Yachts, villas, chefs: Rich Americans spending more than ever on vacations

Yachts, villas, chefs: Rich Americans spending more than ever on vacations

As all of their kids will be away for camp or college this summer, Shira Maryles decided to take a European vacation with her husband, David. The New Rochelle, NY, pair are avid travelers and plan to go on a trip that will boost their budget 20%.

Getting away and getting pampered was a priority.

Maryles told The Post that they need a pressure-release, a way to get out of their everyday headspace. We don’t know when the next opportunity will present itself, but part of us was like, let’s do this.

They aren’t alone. Spending has really changed. Americans are becoming more flashy with their money, according to a travel agent. Private charter planes, spending six figures on villa rentals, and shelling out twice-as-high rates to rent yachts are included.

Shira Maryles and her husband David are pampering themselves and choosing pricier options for their blow-out summer vacation, after budgeting an extra 20%.
Shira Maryles and her husband David are pampering themselves and choosing pricier options for their blow-out summer vacation, after budgeting an extra 20%.
Courtesy of Shira Maryles

Maryles and her husband asked their travel agent to arrange a 10-day trip. She is going to attend the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, as well as the five-star beach hideaway in Biarritz, France. The couple chose the most expensive hotel available.

I don’t feel bad about choosing the more expensive option. Maryles said she didn’t feel bad about taking vacations, and whoever is traveling this year is paying a premium.

Then a little. A tony hotel room in Europe this summer will cost almost one-third more than it did in 2019. Airfare increased by 18.6% between March and April this year, making it the highest single hike on record.

Taking a trip this summer is a pricey proposition, but more wealthy Americans don’t care.

Among the choice vacation options for Americans willing to spend big is a primo viewing spot at the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
Among the choice vacation options for Americans willing to spend big is a primo viewing spot at the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
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Carnero said that many of his clients have more than doubled in terms of what they spend, though the amount they are going to spend is no longer part of the conversation. It is now time to tell me how much I need to spend to get that.

A couple who usually book two or three trips a year might have spent $30,000 on a week in the Mediterranean. Camero said, “Now they want private charters, not business class, and they spend that much on two nights of the trip rather than an entire week.”

Many of the world’s hotspot are desperate for such largesse. The absence of two groups of free-spending travelers used to keep five-star piles afloat, but now they’re reeling from the Pandemic shutdowns and the government’s sanctions. Russians who are able to travel to St Tropez would prefer to stay in Putin friendly regions.

One travel agent said Americans who can afford it are demanding private charter jets rather than settling for business class on commercial flights.
One travel agent said Americans who can afford it are demanding private charter jets rather than settling for business class on commercial flights.
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Americans are making up for it

Jack Ezon, founder of Embark Beyond, said that Americans are filling the Med hot spots at ridiculously inflated rates.

They are planning for the future, even though there is a looming recession.

Travel agents say customers are spending up to 40% more for trips.
“Americans are the new Russians” and filling Mediterranean hot spots, like the Amalfi coast (above), “at ridiculously inflated rates,” said Embark Beyond’s founder Jack Ezon.
LightRocket via Getty Images

The travelers we’re dealing with now want to plan their next four or five amazing trips together and we’re grabbing space in 2024 and 2025. A lot of people now realize that if they put something off it might not happen.

The appetite is so great that it prizes Italy above all. According to Cari Gray of Gray & Co, she is seeing clients cram their days like never before.

They are fitting everything they can into a three-night stay in any city, and even having two dinners, Gray told The Post.

Italy is a top destination, say travel agents, with Americans so eager to see and do it all they are even having two dinners a night.
Italy is a top destination, say travel agents, with Americans so eager to see and do it all they are even having two dinners a night.
AFP via Getty Images

People are spending 40% more per capita this year than they did last year, according to a travel agent who specializes in Italian vacanze. They are being rented by people who would never have done it before. They said ‘Omigod, let’s do it.’

The cost of chartering a yacht is higher this summer due to the absence of Russians, according to Ezon. The inventory of Russian-owned rental yachts is down by 30% since the war on Ukraine began.

Carnero said that they are difficult to get, so most times you have to pay more than you would have before.

Travel agents say one of the big newest trends is Americans wanting to rent private boat — and paying twice as much as before.
Travel agents say one of the big new trends is Americans wanting to rent private boats — and paying twice as much as before.
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Deep-pocketed Americans are driving a surge in villa rentals. Americans are filling the villas on the Cte d’Azur that Russians cannot.

Two American families are my biggest clients, because they are so pleasant to work with, and they just enjoy themselves, said Lloyd, who has been an agent on the French Riviera for over a decade.

Americans are willing to spend six figures for a trip to St Tropez, but the Russians might stay for six weeks. The Yanks are splurging on every little detail, even after they tap out.

While big spenders may stay at hotspot locations for a longer time, Americans splurge on all amenities on a shorter visit.
While Russians may stay at hotspot locations like Biarritz (above) for a longer time, Americans splurge on all the amenities on a shorter visit.
Getty Images

The parent company of Villas of Distinction has seen pricing increase over the last year, according to a report by The Post. The demands for add-ons like private chefs have increased in the US.

Sean said he is taking twice as many trips this year as he did in the past.

A 49-year-old father of four who runs a beverage distribution company and lives in Weston, Mass., says sometimes he needs a break. We are ready to spend all the money we have been saving for the last two years since we didn’t travel. It is ok if you have to pay a little extra. You don’t live long.

He just returned from a two-week trip around Europe, including Italy, as well as a bucket-list visit to Iceland. One of the family’s favorite Caribbean islands is St Martin, and he’s about to go there again.

He told The Post that the only thing he cared about was how busy everywhere was. When you are traveling, everybody is going, which will cause some frustration.

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