By Sara El Halabi J.

The approach to private travel has changed. With people afraid to fly and tourism considered an unaffordable luxury, the rich have found an even greater opportunity to visit exotic and safe places to escape COVID-19.

While many people seek ways to overcome the current tragedy and cope more comfortably with lockdowns, private jet setters have developed unique pandemic strategies. The affluent don’t think twice about travelling to their vacation homes overseas and avoiding lockdowns. Let’s dive in to learn how the elite are travelling and what their favourite destinations are, while the rest of us just dream.

Money Buys Safety

Because of social distancing, airports are much less crowded. The affluent still travel first-class if they use commercial flights or other means of international transportation; otherwise, they board their private jets or luxury yachts and head to safer places.

Nevertheless, the rich can travel securely, with the least risk of contagion, to places where they can protect their families while also enjoying a good time. So, aside from possible COVID tests, isolation on arrival and following the basic health guidelines, they don’t have further worries during their journeys. Lucky them!

If they take a cruise, they go first-class, making it easier to obey the fourteen days of isolation on the high seas before entering a country. However, if the cruise company requires all of their passengers to be vaccinated, they can choose a different company without worrying about the costs.

Because safety is the primary motivator currently, the rich can choose destinations where COVID-19 cases are low, and the social distancing guidelines are strict. For instance, some rich people have booked entire resorts for their multigenerational family for $20,000 to $40,000 USD weekly and flying in using private jets that carry a maximum of 20 individuals.

Destinations Of Choice

Most of the destinations the rich are travelling to are luxurious cities or towns or exotic islands that are open to tourists but with exhaustive safety measures. Some of the top choices are:

  • The Maldives
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • Cayman Islands
  • The British Virgin Islands
  • Dubai
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Portugal
  • Other low-risk category countries

Residency advisory firms, such as Henley & Partners, have found that affluent families are desperate to flee from the threat of Coronavirus infections and sudden lockdowns. Some are acquiring citizenship in COVID low-risk countries, whether through an investor resident visa or student permit. Companies dealing in such matters state that new inquiries on these types of transactions increased 49% in the first months after the pandemic began.  

It’s Not All Plain Sailing!

Many rich people see the procedures to obtain citizenship in one of those countries as a wealth-management tool. This way, they save time and money in the future to have a second home abroad.

However, the process for secondary passports and residency rights can take some time, from three months to much more, depending on the country they choose.

Besides, COVID tests and check-ups are tiresome in some places, with testing on frequent rotation. Because of that, guardrails are placed in terminals and hotels that are spared for visitors’ isolations and other touristic spaces to prevent vivacious voyagers from escaping the COVID regulations and breaking the rules.

No amount of money can save them from testing and quarantine practices in some countries. Destinations known for being low-risk are especially strict with such protocols, and breaking them can lead to jail time.

For instance, the British Virgin Islands are one of the lowest risk destinations. However, they require international visitors to be vaccinated or undergo up to four COVID tests if they stay eight or more days.

The Rich Just Want To Have Fun

Despite the deadly waves of COVID-19, many of those who can afford it will find a way to escape the pandemic chaos. They will even pay a tremendous amount, such as $15,000 to $25,000 USD a night for a villa at the Four Seasons Hotel & Residences in Anguilla, to bring their family together without restrictions and the risk of getting infected.

While the rest of us are at home, worrying about lockdowns, the shortages of some goods amid COVID’s second (or third!) wave, the elite plan their next vacations in luxurious and safe destinations—their money buying an almost normal, pre-pandemic life, where grandfathers can hug and play with their grandchildren without worrying too much. 

Escaping the pandemic and having fun while travelling during COVID-19 might be safer than most people think. If you don’t believe it, ask the rich.