Image: © Pxhere

Super rich people are going on gap years

Like gap years weren't already posh enough.

There’s been a big rise in the megarich taking extended time out to explore the world and discover how “real people live”.

What it means: According to a travel agency, the ‘global 1 percent’ - i.e. the richest people in the world - have recently got really keen on gap years. (Btw, wondering what it takes to be part of the 1 percent club? According to Credit Suisse, you need to have a net worth - which is figured out by adding up your salary, savings, and the value of all the stuff you own, and minusing any debts or bills you need to pay - of $871,320.)

Because rich people tend to be a bit older than the stereotypical gap year teenager, they’re usually taking these jaunts with their family. The aim is apparently to see “how real people live” and popular activities include snow leopard spotting, living with African tribes and diving with sharks (which, ofc, is a typical Monday morning for us common folks). Price tags can run up to a million dollars per trip.

Could this trend be a good thing? Lots of local communities like that tourists bring wealth into their area by spending money in local restaurants and shops, and by causing new jobs to be created to cater to their toursity whims. And plenty of people would rather billionaires splashed their money on things that benefit ‘normal’ people rather than stashing it in the bank or buying another luxury sports car.

But uber-rich tourists (like all tourists) can cause problems too. Flash hotels and restaurants set up to cater for them may cause less fancy businesses to close down and former residents to be priced out of the area. And being around ostentatious wealth when your own financial circumstances aren’t top notch could be distressing or depressing for the people who are living these ‘real lifes’ than the rich are so keen to gape at, but not actually take part in.

Read our explainer on inequality.

Recent articles

Reader Comments