NYT: “My $120,000 Vacation”


New York Times had an article last week where one of their “hard news” columnists Mr. Brooks briefly joined the Four Season Around The World trip to several destinations in Europe and was writing about his reflections.

NYT My $120,000 Vacation

Four Seasons has one Boeing 757 that is painted on their colors and only flies these around the world and others trips from one of their hotel to another while trying to immerse the travelers on some local culture as well.

You can access the New York Times article here of which below is an excerpt:

My job was to report back on the merits and demerits of such pampered high-end travel. If you wake up in Tanzania in the morning, take a dinner cruise along the Bosphorus in the evening and jet off a few days later to tour Catherine the Great’s palace in Russia, are you really seeing the world? Or are you just playing spectacularly expensive hopscotch? Is this luxury — or a fast-moving bubble from which to view the world?

The pace of the trip is frenetic — three continents in a single day at one point. Each morning you get to choose from an array of options — a visit to a Russian ballet school? A tour of Nevsky Prospekt shopping street? An excursion to the Fabergé Museum? The people on this trip loved the experience. They were very satisfied customers. But they did have moments of exhaustion. Multiple bucket list items per day — the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul? Check. The main market in Marrakesh? Check! When I asked the guests what their favorite stop was, a plurality said the Maldives, where they got a chance to sit, pause and enjoy the beaches.

What sort of people go on a trip like this? Rich but not fancy. It is a sign of how stratified things have become that even within the top 1 percent there are differences between the single-digit millionaires and the double- or triple-digit millionaires. The people on this trip were by and large on the lower end of the upper class. One had a family carpet business. Another was an I.T. executive at an insurance company. There were a few law partners. There was a divorce coach who’d worked in finance, a woman who’d started a telecom business with her ex-husband and the vice chancellor from a medium-size university. Very few of these people were born to money. They did not dress rich, talk rich or put on airs. They have spent their lives busy with work and family, not jet-setting around or hanging out with the Davos crowd.


I have always wondered how would it feel to take one of these Four Season private plane trips around the world. I believe that David Brooks perfectly describes the frantic space from one Four Seasons to another and few sights thrown in at destinations in between.

My advise has always been to travel slowly and not to try fitting too may destinations in too little time. I love just walking in the city and dropping to cafes/bars etc. I do not, however, have nothing against for these Four Seasons trips, but they seems to be way over structured for my taste.

David Brooks usually writes about politics and policy issue. I have never seen him writing or discussing anything travel related previously.