At its heart, lux­ury isn’t five star re­sorts, Miche­lin- starred din­ing and he­li­copter trans­fers. While th­ese might be its phys­i­cal man­i­fes­ta­tions, lux­ury is re­ally ac­cess the chance to travel au­then­ti­cally to ex­pe­ri­ence life be­yond the pack­age-tour pool.

Think of the world’s most ex­tra­or­di­nary trips: cruis­ing to Antarc­tica, go­ing on safari in Africa or dis­cov­er­ing the Gala­pa­gos as Keith Bel­lows did. Most of th­ese don’t ex­actly have bud­get op­tions, and if they do, they aren’t suit­able for kids. The lux­ury is be­ing able to go there in the first place and, once there, be­ing able to join a Maa­sai tribe at a tra­di­tional cer­e­mony or walk along­side an ele­phant in Thai­land.

For Sven Lind­blad, the travel pi­o­neer at the helm of Lind­blad Ex­pe­di­tions – Na­tional Geographic, trav­el­ling to re­mote parts of the world such as the Gala­pa­gos, Baja Cal­i­for­nia and Alaska with his four kids was a lux­ury he aims to repli­cate on board his ships.

“When kids travel aboard our ex­pe­di­tion ships, rather than be­ing spoiled by lux­ury, they ex­pe­ri­ence real priv­i­lege – get­ting to be in th­ese re­mark­able places at all is a priv­i­lege,” he says. “Kids are treated like equals in the on­board ex­pe­di­tion com­mu­nity, spend­ing their time with like minded others, who are drawn to travel to know more and, there­fore, to pro­tect more of the world’s wild places.”

It’s more than just the im­me­di­ate ef­fects of see­ing the world, how­ever, that Sven val­ues. “I think ex­pos­ing chil­dren to the won­ders of the world is in­cred­i­bly mean­ing­ful and last­ing. Largely be­cause it’s not about in­struct­ing them; it’s about in­tro­duc­ing them to joy – the joy of sim­ply see­ing an­i­mals, and see­ing how and where they re­ally live.”

With­out know­ing th­ese ben­e­fits, lux­ury could be seen as in­dul­gence. Ms Lakani re­calls a teenager who re­fused to stay in lux­ury ho­tels on a trip to India, see­ing it as in­au­then­tic. Upon ar­rival, he quickly dis­cov­ered that what he wanted to see and do sim­ply wasn’t pos­si­ble within the mech­a­nism of mass tourism. A few calls to Heidi and his per­cep­tion of lux­ury was trans­formed. The con­tacts forged within the world of five star travel don’t ex­ist elsewhere; if you want a mu­sic les­son with a sitar-play­ing mas­ter, it isn’t avail­able on Vi­a­tor. You need to know the right peo­ple.

That is the real lux­ury: do­ing the things you never thought pos­si­ble. Through th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences, you cre­ate fam­ily bonds, a unique per­spec­tive on the world and the start of a life­long cu­rios­ity and pas­sion for learn­ing. Ul­ti­mately, isn’t that what we all want for our chil­dren?

“The sooner chil­dren cross bor­ders, the sooner they will realise they don’t re­ally ex­ist.”

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