We all know Airbnb has taken the travel world by storm. Living like a local really applies. Travelers can find cozy, truly livable places just about anywhere. The possibilities are endless for the luxury traveler. Don’t worry though, there’s plenty out there for the backpacker as well. Definitely, don’t count Airbnb out on your budget ventures.
Oh, and now Airbnb has added an “Experiences” feature?
That’s right. Airbnb is moving on up in the tourism industry. Airbnb Experiences. My first thought was that it was just going to be a bunch of tours. But after a first glance, I’m stoked! Yes, they are tours and workshops, but Airbnb Experiences has got my attention. Let’s just look into the possibilities here.
Once you dip into the Airbnb Experiences page, you have a variety of options to begin your search. You can search different categories like sports, nature, wellness, social impact, entertainment, food & drink, history, lifestyle, fashion and art & design depending on your personal interests.
*Note: These don’t include accommodation.
The primary Airbnb Experiences page features a few Local Experts. They vary from a cycling enthusiast, to a London foodie, to a Kintsugi pottery master, to a documentarian from Los Angeles.
Basically Airbnb is trying to host you and guide you but on two different bills. I’m not much into tours when I travel, but after taking a look at even just a few of these, they’ve got my attention. Nicely done, Airbnb.
As a budget traveler, I’m a little turned off by some of the prices. Even though they seem like awesome experiences. Around $200 seems to be the average. That being said, there are plenty that I and my wallet see as a possibility.
The most expensive of the Airbnb Experiences (by far, nothing else came close to this price) that I saw was a $2,500 surf and culture experience on the North Shore of Oahu lasting over the course of 5 days presented by World Surf League called the North Shore Tour. However, it does includes dinner with professional surfers the first night, jet ski rentals with safety lessons on managing big swells, helicopter tour, surf lessons from a local, VIP entrance to a surf event, and a big bbq bonfire dinner to end the ‘tour.’ If it’s something you’re really interested in, that price tag might seem appropriate for a real insider perspective.
On the profiles of the individual Experiences, which are incredibly user friendly, there’s a lot of information to help you know what to expect. There’s info about your host and a short description of the overall vibe. If it’s a multi-day Experience, then each day is broken down further with what to expect, what’s included, the duration of the activity, and any additional notes.
Most of the Airbnb Experiences seem to have a low number of spots available which is mentioned on the profile as well. Definitely a cozy kind of experience. There’s even a fun little movie trailer like video for each experience!
Hosting Airbnb Experiences
I went through the process on becoming an Airbnb Experiences host and, well, don’t get entirely to excited. The list of cities that Airbnb offers as possible host cities is limited to a little over 50 of the typical suspects around the world (LA, Sydney, Oahu, Bangkok, London, Paris, you get the picture).
There was an ‘other’ option for cities. But when I selected it and entered a different city, I just got a message saying, “Thanks! We’ll reach out to you as soon as we land in Santa Cruz, CA, USA.”
But anyway, I continued on pretending I was a San Francisco resident just to see the process. The first page is almost a little pep talk from Airbnb letting you know that they are only looking for genuine people to share authentic experiences with guests. “Don’t think of yourself as a tour guide.”
Then you review their quality standards. Airbnb wants unique experiences that might not be accessible to guests. They are also looking for Experiences that involve participation. So you get to look and touch? Sweet, I dig that.
Then you create your itinerary and profile. Anything from 2 days – 7 days long and their can be multiple activities in a single day. Then you create what the user sees using an interactive tool on the website that shows you exactly how it looks as your editing the information.
In theory this seems super easy, but as I was trying to create my profile, the webpage kept freezing on me. I would try to continue to the next portion and it either wouldn’t proceed or would go to a new pseudo blank page that seemed like an error leaving me no option but to start over in a never ending cycle of hitting this same wall. See below.
This could have something to do with my internet connection here in Nicaragua or maybe there’s tons of other people creating profiles right now too. I don’t know. I’ll leave this one to Airbnb to figure out.
Generally though, the Airbnb Experiences feature all seem very user friendly, both for guests and hosts. And once you submit your Experience then you just wait to be approved by Airbnb.
Now, here’s a few of my favorites that I saw while checking out the Airbnb Experiences page.
I see you, baby.
1. Night in Havana looks awesome!
Everything was appealing! There’s the vivacious host who is a vocalist and solid figure in her local music community to guide you. Plus the very personal feel to the activities planned (the host even refers to a dinner offered to guests as a family dinner). And of course what is all included for the $100 price tag. This one was featured on the front page and really caught my eye as a party I’d like to join.
2. High Glamour couldn’t be more enticing.
This one was also on the Airbnb Experiences front page, and for good reason! In this one you get to step into the life of a burlesque dancer. There’s a lesson from the host, a London showgirl, nipple tassel workshop, and it ends with a VIP dinner at a cabaret show where the host will be performing. A little pricier of an experience, coming in at $296, but I mean, there’s nipple tassels…
3. Seoul Fire and Flow Jam is right up my alley.
This one is short a simple. It’s a ticket to a flow jam inviting you to pick up a flow toy, learn a little bit, and enjoy the vibe. They provide a little booze and a fire show as well. It’s only a couple hours but it’s also only $26.
Yup. You go for a run with a local running club and then everyone sits down for a Korean dinner and rice wine with a little lesson on rice wine. And only for $31. Sold.
5. Wine Revolutionary, oh yes please.
This one puts you in Cape Town and gives you plenty of time with a very genuine sounding host. It also includes a good bit of food and drink over the course of two days. One morning the host even takes you out to peruse local shops and to buy wine and ingredients for dinner later that night at a farm to table style wine estate.
The overall experience includes two meals and multiple wine tastings for $160.
Airbnb has provided me with more than a few great places to rest my head during my travels. I’ve always appreciated the authentic feel that Airbnb creates and encourages for users. In a recent interview by Seth Porges on Forbes’ website regarding the new features and Airbnb’s new app found here, you get a genuine feel about what Airbnb is trying to do.
Airbnb Experiences is probably not going to disappoint either. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait a couple months before I’m in a host city. But I hope to try out one of these rad workshops asap!
Have you tried one yet? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!