Last Updated on July 30, 2023
When a deep sea submersible imploded in June of 2023 on its way to visiting the wreckage of Titanic, it highlighted a growing and grotesque trend of extreme adventure billionaire vacations. Among the five fatalities were ultra-wealthy businessmen masquerading their travels as “exploration.”
As the global disparity between the wealthy and the rest of us continues expanding, so do the outrageous, expensive and dangerous ways those .1%-ers choose to vacation. If you can call it that.
Flying around the moon is the most costly and high-risk billionaire vacation undertaken by the likes of Richard Branson and Charles Simonyi. Looking for more of these conspicuous consumption and outlandish expenditures of money in the name of “travel,” experts from ARKA conducted research to find recent high-risk activities that have drawn the interest of billionaires worldwide.
The study aims to identify and categorize a list of activities according to their associated costs and level of risk, as well as the billionaires who have attempted them.
|Activity||Price||Riskiness||Number of People|
|Fly Around the Moon||$150,000,000||Very high risk||24|
|Space Travel||$55,000,000||Very high risk||622|
|Blue Origin Space Flight||$28,000,000||Moderate risk||31|
|Trip to the International Space Station (ISS)||$20,000,000||High risk||244|
|Scuba Diving in the Mariana Trench||$750,000||Very high risk||3|
|ACTIVITY REDACTED BY AUTHOR||$275,000||High risk||1|
|Deep Sea Diving to Shipwrecks||$250,000||High risk||N/A|
|Trip to the South Pole||$100,000||Low risk||25,000|
|Climb to Everest||$55,000||High risk||6,098|
|Shark Diving||$5,000 – $7,000||Moderate risk||N/A|
One listed billionaire vacation activity involving hunting an endangered species is a pursuit so objectionable to me personally as to necessitate its removal from publication.
Flying around the moon tops the list of costly, high-risk billionaire vacations increasingly with space travel right behind it. Over 622 individuals, including billionaires Guy Laliberté, Simonyi, Mark Shuttleworth, Dennis Tito, and Jeff Bezos, have traveled to the Earth’s orbit.
Unfortunately, they returned.
Like the previous activity, Blue Origin space flight comes third on the list of most costly activities that billionaires tried. Although moderately risky, it has a significant cost of $28 million. Bezos, Hamish Harding (one of the Titanic submersible fatalities), and Branson, are among the 31 people who have tried it.
The trip to International Space Station (ISS) ranks fourth for both riskiness and expense. Despite the serious risks and cost of $20 million, trips to the ISS have been taken by 244 people, including billionaires Tito, Simonyi, Yusaku Maezawato, and Guy Laliberté.
The list is starting to feature a number of repeat “travelers,” billionaires able to spend tens of millions of dollars on vacations. That’s great for them, and they should be able to enjoy the fruits of their “labor,” but at what point does extreme wealth come with a responsibility to better an increasingly unlivable world driven that way in no small measure by the fossil fuel emissions of the rich, their corporations, and the dollars they sink into fighting clean energy efforts? Apparently none.
Scuba diving in the Mariana Trench comes fifth on the list of costly billionaire vacations. Only three individuals, including billionaire James Cameron, have dared diving to the deepest spot on the planet.
Even with the Titan Tour crash, hunting for shipwrecks of the Titanic in the ocean’s depths is the seventh most costly billionaire vacation. Harding, Shahzada Dawood (also among the deceased on the sub), Branson and Paul Allen have all been hooked by this deep-sea tour to discover long-lost shipwrecks.
Exploring the South Pole is relatively safe. Harding, Branson, Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg have cosplayed their way to the bottom of the world.
Climbing Mount Everest falls into the high-risk category because “vacationers” die on the mountain almost every year. The journey is becoming increasingly common, provided you have the cash, with little to no skill required thanks to professional guides. As a result, and due to the brief windows the mountain is summitable, the trip to the top is often clogged with wealthy tourists.
Lastly, shark diving comes in at prices even some non-billionaires could afford.