarctica but don’t want to commit to a two-week journey, how about going for a day? No, really. Explorateur Journeys is offering an Antarctica For The Day package, with a private Gulfstream flight transporting you from South Africa across the vast icy expanse to Wolf’s Fang Runway. You’ll have a full day loaded up with activities to explore the epic environs before heading back to South Africa.
The trip begins with a luxury stay in Cape Town and then continues with a safari through the famed Sabi Sands Game Reserve after your Antarctic interlude. The memoir practically writes itself: two generations visit two continents in one day, then revel in the journey at a luxury safari camp. Select dates are available for booking in 2022 and 2023, with prices starting at $27,999 per person.
Luxury Galápagos Adventure Cruise
Few destinations call to the inner explorer residing within each of us more than the Galápagos Islands, and INCA has been a leader in expeditions to the archipelago for decades, combining a conservation ethos with experienced guides, and of course, both creatures and creature comforts. You’ll feel just like Darwin, but with air conditioning and Champagne.
Hop aboard the 141-foot luxury yacht Integrity for a nine-day Galápagos Adventure. The boat is equipped to handle just 16 guests in the utmost comfort per voyage. Visit all of the iconic sites across the islands, with daily snorkeling excursions to witness the vibrant and diverse underwater environment. Above sea level, you’ll have ample time for viewing giant tortoises, penguins and sea lions, and not one, not two, but three varieties of Boobies. That’s Red-footed, Blue-footed and Nazca, my friends.
Numerous sailings are available throughout 2021 and 2022, with prices starting at $6,995 per person.
Heed Your Call of the Wild in Alaska
Another of Black Tomato’s specialties is creating immersive itineraries based on iconic television shows, movies and books. When it’s time for you and dad to heed your inner Call of the Wild, then, book the company’s Take Me on a Story Alaska journey.
This nine-night itinerary inspired by Jack London’s seminal tale retraces the footsteps of the Klondike Gold Rush, teaches you survival techniques and takes you spelunking through massive cave systems. Go on a rafting adventure on Spencer Glacier, take a private tour of the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and enjoy a wildlife safari by kayak to view wolves, bears, moose and all their brethren.
And did we mention the helicopter dog-mushing adventure? Take a private helicopter to the peak of a remote glacier, learn the ropes and then take the reins, leading your loyal pack on a day of dog sledding. At the end of another storybook day, you’ll stay at renowned outposts such as Sheldon Chalet, Winterlake Lodge and Hotel Alyeska.
Bookings are available for June through September, with prices starting at $38,750 per person.
Land Rover Defender Tour Across Iceland
Close your eyes and picture yourself riding in style across a harsh, open expanse. In your mind’s eye, you’re in a Land Rover Defender, aren’t you? Then make it happen by hopping in one of the iconic vehicles with Classic Journeys on their five-night Icelandic Land Rover Defender Tours.
Of course, your ride is only worthwhile if it takes you off the grid and to some truly spectacular settings for adventure. Think glacier hikes, ice caves, lava fields, waterfalls, black sand beaches and more. Even better, you’ll be driving your own D10 Defender as opposed to sitting in the backseat with a driver. Still, experienced guides and support vehicles are on hand, giving you the best of both worlds: do-it-yourself exploration and thrills with knowledgeable assistance, all backed up by luxury accommodations and meals.
Three departures are currently on the docket: October 24-29, 2021, April 10-15, 2022, and October 23-28, 2022, with prices starting at $7,498 per guest.
Yacht Diving in the Mediterranean
EYOS Expeditions is the name to know when you want a private yacht charter specializing in adventure. The operator is known for its far-flung locales and extreme capabilities, such as being the first expedition to take tourists to the Mariana Trench. For a bit more R&R on your journey, though, EYOS is hosting a series of Expeditionize the Mediterranean sailings.
This is the Mediterranean like you’ve never seen it. Make use of the six-guest U-Boat Navigator vessel, which comes equipped with two Triton submersibles capable of diving to depths of 3,000 feet. Head to Messina’s Volcanic Triangle north of Sicily, or view a hidden seascape of battle-wrecked ships and planes near Malta. At night, you’ll have to settle for merely living it up alongside picturesque Mediterranean ports like Portofino.
Charters for the six-guest U-Boat Navigator starts at $146,000 per week. Or bring the whole extended family on a week-long private charter aboard the 13-cabin Bleu de Nimes yacht, starting at approximately $520,000.
Arizona Grand Canyon Bucket List Road Trip
You don’t have to look abroad to think big with an epic vacation. That’s certainly the case when it comes to the gold standard of father-child bonding. That’s right, the American road trip. Arizona has declared 2021 the year of the road trip, and they’re building out bucket-list-worthy road trips across the state’s major attractions.
Stay in top notch accommodations such as Castle Hot Springs and the Camelback on Sanctuary in between visits to the gold standard of American road trip destinations: the Grand Canyon. Even as you drive from site to site, you don’t have to stay in the car, though — hop in a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Sonoran desert or charter a train into the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, including overnight luxury train car accommodations.
If you prefer to hit the water, try a luxury houseboat rental on Lake Powell, with water skis and wakeboards to help eat up those free hours, or a rafting tour down Horseshoe Bend. Not enough? OK, hot shot, try an aviation adventure from Fighter Combat International, drive an exotic supercar at Racing Adventures School of High Performance Driving and Racing, or head out on an H1 Hummer off-roading tour through the desert with Stellar Adventures.
Fly Fishing in Chilean Patagonia
Paternal fishing trips are as tried and true as it gets. That doesn’t mean you can’t mix up the routine, though. Hit up the good folks at Heli, the adventure-travel concierge with a by-adventurers-for-adventurers ethos that aims to make aspirational trips more accessible.
Check out their seven-day Fly Fishing Trip at Yelcho Lake in Chilean Patagonia, offered in conjunction with the ChimaLife Patagonia Lodge. “A father-and-son fishing trip is a tale as old as time,” says Heli’s COO Clark Winter. “And this kind of trip is like landing the big one together.”
The trip also includes hiking excursions, fine dining and the wondrous, endless views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. Prices start at $5,800 per person, with customizable itineraries.
Luxury Exploration Along the Peruvian Amazon
Simply saying the name of the Amazon River calls to mind an off-the-beaten-path adventure. If we haven’t been clear by now though, let us quickly reiterate — there’s no reason you can’t combine that ideal with a luxe sensibility. Take a five-star trip with Aqua Expeditions aboard the brand new 20-cabin Aqua Nera, a vessel debuting this summer. Help break her in as you embark down the Peruvian Amazon and through the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, visiting indigenous towns and villages while observing everything from sloths and pink dolphins to piranha, toucans and anacondas.
Seven-night sailings departing from Iquitos, Peru this fall are available with early-bird pricing starting at $7,700 per person, while a range of shorter itineraries are also available. Prices vary by season and trip duration.
Private Photographic Serengeti Safari
The Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti in Tanzania has launched its Connected Souls private photo safari series led by acclaimed wildlife photographer Paul Joynson-Hicks. Since you never want to be the idiot actually hunting these glorious animals, you and dad can learn how to hunt for the perfect shot instead.
The four-night package includes daily guided safaris, with accommodations in a villa with private pool and 24-hour attendant service. Review your best shots with Joynson-Hicks and plan for upcoming sessions with expert tutorials, talks and tips.
The Four Seasons lodge itself is in the heart of the Serengeti, with unobstructed views in all directions and wildlife viewing opportunities right from your villa. Live it up with a dinner in the bush, a walking safari with the Maasai, and a hot air balloon ride paired with a Champagne breakfast. Prices start at $3,360 per person.
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