Not long ago, many travelers searched the physical pages of their Lonely Planet guide for the best things to do in a given destination. However, we’re no longer living in the dark ages of pre-2012 travel. Now, niche “experience marketplaces” — popularized by the likes of Airbnb — provide travelers with once-in-a-lifetime experiences they’d be unlikely to find on their own. Enter IfOnly.
The marketplace offers a broad range of unique experiences that we’ll officially file under “Cool Guy Sh*t.” If you’ve ever wanted to hike Los Padres National Forest with wolves, take a one-day wilderness survival course with the host of National Geographic’s Remote Survival, or learn about long-range shooting and ballistics from a Delta Force veteran, IfOnly has you covered.
The Outdoors section, in particular, reads like a teenage boy’s diary of all the impossibly awesome things they plan to do someday. You’ll pay handsomely for many of these experiences. But, hey, you only live once, and it’s not like you need to eat or clothe yourself all the time, right? It’s all about priorities.
It’s easy to narrow down your search by location, occasion, or area of interest. The experiences aren’t all designed for seat-of-your-pants adventure travelers either. The site offers options for kids and less adventurous types like your Nana. You can even search for group-centric activities like this family-style chef’s tasting dinner in Chicago or intimate, anniversary-worthy outings like a private hot air balloon ride for two over Napa Valley.
IfOnly launched in 2012 with an exclusive list of bucket list-worthy experiences available to only the most well-heeled clientele. The company still offers pricey, once-in-a-lifetime vacations that run in the tens of thousands of dollars. Things like a private concert with Third Eye Blind (the exact price isn’t listed, which means we definitely can’t afford it) and lunch with Irene Neuwirth, pet pendant designer to the Hollywood stars (yes, really), are on offer. The latter will cost you a cool USD $21,000. Only now are they expanding their marketplace to include far more accessible and adventurous experiences.
For experience-seekers, the site is 100-percent free, from registration to booking. Luminaries (experience sellers) are free to sign up, but pay a commission to IfOnly.com once they make a sale. Activities can be found in several major U.S. cities, including New York City, Miami, and Las Vegas, but with more than 2 million registered users, the site is rapidly expanding.
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