The $54,000 'Road' Trip

Ok, some people say they love the “journey” to the destination -- be it grandma’s house or an educational trip for the kids -- but there is nothing romantic about spending endless hours on the road, bad directions, packing and unpacking luggage, not to mention refereeing whiny kids and fielding DVD requests and bodies being tossed around the family SUV.

Add to that, the stiff and achy feeling you get each time you climb out of the cramped driver’s seat to fill the tank, only to fold yourself up again into close quarters for another stretch with fast food in hand. Had enough?

Well now you can switch up the family road trip with a Mauiva AirCruise that costs from $54K to $107,940. Sound pricey? It is, but you get the entire plane. Rather than hear your teenagers complain about not wanting to leave their friends behind, take them and their parents along – up to 30 people per trip – and split the cost. Or not.

Uri Argov is the man behind Mauiva’s AirCruise concept, a zany combination of cruise and an old-fashioned motorcoach tour that takes travel and travelers to the next level – treating everyone on board like a celebrity or a rock star by streamlining trips with private aircraft departing out of Los Angeles and New York. Like cruises, you can add pre and post excursions, but you get to visit inland attractions that no cruise can reach.

“My husband is not into traveling much especially with other people, but we know what it’s like to navigate a car in places you don’t know, wasting time getting lost on a vacation so we decided to treat ourselves to this Mauiva trip…go as VIPs,” says Chicago resident Jessica Perez. On July 4th weekend she, her husband and their six-year old boarded a private jet for the West Coast itinerary.

Once you hit the tarmac, you are whisked off into a private motorcoach that is waiting just outside the aircraft, your luggage magically lands in your hotel room and you simply enjoy the destination. Combine both the west and east coast itineraries for a full two-week adventure and spice it up.

“You don’t handle your own luggage, do not have to go through security, all tips are covered and the escorts speak Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese,” adds Perez. As a Mauiva VIP, you jump to the head of the line at all of the attractions – rather than wait the three hours to get to the top of the CN Tower in Toronto or a primo view at Niagara Falls.

The "All-American East Experience" stops in Niagara Falls – both the American and Canadian sides – Toronto, Niagara On The Lake, Hershey Chocolate Factory in Hershey, PA, Amish country in Lancaster, PA, Washington, D.C. and George Washington’s estate at Mt. Vernon in Virginia.

On the flip side of the country, the "Western Wonder Experience" visits Monterey, Carmel, CA, San Francisco, Sausalito, Muir Woods, Yoseminite national Park and Sonoma County, CA, plus Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon, NV.

Still wedded to doing all on your own? Brad Conner, marketing manager for Mauiva pins the price of a typical itinerary at $4,000 per person if you booked this on your own, whereas if you join a group of 25 to 30 people on one of his tours your trip will cost $2,000 or less.

Feeling less than altruistic about your vacation time? Charter the entire experience on your own for $54K and use limos for private tours, rather than bussing with friends or relatives, upgrade the hotels from four-star to five-star or better and spice up your life with private tours.

Click here for more from Travel