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3 Bucket List Vacations That Are A Better Value Than You Think

Renting a villa or chartering a boat in Europe or the Caribbean or going on an African safari in search of the Big Five may seem like complicated (or prohibitively expensive) Bucket List trips to plan —but they are actually more doable (and a better value) than you might think. Indagare’s Director of Insider Journeys John Cantrell explains why—and offers his top tips on how to do any one of these trips right. 

Renting a Villa

Best for: Couples, families and friends traveling together

A villa rental is especially ideal for laid-back travelers who want to feel like they’re more at home, no matter where they are. According to John Cantrell, Indagare’s Director of Insider Journeys and a long-time Trip Designer, a villa rental can offer great value if your trip can check at least these two boxes: you’re traveling with a group, say three or four couples or a multi-generational family trip, and you’re visiting an area with limited hotel options that are all luxury.

“The price of renting a house on Mustique will likely be less expensive than spending a week at a five-star in Anguilla,” Cantrell says. Plus, at hotels you’ll pay a premium for everything from daily breakfast to private poolside cabana rentals. Villas are ideal because you have the privacy you want, which is especially favorable for families.

As Cantrell says, “You can swim whenever you want to, or cook if the mood strikes.” That being said, villas also typically come with a manager or butler who can help arrange whatever you desire, whether it’s a private chef for dinner or guided excursions, and allow more flexibility on timing or a change of plans.

How Indagare can help: To maximize on value, Cantrell advises traveling in the shoulder season or being flexible about locations, when booking in beach destinations.

Where to rent a villa:

South of France

“The rental market is so rich, so there’s a lot of availability. You could get a wonderful stone villa that’s 200 years old with its own private garden. It’s the best way to take in the beauty of the area and feel like you’re really living there,” says Cantrell.

EnglandScotland, Ireland

“There are beautiful manor houses and castles in Scotland, England and Ireland that usually come with a lot of bells and whistles.”

Puglia and Sicily; Corsica

“There are some beautiful villas in the more remote corners of Puglia and Sicily (the southeast of the Italian island is particularly scenic). And in Corsica, renting a villa immediately transforms you into a longtime habitué: most return visitors go for a week-long rental near the southern resort areas of Porto Vecchio.”

Contact Indagare for the top villa options in the location that is right for you.

Related: Villa Rental Tips 

Chartering a Yacht

While 200-foot yachts with staff-to-guest ratios of 1:1 can be pricey, a smaller vessel can still provide all the comforts you’ll need for a memorable getaway. According to Cantrell, there are a number of pros to exploring a region by boat. The biggest, perhaps, is that “you’re able to move around and see a lot more, versus staying in a hotel,” he says. While all charters come with a captain and other staff who will be on hand to prepare meals and attend to guests needs, Cantrell also advises that traveling by water may not be for everyone. “It’s for people who have a sense of adventure, and are okay with everything not being completely buttoned up the way it is at a luxury hotel,” he says. “You’re on the open water and things can happen—clouds can roll in, the motor can kick out—but that’s part of the experience.”

How Indagare can help: When considering a charter, don’t forget to ask if the boat comes with water sports equipment you may want to use, such as jet skis or paddle boards. “And if it doesn’t, make sure there is access to it for a reasonable price,” Cantrell says. Also, travelers are often surprised to find their bill includes an Advance Provisioning Allowance (APA)—which covers food, fuel, berthing costs, etc.—and taxes (which vary by country). Contact Indagare for more advice on what you need to know when looking for yacht charter options.

Where to charter a yacht:

Croatia

“The water is staggeringly clear on the Adriatic side, and you’re able to visit small ports of call and more out-of-the-way places.”

British Virgin Islands

“This is a wonderful sailing destination, and you can charter a very good boat that offers great value, especially when you consider the cost per person versus a hotel.” 

Contact Indagare to help arrange the right charter in the location that is best for you.

Related: Yacht Charter Tips

Going on Safari

There’s nothing quite like witnessing wildlife in their natural habitat—an experience that’s very much attainable, beyond just watching a National Geographic documentary. The most important thing to remember is that while expensive, a safari lodge is as all-inclusive as it gets. “Prices are per person per night, but they include all meals, all game drives and activities, and often perks like laundry service,” Cantrell says. To find the value, Cantrell says, there are plenty of established, more classic camps that may not have quite as many amenities as some of the most luxurious options. “They may not have a gym or spa or wine cellar—but that can be overkill for some people anyway,” he says. “There are properties that are still wonderful and allow you to see amazing wildlife during the day and come back to lovely accommodations.”

How Indagare can help: Most safari companies offer promotions, if you stay at more than one of their lodges. However, Cantrell advises mixing it up. “It’s nice to have different experiences, even if they’re subtle,” he says. “We are cognizant that some people will have a better trip if they combine a premium stay with classic camps.” Indagare has an extensive network of partners and longtime relationships with the lodges we recommend and can offer expert advise on the options that would be best for you.

Where to go on safari:

South Africa

“The rand has continued to lose value for the last decade so your dollar goes a long way here,” says Cantrell. Also, there are an enormous number of camps in Kruger National Park and the greater Kruger area, and it helps keep the cost quite reasonable for the mid-tier lodges.”

Kenya

“This has always been one of the more affordable safari options. In the last year, we have started putting together trips to Kenya again because the country has stabilized. However, we are still keeping travelers out of Nairobi.”

Botswana

“This country is famously expensive to keep the number of tourists low, but there are classic camps that you can put together for a good trip. It will cost more than South Africa, but not as much, if you aren’t looking at the top, top properties.”

Related: Safari Matchmaker

Contact Indagare for more advice on planning the safari itinerary that is best for you.

– Brooke Katz on October 10, 2019

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