007 returns in Quantum of Solace and inspires us (again) to live on the edge...in style.
James Balston
| Credit: James Balston

“I’ll need a new suit. Someone stuck a knife through my coat,” James Bond matter-of-factly informs “gadget man” Q in 1983’s Bond film, Octopussy.

It’s not easy being Bond...James Bond. The fictional British Secret Service agent returns on November 14 in his 22nd film, Quantum of Solace, starring the “new” Bond—dashing, rough-around-the-edges Daniel Craig. Bond, of course, has captivated lovers of espionage and pop culture since Ian Fleming created him in 1953 and generated a lucrative micro-industry: Bond movies alone have grossed more than $4 billion.

But while Bond may chase bad guys, dodge bullets, and wrestle knife-wielding psychos, he really doesn’t have it all that bad—his jet-setting life takes him across the globe with premium service at his fingertips. On a quest to fully understand Bond and his dangerously extravagant lifestyle, Travelandleisure.com tracked down the best experiences and places—many inspired by the latest movie—to live vicariously as a secret agent.

Daniel Craig, show-stealer in Casino Royale (2006), returns to the big screen in top Bond form as the ultimate man-on-the-go, traversing the globe in high-octane style from MI6’s home base in London to Austria, Italy, and South America. And not surprisingly, Bond travels first class all the way—again continent-hopping in Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, where, at the cabin’s bar under Virgin’s halo of purple and red, he sips a Lillet-laced martini named for his lost love, Vesper. When he’s not flying high in the movie, 007 enjoys the good life while chasing villains: among other fabulous exploits, he secures prime seats at the Festival House in alpine Bregenz in Austria—home to the largest “floating stage” in the world, and where an exciting scene in the new film will have viewers on the edge of their seats.

Supporting roles are played by cool gadgets from Spymaster Store and from Bond Street (no relation) in London. Amid Mayfair’s luxury shopping mecca is the Omega store, which sells 007’s watch of choice: Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean. For those who may have been focused on the action and missed his accessories, Bond has worn the sapphire-bejeweled stainless wrist-piece in the past five films. And of course, everyone’s favorite secret agent still gets the (Bond) girl.

But the film isn’t the only way to show your love for Bond. The first major exhibit devoted to creator Ian Fleming and his most famous character also opened earlier this year at the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth, outside central London. “As a boy I loved the Bond films,” says James Taylor, curator of the exhibit, “For Your Eyes Only,” which runs until March 2009. Highlights include the manuscript of Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale; Fleming’s jacket worn on the 1942 Dieppe Raid; and prototypes of the unforgettable shoes with blades worn by Rosa Klebb in the film From Russia with Love.

From Fifty London, a posh gaming venue in Piccadilly, to thrilling speedboat rides on the Thames and simulated free falls in the world’s largest skydive wind tunnel, Bond-themed attractions and adventures await. What are you waiting for—you only live twice, right?