5 Heart-Pounding Vacation Splurges You’ll Never Forget

Aurora borealis above snowy islands

Does jumping off a skyscraper sound like your kind of vacation splurge? How about plunging into an icy river in Sweden? Maybe ziplining hundreds of feet in the air over the forest to get to your room? 

If getting sautéed with a bunch of tomatoes being hurled at you in a food fight isn’t your cup of tea, then read on.

Sometimes lounging around the pool soaking up the sun just doesn’t cut it. Studies show memorable experiences beat owning stuff hands down, and these are trips you won’t soon forget. If you’re looking for next-level fun, we’ve got 5 for you to choose from.

Hey, do them all! In the words of the great Bette Davis, fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Heart-pounding bumpy.

Take a Frosty Plunge Into an Ice River 
Lapland, Sweden

To say The Arctic Bath is a boutique hotel is an understatement. There are only 6 floating cabins on the river and 6 more cabins on land. In fact, you can book the entire hotel if you’d like.

Splurge vacation-Arctic Bath hotel

Photo by Anders Blomqvist

This hotel happens to be a unique, circular floating hotel like a donut with an ice plunge in the middle. This is the centerpiece of the hotel and some studies suggest there are even health benefits to this craziness. At least the floors in the rooms are heated.

exterior, arctic Bath splurge-worthy hotel

Photo by Anders Blomqvist

Inside this floating structure, you’ll find all the amenities expected in a high-end hotel. The Arctic Bath offers massage rooms, saunas, outdoor and indoor showers, and a central patio where guests can sunbathe (another health benefit in moderation) or take the ice plunge – which is actually a common Swede activity. 

interior, arctic Bath
interior, lapland Iceland hotel

Photos by Daniel Holmgren

Situated on the Lule River, you experience the northern lights in winter, and the midnight sun during the summer months. Let’s talk about this vacation splurge during the wintertime.

As winter sets in and freezes the river, crews position the floating cabins and hotel so it freezes in place just so. They also regulate the temperature, keeping it at 39 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. 

Splurge vacation in Lapland, Iceland hotel

Photo by Anders Blomqvist

A restaurant at the hotel serves locally-sourced food and all of the meat and fish served at the hotel come from the wild, so there are no traces of pesticides or antibiotics. With this jetsetty vacation splurge, you’ll pony up about US$1,000. per night.  

restaurant meal

Courtesy Arctic Bath

Sky-diving in New Zealand
Queenstown and Lake Taupō

Sky-diving in itself makes for a great adrenaline rush, but to truly make this a splurge-worthy vacation, we’re going to throw in some amazing scenery to look at while cruising 12,000 feet above planet Earth. This is where Queenstown comes in.

The Remarkables, Queenstown, New Zealand

From Queenstown, you’ll see The Remarkables mountain range which is covered by small pristine lakes. Gotta love that name!

Another popular dropzone in New Zealand is at Lake Taupō where you can jump from 9,000, 12,000or 15,000 feet.

Sky diving, LAKE TAUPO, NEW ZEALAND

When you skydive in Taupō you’ll get incredible views from coast to coast, over the snow-capped mountains of Tongariro National Park and beautiful Lake Taupō, New Zealand’s largest lake. Aside from the beautiful blue lake, you’ll take in the volcanoes and dense forests.

These skydiving packages run in the range of US$140.00 to US$350.00. 

Lake Taupo in beautiful twilight in the evening
Take a Northern Lights Tour in Iceland

Viewing the light show of an aurora up close and personal really puts things in perspective concerning our place in the universe. Also called the Northern Lights, experiencing this will get your blood moving a little quicker just knowing this is actually part of the world we live in.

Aurora borealis splurge vacation

Because of Iceland’s proximity to the Arctic Circle, it’s known as one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights where it’s possible from September to April.

Capturing this spectacular natural phenomenon is an art form since the location, weather conditions and solar winds all come into play for the perfect time to see this.

Winter lights in Iceland

Tours leave most days from the capital city of Reykjavik. You’ll gaze up and watch the sky transform into colourful waves, dancing across the sky in this aethereal experience. Staring at the sky is free, however, tickets will cost about US$65.00 each.

Aurora borealis (Northern lights) over mountain
Zipline to Your Stay In a Tree House
Nam Kan National Park, Laos

I know, we all slept in a treehouse as a kid, but did you get to it on a zipline hundreds of feet in the air while soaring above apes? We’re calling you out on that one. Welcome to the Gibbon Experience.

Splurge-worthy Zipline vacation

So what’s a gibbon? Gibbons are the smaller apes that live in the forests of Laos, and their singing fills the forest with beautiful songs. These fellows of the forest swing from branch to branch for distances up to 50 ft, at speeds as high as 34 mph. No wonder they’re hard to spot!

Courtesy Gibbon Experience

The Gibbon Experience is a tourism-based conservation project with the highest tree houses in the world, reaching over 100 ft. above the forest canopy.

You get to travel on zip lines, flying from hill to hill. This enables trekkers to go deeper into the forest while reducing up-and-down walks.

Tree house splurge vacation in Laos

For some of their itineraries, what would normally be an 8-hour walk was reduced to 2 hours thanks to the ziplines.

The ziplines extend a total of just over 9 miles, and some of them are as long as 2,000 ft. Some ride!

Your stay will be in a treetop house which is a heart-pounding location to observe nature and the singing gibbons.

crested gibbon couple

The Classic Gibbon Experience 3-day/2-night tour in Laos begins at around US$400.00 per person. All meals are included in the package – kinda hard to do a food run once you’re up in the trees.

BASE Jump Off a Skyscraper
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Make sure you have a strong heart for this one. Just leaning over the edge of the Princess Tower skyscraper and looking down will test that “mind over matter” thing with you.

Princess Towers in Dubai

It’s the tall one.

“BASE” is an acronym that stands for four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump – building, antenna, span, and earth (cliff). in Dubai, it’s a building. A very tall building.

SkydiveDubai and XDubai have partnered with DreamJump to allow you to BASE jump off the top of the world’s second-largest residential structure, the Dubai Princess Tower, from 1,300 ft. above.

Yes, they allow you to do this. Might get a little distracting staying in a room here with people flying by your window all day – most likely screaming at the top of their lungs.

Creative Common License, atribution ALIEN PLANET ONE UK

You are attached to the world’s largest urban zipline (you do want to clear the building and parking lot) which may or may not give you comfort as you take the adrenaline-pounding plunge of a lifetime. Soon we’ll be rocketing into space to vacation at a space hotel, we imagine that’ll be a heart-pounding experience as well!

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