From cliff camping in Colorado to Kung Fu in the Himalayas, Airbnb is expanding its experiential travel offering with the launch of Airbnb Adventures, providing 21st-century competition for conventional tour companies. Jenny Southan reports
Unlike Airbnb Experiences, which tend to encompass city-based activities, classes, tours and workshops that last no more than a few hours or a day, Airbnb Adventures will be “bucket list-worthy multi-day experiences”. All are hosted by local experts and are easy to book via the company’s new Adventures portal.
At the moment, there are 200 trips available around the world that are either exclusive to Airbnb or are provided by small, local operators that are not typically found on any other major booking platform.
People signing up will be taken in intimate groups of no more than 12 to “epic, off-the-beaten-path locations”, where they are immersed in unique cultures and communities that would be hard to reach on their own. Airbnb says that participants will be able to “learn, make personal connections, seek challenges and grow”.The company’s tagline for the new concept is “The perfect trip with none of the planning”.
An example would be the three-day Island Survival Skills trip to Puerto Rico where guests get to study island bushcraft. This will include learning to find water, foraging for food, building a shelter and starting a fire with nothing but what you find on the beach and in nature. It costs £726 per person.
Another Airbnb Adventure would be the Epic Motobike Trip Through Vietnam. Considered “strenuous”, the four-day excursion would follow the Ha Giang Loop. On the way, participants would explore a cave, stay with local villagers and swim by a waterfall. It is hosted by Cuong, a 30-something social entrepreneur and costs £298 per person.
Here are some other Airbnb Adventures that you can book…
- Track Lions on Foot With Warriors
- Camp on the Side of a Cliff in Colorado
- Galapagos Slow Food Safari
- Explore Deep into the Amazon Jungle
- Cowboy Life in the American Wild West
- Paranormal Tour of the US Southwest
- Swedish Islands Culinary Kayaking Trip
- Hiking the World’s Most Silent Place
- Searching for Sasquatch in Washington
- Glamp under the Northern Lights in the Arctic
- Hunt with Eagles in Western Mongolia
- Kung Fu in the Himalayan foothills
- Farm stay in Indiana Amish country
Lodging, meals and activities are all included in the price, and trips meet certain quality and safety standards. Airbnb says it was advised on safety and best practices for its Adventures by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).
How much do they cost? Prices range from US$79 for an overnight trip up to US$5000 for a ten-day trek. The median price of an Airbnb Adventure is US$588 for a three-day trip.Joe Zadeh, vice-president of experiences at Airbnb, says: “Getting access to epic and transformational travel has never been easier than through Airbnb Adventures. Like Airbnb Experiences, people can escape their day-to-day and put their screens and devices away but now instead of just a few hours, they have the option to be fully immersed off-the-beaten-path, to push themselves out of their comfort zones and have experiences that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”
According to the ATTA, the international adventure travel market was worth US$683 billion in 2017, up 21 per cent on 2012. Airbnb says it wants to “democratise the industry” by offering “more attainable experiences that are designed to unlock the power of nature, are led by locals and cater to a breadth of interests and abilities”.