We’ve all thought about taking that dream luxury vacation, and then abruptly stopped ourselves midway through visions of a romantic trip to Bora Bora because frankly, it’s never going to be something we can afford. Well, a recent survey by travel management company Travel Leaders indulged 1,045 travelers in mapping out just where they would go if money were no object. From relaxing on the beaches of Fiji to cruising the rivers of Europe, these are the top 10 fantasy trips for travelers who weren’t allowed to vacation on a budget.
From the sail-like cityscape of Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef and tropical climate of Cairns, Australia is the clear winner of the fantasy vacation challenge. A whopping 47 percent of respondents listed Australia as their top place to travel if money were no object. With roundtrip first class flights from New York to Sydney costing upwards of $4,700, even just getting to Australia could break the bank, but who’s to say we can’t dream?
2. Bora Bora
Bora Bora was recently awarded the title of “the best island in the world” by U.S. News & World Report. The island’s isolation in the South Pacific makes for both a serine and stunning vacation as well as an extremely expensive trip. Bora Bora’s tropical climate and crystal clear waters make it a no-brainer on the fantasy list, with 26 percent of respondents placing it in their top spot. But don’t get too excited, once you get there, local resorts like the Four Seasons Bora Bora can cost as much as $5,000 per night.
3. A cruise around the world
This choice is pretty obvious, but surprisingly only 20 percent of respondents decided to see the whole world during their dream vacation. The Cunard cruise line will offer three around-the-world voyages in 2014. The ship will stop at 78 destinations on six continents over the course of three months. While this may seem like the best bang for your buck, the cruise can cost up to $60,000 per person if all luxury amenities are include, which, on a dream vacation, they clearly will be.
Tahiti is the largest, and one of the busiest, of the 118 islands that make up French Polynesia. Formed from volcanoes, the scenic archipelago of French Polynesia made the top 10 dream destination list twice. Known for its overwater bungalows, designed in the style of traditional island houses, Tahiti is an intimate and romantic setting for those who need some time away. Rooms at the bungalow resort, Le Meridian Tahiti, go for about $850 a night.
Seventeen percent of respondents said they would choose to visit Italy for their dream vacation. Maybe it’s for the food, the wine, the people. Whatever these dreamers are looking for, it’s likely waiting for them in Europe’s little boot. If money is really no object, why not pop open an expensive Tuscan wine in your luxury villa on the Amalfi coast, which only costs measly $30,000 a week?
6. European River Cruise
A European river cruise is a great way to see the smaller, often overlooked towns of Europe. Because Europe’s oldest cities were constructed along rivers like the Rhine and Danube, a cruise naturally passes beside dozens of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The luxury cruise line French Fusion offers a 27-day river cruise from Amsterdam to Istanbul for around $14,000 per person.
7. South Africa
Even Teddy Roosevelt dreamed of, and eventually took, an African safari. In 1915, he wrote about “the strong attraction of the silent places, of the large tropic moons, and the splendor of the new stars.” It seems fitting that 14 percent of respondents would choose a trip to South Africa for their dream vacation. Whether enjoying the bustling city of Cape Town or the wilderness of Kruger National Park, South Africa has many must-see sites. If you’re really going all out, why not stay with Sir Richard Branson at his Ulusaba Lodge? It only costs just over $6,000 per person, per night.
8. United Arab Emirates
A luxury trip to the UAE can literally and figurative reach heights that other destinations never will, so it’s not surprising that 12 percent of respondents chose to travel to the opulent Arab country. Whether you'd rather ski indoors and climb the world's tallest building in Dubai or sleep like a king in Abu Dhabi (for $14,000 per night), United Arab Emirates is the perfect destination to blow all your cash.
9. Cruise through the Mediterranean
Many of us dream about cruising around the Greek Isles and 13 percent of respondents said a voyage through the Mediterranean is what they would chose for their money-is-no-object vacation. Whether it’s vistas of white-washed stucco villas or the taste of fresh fish pulled from an overly-salty sea, the draw of the Mediterranean has attracted luxury travelers for generations. If you really want to go for it on your dream vacation, rent a private luxury mega yacht for just $776,400 a week.
Hollywood has had a love affair with Fiji’s natural beauty since 1932, when Edward Sutherland used its cinematic landscape as the setting for his film “Mr. Robinson Crusoe.” Just a glimpse of Fiji through film is enough to make 11 percent of respondents chose it as a dream vacation location. If you’re going, go big and rent the whole island of Laucala (pictured above) for $150,000 a night.