Thinking of leaving Europe for an island vacation? Save yourself some airfare and visit Germany's Tropical Islands (€25/visit). Housed inside the world's largest free-standing hall, the Islands feature a water park, a tropical village, and more, with perfect weather year-round. Use the money you save on great food, drinks, and gear, found at the Islands' various on-site restaurants, bars, and shops, or simply relax at the spa. Island weather, atmosphere, and entertainment, without the headaches.
Tired of leaving all the high-seas adventure to the Jack Sparrow types? Get your bareboat certification by taking the Fast Track to Bareboat Cruising course from Offshore Sailing School ($TBA). The nine-day course offers instruction in the first three levels of sailing certification necessary to charter your own bareboat (US SAILING Basic Keelboat, Basic Cruising and Bareboat Cruising), meaning that you'll be ready to chart your own course by day ten. Pirate hat and patch not included.
Floating away gets an expensive twist when you sign up for the Zero-G Weightless Experience ($3,675). 90 minutes in the upper atmosphere aboard special zero gravity aircraft let you experience true weightlessness like the astronauts. Your own flight suit and keepsake DVD video are included — bucket to yack in is not. [Thanks, Albert]
Are there any of us that didn't want to be a fighter pilot after we saw Top Gun? Air Combat USA (from $1200) offers you real air combat instruction, so you'll be ready as you take the controls alongside an instructor pilot in a Marchetti SF260 fighter — which you fly up to 90 percent of the time — and engage in realistic dogfights that emulate real combat using an electronic tracking system. The entire experience is also recorded, so you can relive your aerial glory from home. You don't get to bang Kelly McGillis, but apart from that it's as close as you can get to a real-life Top Gun experience outside of the military.
No, we're not talking about the kind of "exclusive resorts" you find in brochures at highway rest areas. Exclusive Resorts is a destination club for rich folks looking for the absolute best when it comes to their vacation homes. For an initiation fee of $225,000 plus $10,500 in annual dues, you get your choice in one of Exclusive Resorts' nearly 300 luxury homes in 35 vacations spots around the world for a minimum of 15 days a year. There's around 2,400 members — mostly celebs and pro athletes — who you'll have to schedule around for spots like the one shown above in Los Cabos, Mexico.
One of the worst things about airline travel is the enclosed area which makes it nearly impossible to escape other passenger's germs. No Cooties Travel Spray ($28/4 pack) is made to combat that problem with a blend of essential oils and anti-bacterial properties, and it's effective in fighting airborne microorganisms. The next time you fly, take some of this, and travel more safely.
If you like fast cars and are looking for a short vacation that you can take by yourself, then check out the BMW Performance Driving School in Greenville, South Carolina. Designed for beginners and advanced drivers alike, the classes are led by professional instructors at BMW's $12.5 million driving facility and road course (there's also a skid pad, slalom and water walls). We're eyeing the two-and-a-half-day M School (from $3,650), in which you can get behind the wheels of the 500 HP M5, M3 manual and M3 SMG. Even if you drive an '87 Toyotoa pickup to work every day, you can now easily become a pro driver taking the turns in a high performance Bimmer — at least for a couple of days.
Does your significant other keep bitching about how you're just sooo hard to buy for? Then drop this bomb on 'em. Space Adventures will soon be offering private citizens the chance to visit space. The Suborbital Space Flight ($102,000) takes you 62 miles above earth where space begins and lets you check out the view and experience weightlessness. Before that though, you'll have four days of intensive training and flight preparation to get you ready for the craziest ride in the galaxy that an average Joe can take.