To hell with folding. If you're not feeling up to using Maps on your smartphone or tablet — or just don't want to ring up a huge international data bill — then consider packing one of these Crumpled City Maps (€12; roughly $15) on your next trip. Made from some sort of special technological material, these full-color maps can be opened and closed in just two seconds, provide details about streets, monuments, museums, and more, weigh only 21 grams, are 100% waterproof, and cram nicely into their included carrying pouches when you're tired of looking like a tourist. [Scouted by Kristof]
Owning a high-end performance auto is one thing, knowing how to drive it is another. At the Mercedes AMG Driving Academy (€370; roughly $530 and up), you can do everything from take a tour of the factory and get acclimated to the car to take racing lessons behind the wheel of the high-powered, race-ready SLS AMG GT3, all under the watchful eye of Mercedes' instructors. Oh, and we hear the beer in Germany is pretty good, if you're into that sort of thing.
Fulfill your wildest Steve Zissou fantasies aboard the Necker Nymph ($25,000/week). Designed and built for Sir Richard Branson by renowned engineer Graham Hawkes, the Nymph is an open-cockpit winged submarine, allowing its passengers to experience unencumbered 360-degree views of the deep. The unique underwater craft uses downward "lift" on its wings to dive, and can stay down for up to two hours. Unfortunately, it's only available when chartering the 105-foot luxury catamaran Necker Belle, or when staying on Branson's ridiculously awesome private Necker Island, so the 25 grand-per-week chartering cost is the least of your worries.
Take a trip to bourbon utopia with the Maker's Mark Master Distiller Experience ($7,500). On this two-person VIP excursion, you'll get a tour of the Maker's distillery from Master Distiller Kevin Smith, participating in the whisky-making process at every step for a better understanding of how this magic juice is made. Also included is a two-bottle memento with your likeness etched into golden bottles which are then dipped in gold wax with 24-kt. gold flecks, two 375ml Maker's Mark bottles that you hand dip yourself, luxury accommodations in Louisville, and a gourmet dinner hosted by Bill Samuels, Jr.
Looking for more excitement than the local lake or fishing hole has to offer? Head up to Nimmo Bay. Located northwest of Vancouver in picturesque British Columbia, Canada, this resort/adventure destination offers world-class lodging and cuisine, along with a wide variety of outdoor activities, including heli-fishing , white-water rafting, and helicopter tours. Perfect for a rustic romantic getaway or manly corporate retreat, it's sure to offer days of exhilarating fun that will leave you with life-lasting memories. [Thanks, Fraser]
Really, really, really love beer? Then book yourself a spot for the Samuel Adams Hopfenpflücken Adventure ($2,980+). Put together by travel experts Abercrombie and Kent, this once-in-a-lifetime trip will have you joining Boston Beer Company brewers and execs on a trip to Bavaria, Germany — the birthplace of beer. Apart from visiting the legendary Munich bier gardens, touring the German Hops Museum, taking a brewery trail pilgrimage to Bamberg, and stopping off at Stanglmair farm for a guided hop field tour and beer tasting, you'll also make appearances at the BMW museum, Olympic Park, and take a cable car ride to the top of Zugspitze — the highest mountain in Germany — for panoramic views of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Looking for a cheap, exotic, and thrilling Summer adventure? Check out Bigfoot Hostel's Volcano Boarding Packages ($28). This 4.5-hour excursion will have you climbing to the top of Nicaragua's ominous Cerro Negro volcano, only to mount a sit-down board and travel at speeds of up to 50 mph while flying down the slope to the bottom. To add to the thrill, Cerra Negro remains an active volcano, and Bigfoot even throws in a post-boarding mojito to help ease any bumps and scrapes you may have earned on your trip down. [via]
Celebrate 105 years of American muscle at the new 20-acre Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, WI. Featuring a stunning design by Pentagram, the Museum and the surrounding buildings are attractions by themselves, and include the two-floor museum, an Archive building where visitors can take a look at hogs of the past and see items being restored for introduction into the museum, as well as a restaurant, cafe, and the requisite museum store. Admission runs $16.
If you're planning on making a trip to Florida this summer, consider stopping at the Kennedy Space Center for the Astronaut Training Experience ($250 per person). The all-day program includes first-hand info from veteran NASA astronauts, a run in a Spaceflight Training Simulator, a full scale space shuttle mission simulation, a VIP tour of the Space Center, and some Training Experience swag. [via]
Giving the phrase "Under the sea" a whole new meaning, the Poseidon Undersea Resort ($15,000 and up) lets you rest underneath the waves in a room made mostly of acrylic glass. Located in Fiji, the resort offers guests private plane transport from a Fijian airport to the Poseidon Mystery Island, where they'll enjoy a week's stay — including two nights in the underwater hotel, with a three-passenger Triton 1000 submarine at their disposal. With a coral reef to explore, beach bungalows for above-sea level accommodations, an underwater library, wedding chapel, restaurants, and more, it's an out-of-this-world experience just 40 feet below the surface.
Just in time for the release of the fourth Indy film, Expedia has teamed up with world-renowned outfitters G.A.P. Adventures to offer ten exclusive trips worthy of the Joneses. Indiana Jones Travel Experiences ($1670 and up) are specialized excursions to some of the most mysterious and history-filled places on the planet, with destinations such as India, Egypt, Italy, China, Jordan, Mexico, Nepal, Peru, and the Southwestern United States. Just don't forget your fedora, whip, and camera.
From the creators of JetBlue comes an interesting alternative to typical chartered flights. JetSuite is assembling a fleet of 100 Embraer Phenom 100 jets, with the twist being that the company is compelling private buyers to hold the jets. JetSuite will pay the owners $25,000 per month in exchange for allowing JetSuite to use the jets during their down times. Sure, a Phenom 100 will set you back $3 million, but that $25,000 could defer the storage and maintenance costs.