Even as restrictions on travel are being eased, many people are uneasy about taking public forms of transportation or venturing into crowded cities as we continue to deal with the effects of a global pandemic.
We’re looking for ways to adapt this summer — to have fun and take vacations while limiting our contact with others.
Well, if you’ve got the means — that is, a whole lotta money — we’ve got the perfect solution. (If you’re broke, you can just get back to work.)
Safety and seclusion for the crustiest of the “upper crust”…
So, yes, we’ve got the perfect way for you to do your part in mitigating the risk of catching the plague of the 21st century – be wealthy.
Wealthy people like celebrities have been all over TV and social media in the last couple of months telling us “We’ll get through this. We’re all in this together.”
While I’m thankful to be an American who was able to continue working during this pandemic, thousands have been much less fortunate.
And I’m pretty sure that when I feel like punching these wealthy people in the face when they come on with their messages of hope, those who are really struggling are probably having homicidal thoughts about them.
Now, I wouldn’t know this, but I’ve heard stories about how terribly these rich people are suffering during these unprecedented times.
Instead of being chauffeured to the set or privately flown to an international business meeting with their entourage of gophers, the poor things have been mostly stuck at home like the rest of us.
Stuck home with their personal trainers, chefs, bowling alleys and swimming pools… their private movie theaters and tennis courts… their hairstylists and masseuses and half-caff-soy-latte bringers.
They’ve got all the stuff at home that we’ve missed these past couple of months. So, sure, “we’re” all in this together.
And now, the filthy rich business moguls, celebs, and the like are bored and want to go on vacation.
But they don’t want to be seen traveling around when they’re supposed to be slumming it at home like the rest of us. That would be bad for their reputation for caring about others.
They want to get away from it all, and they’ve found the perfect way to do it.
If this social distancing thing is going to continue for a while, why not buy your own island?!
The travel industry has taken a devastating hit during this global pandemic — cruise lines, airlines, hotel chains, and everyone dependent on tourism are suffering.
And it’s going to take a long time for things to get back to the way they once were. People are still sticking close to home, even as restrictions ease.
What we all wouldn’t give to be able to take our families somewhere beautiful, relaxing, and secluded with very little risk of getting sick.
Since the uber-wealthy are able to do this very thing, they’ve been searching for an extra special way to break their “quarantine.”
A Canadian real estate company called Private Islands has more than 800 secluded properties listed for sale or rent. I guess “properties” is an understatement, since these are islands with hundreds or thousands of acres.
Some have private villas and other amenities already built in. Some are perfect for building a customized private getaway.
The company has seen inquiries into their islands increase by 50 percent since the pandemic started.
Other agencies like Sotheby’s International and Virtuoso have seen inquiries into private islands double recently.
Most of the prospective clients are from the U.S. and Canada looking for a nice Caribbean island to call their own. But they have clients all over the world – and islands available in places I’ve never heard of before.
Some of the listings include Spectabilis Island in the Bahamas, a 460-acre beauty for the bargain price of $62 million. Then there’s Pumpkin Key in Florida for only $95 million – but it’s “only” 26 acres.
If you prefer something a little more exotic, Rangyia Island in Thailand is available for a mere $160 million.
And then there are multiple properties listed as “price upon request.” In real estate speak, that means, “If you have to ask what the price is, you can’t afford it.”
But if you’re an ordinary hard-working American like me, take heart.
There’s also a teeny little Canadian island available for around $50,000 — but it’s completely undeveloped, so you’d probably have to kick in a couple million to add basics like running water and electricity.
Why own when you can rent?
Real estate agents like to ask potential clients the opposite of this question because, of course, they get a bigger commission from selling a property than renting it out.
But, maybe you’re rich, just not dirty, rotten, filthy, stinkin’ rich enough to buy an entire island. In that case, why not look into a couple of nights of perfect isolation by renting one?
This is the most popular option seen by Private Islands because, well, who the heck has multi-millions of dollars at their disposal (besides the aforementioned richest of the rich)?
Now, don’t go jumping up and down and looking at all the beautiful rental islands on Private Islands’ website just yet.
More than likely, you’re not in the top one percent. Don’t feel bad — I’m not either.
Renting an island is still something reserved for those pesky wealthy people. Most of them run thousands of dollars per night with a minimum stay. So, no, you can’t just purchase one “best night of your life” to cross off your bucket list.
One island rental is only an acre, hardly worthy of the title “private island,” and goes for almost $4,000 a night (just call it an even $4K with taxes and fees).
Only two people can stay at a time, but there is a staff to wait on you and a boat available. I guess it may be comparable to an extravagant honeymoon if you save up for a couple of years.
And then there are other islands, like one we reported on before here at Proud American Traveler, that run into tens of thousands of dollars a night — and up. Way up – and that doesn’t include the cost of getting there…
…Like Musha Cay in the Bahamas. The island is owned by David Copperfield — you know, the dude who made the Statue of Liberty disappear. Just like his illusions, his island is one of grandeur. For a pittance — just $42,000 a day — you can stay in one of the five homes and visit seven luxury beaches.
Then there’s Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, owned by Richard Branson. He purchased the island at age 28 when it was uninhabited, but he had big plans for the property after seeing how well his little business venture was taking off.
Now, millions of dollars in renovations later, you can take 20-something of your closest friends (those you aren’t afraid to be around) and pool together to pay the $100,000-plus nightly fee.
These are just a few of the luxurious island properties available for rental or purchase. But don’t forget — you have to be massively wealthy to stay even a couple of nights in one of these island paradises.
As for me, I’ll take the advice of comedian Robert Orben: “Every day, I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I’m not there, I go to work.”
I’ll keep looking, but I’m not getting my hopes up.
If you ever find yourself on the Forbes list of the richest people in America – or if you’re on it already — give the private island thing a whirl.
Send me a postcard to let me know we’re still in this together.