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Around-the-world cruise? Private island? Where to go with a half-million-dollar vacation budget

Question: Where does a 68-year-old school bus monitor who’s had it up to here with bullying kids go for some rest and relaxation?

That’s the $561,000 (and growing) question for Karen Klein. After a YouTube video showing her being verbally assaulted was posted Monday, more than 24,000 people have contributed to a campaign on fundraising website to give her a well-deserved vacation.

The campaign has so far raised more than a half million dollars. “That’s the highest amount of funding an Indiegogo campaign has raised in such a short amount of time, said Rose Levy, a company spokesperson.

Klein, a grandmother of eight, may not be ready to accept Southwest Airlines’ offer of a group trip to Disneyland, which is no doubt overrun with schoolchildren on summer vacation.

So we asked several travel agents from Virtuoso, a network of luxury-focused travel agencies, for suggestions of how Klein might get some peace and quiet.

“She definitely deserves a trip,” said Ansley Thomas, a travel advisor in Atlanta who works with New York-based

“She might decide to take that Disneyland trip with her grandchildren after all,” said Thomas, “but after that I’d suggest an around-the-world trip with Crystal Cruises, a luxury line.” Cost: Up to $60,000 per person

Thomas also suggested a first-class around-the-world trip by plane. “I’d suggest she visit the places on her bucket list or pick a theme, maybe the Seven Wonders of the World, and design her trip around that.” Cost: Up to $100,000.

“After that terrible experience and all this attention, Klein might want to take a trip that’s all about regrouping and taking care of herself,” said Kristen Pike and Jessica Maxwell at Atlanta-based Currie & Co. Travels Unlimited. 

Pike and Maxwell suggested Klein consider an island vacation.

They suggest Sir Richard Branson’s 74-acre private British Virgin Islands retreat, Necker Island, which can accommodate up to 28 people. Cost: $42,500 to $56,000 per night.

 And there's Musha Cay, the 150-acre island in The Bahamas owned by entertainer and magician David Copperfield. Cost: $37,500 per night for 12 guests; $52,500 per night for 24 guests.

“Of course we’d want to chat with Klein about her personal dreams and make an itinerary especially for her,” said Pike. “But without a doubt, for $500,000 she’ll be able to get exactly the type of trip she wants.”

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