The 2005 "Not" List
You really like to travel, right? You want to see and do it all. In fact, you probably can't even imagine a trip you wouldn't want to take...
The Latvian prison experience
"You are exiting hell," reads a former inmate's inscription at Karosta, a Latvian prison in use until 1997. But these days, folks are eager to enter. Option #1 is a tame, 30-minute daytime walk-through ($3.75). Option #2 is a two-hour affair where you get a mug shot, a mock interrogation, a reenactment of an escapee being shot by guards, and a field trip to a real mass grave nearby ($5.65). Then there's Option #3: a full night in a damp cell ($9.50). Guests/prisoners are dressed in prison stripes, put through "intense physical training," and offered the choice to spend time in solitary. The prison's activities manager says that last summer, every overnight stay was booked. "I had never slept on a wooden plank before," reported one guest, who coordinated a tour for colleagues from his Estonian gas company. "We thought this would be a good way to end our trip. Everyone is going to remember it for the longest time." 011-371/636-9470, karostascietums.lv.
The Donald Trump Apprentice Cruise
Just because you enjoy watching The Apprentice doesn't mean you'd want to hang with the contestants--much less be trapped on a cruise with them. And yet, this September, several former cast members--including Stacie J. (the "unstable" one), Raj (the bow-tied cad), and Jennifer C. (the real estate agent accused of anti-Semitism)--will be aboard an eight-day Expedia-chartered Caribbean cruise. In between speed-dating events, there will be an ongoing business contest in which former contestants will "fire" losers; alas, they don't walk the plank. (The winner gets $15,000 and the right to play CEO of Expedia for a day.) Proving that he's not as dumb as his hair looks, The Donald will show up only for the send-off in New York City. 800/504-3398, expedia.com/apprentice, from $1,249.
Fun for the nuclear family
In 1995, a businessman named Hennie van der Most bought an abandoned nuclear power station near the German city of Kalkar. Seeing its true potential, he decided to turn the plant--which had never gone into operation due, in part, to protests--into a family-friendly fun zone. Wunderland Kalkar is a multibuilding complex housing, among other things, Kernie's Family Park; in 2004, more than 500,000 people came to ride bumper cars and a Ferris wheel, all in the shadow of a still-standing reactor. "In short, there's almost every attraction a child can think of," said one attendee, who brought her 6-year-old son to celebrate his birthday. "Just imagine free-climbing up the outside of the never-to-be-used cooling tower!" kernies-familienpark.de, $22.
National Lampoon's Spring Break Tours
A new company called National Lampoon Tours launched two trips this past March, to Las Vegas and Cabo San Lucas. The organizers thoughtfully suggested a packing list: "Sunscreen, condoms, sunglasses (daytime pair, nighttime pair), condoms, camera, condoms..." Not that they'll definitely be put to use. According to President Jason Hollander, the Vegas trip was heavy on men: "But that just means there's a little more competition!" The 21-and-over crowd stayed fueled thanks to a 24-hour open bar--in other words, 96 hours of free drinks. (Hollander will allow that the participants may have been sleeping for part of the time.) In Cabo, 18-and-over guests got $225 in drink vouchers instead. Let's do the math: $225 divided by five days is $45. Coronas were $5 apiece (and shots were less). That means folks got at least nine beers a day. "It'll get you on your way nicely," Hollander says. 877/465-8687, nationallampoontours.com, Vegas packages from $279, Mexico packages from $379.
Building your own igloo
Staying in an igloo is one thing, but paying for the privilege to build it is another. Intrepid participants on the four-night Churchill Wild "Fire and Ice" tour, in Manitoba, pass several hours hacking at ice with two-foot-long saws. Then the excitement really begins. "Walls will probably fall down a couple of times before the igloo is finished," says Churchill Wild Director Mike Reimer. "But that's just part of the fun." Once they're successful, ersatz Inuits get caribou skins and a down sleeping bag to keep themselves warm. As if that weren't enough, the town of Churchill also happens to be the polar bear capital of the world--and chances are good you'll see a bear's kill site, complete with gnarled seal remains. Tours take place in the early spring and cost $2,398. "There haven't been a lot of bookings," Reimer says. "But the people who come absolutely love it." 888/326-7325, churchillwild.com.