Airbnb is Now Booking One-of-a-Kind, Immersive Cultural Travel with Airbnb Experiences

When a company’s brand name enters the public lexicon as a verb (“Just Facebook me …”), it’s a clear sign they’ve made it big. Among hardcore travelers, Airbnb succeeded in doing just that a few years ago (“We Airbnb’d for a month in Prague …”). Now, they’re further cementing their status as a whale in the travel space with Airbnb Experiences.

Online tour booking services are nothing new — the concept has existed almost since the first Internet cat meme. But, Airbnb set out to do so something distinctly different from the thousands of me-too online tour aggregators. Their Experiences service works directly with local, entrepreneurial hosts to provide travelers with the most memorable, bucket-list-worthy excursions. The length of each experience depends on the host and the particular activity offered. One-day experiences last only a few hours, while full-on immersions often last days.

For travelers, there’s no better way to find the pulse of a culture than to cook, hike, paint, or surf with a local. But, most experiences aren’t just vaguely interesting activities hosted by a stranger. They’re hyper-niche, guided immersions into a shared, singularly focused creative or adventurous passion. Los Angeles’ Smog City Brewing, for example, invites travelers to join them inside their taproom as a “brewer for a day” for just USD $45. Elsewhere in L.A., Marvin’s Backyard Beekeeping shows guests everything they need to know to start their own apiary. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can even write a TV episode with a professional TV writer ($199) or camp with wolves under the stars ($625).

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Airbnb Experiences/Camping with Wolves

From the host’s perspective, Airbnb Experiences provides a creative outlet to share their (sometimes curious) passions with like-minded strangers. London millinery designer, Sarah, for example, will teach you all about her fancy hat-making expertise. Some experiences are just about sharing time with a local, however. Naky, a Togolese immigrant living in Portugal, takes travelers on a four-hour tour of Lisbon to explore the city and its thriving African subculture through the eyes of an immigrant.

Most tourists land in a destination and try to connect with the local culture through guided tours, old buildings, and travel guides. Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, noted that it’s difficult to fully appreciate a culture by visiting a museum and staring at “art by dead people … Why not learn how to make art yourself, taught by a living artist in that culture and immerse yourself in the artist’s world? These are experiences you can bring back with you!” It’s hard to disagree.

Airbnb Experiences are bookable in select cities through the existing Airbnb mobile app, available for download now on iOS and Android.

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