Over two and a half years ago, Airbnb added another dimension to their stays with about 500 Airbnb Experiences, which let visitors sign up for activities led by locals. The number has grown to nearly 30,000 on the platform. Now, there’s a new cub in town. Today, on June 13, the company launched Airbnb Adventures with over 200 options that are either exclusive to the platform or executed by small-town local operators impossible to find on any mainstream booking service. By Sumeet Keswani
The new offering takes Airbnb Experiences a step further by introducing offbeat, multi-day tours that take you out of your comfort zone and make you reach cultures, communities, and natural wonders that would otherwise be hard to access. Like Experiences, Adventures are conducted by experienced local hosts who have compelling tales to tell, but differ in the fact that they include lodging and meals, and span over multiple days. If you’re ready to invest a few days of your vacation in transformative, immersive adventures, here are a few you can sign up for:
In an attempt to reverse the trend of exploiting elephants for tourism, this three-night glamping adventure lets you explore the wild and encounter elephants that have been rescued and relocated to their natural habitat. You witness the behaviour of the tuskers from a safe distance, trek through their forests, and choose between wild camping in hammocks or tents, and glamping in specialised canvas tents with mattresses and bedding.
Most adventure enthusiasts would’ve explored the African savannah on a safari. This Adventure takes it up a notch with Samburu Warrior guides leading you into the wilderness of North Kenya to track the African lion on foot.
Crazy about your wines? How about a sailing retreat to the Napa Valley in California? Go on a private cruise up the Napa River and explore the famed house of Californian wine at your leisure.
Hunt for traces of aliens at infamous sites in Arizona and Nevada with a host who founded Utah’s only UFO Festival, which takes place in Cedar City. Drive to ghost towns, old mining camps, and petroglyph sites, before taking the ET Highway to Area 51. If you believe we aren’t alone in the universe and want to investigate theories looming over the region, this is your chance.
Go on an immersive six-night food journey through the Galápagos Islands where everything you eat comes from the natural inventory of the region. While you forage produce for an organic meal, you also spot the extremely rare wildlife indigenous to the archipelago like Darwin’s finches.
It’s exactly what it sounds like. You camp in a custom-made ‘portaledge’ that hangs on the side of a cliff. Once you learn the art of vertical living at the unique camp, you can choose to learn advanced climbing techniques or birdwatch, or simply chill and have a delicious meal under the stars.
Inspired by the Jules Verne classic, this 12-week Adventure takes you across six continents, 16 countries, two oceans, five seas, and eight modes of transport, including a hot air balloon. Available to book from June 20, from London to London, departing September 1, 2019.
There are also a couple of Adventures in India to start with. A Village Living Adventure in the Himalayas lets you spend four nights in the holy pilgrimage town of Ukhimath in Uttarakhand, where you listen to local storytellers, go on a temple trek and village tour, and learn the arts of cooking Garhwali recipes and making Himalayan bamboo handicrafts from the locals. Another Adventure in the same village allows you to get hands-on with farming and animal husbandry.
Travel+Leisure India & South Asia experienced a three-day Airbnb Adventure in Morocco to get a sample of what’s in store. In Marrakesh, we got introduced to the many quirks of the Jemaa el-Fna square — from snake charmers to magicians and belly dancers, took a guided stroll through the winding lanes of the medina, learnt the ropes of Arabic calligraphy from a master of the art, visited heritage sites and modern monuments, and met interesting locals with fascinating tales that bridged the distance between our cultural fabric and theirs. In the Atlas Mountains, we visited a remote village, where we learnt the traditional art of cooking a tajine and trekked through the towering mountains for a kick of adrenaline and a lungful of fresh mountain air. If that adventure was anything to go by, Airbnb has opened the doors to a whole new style of travel for its patrons with the launch of Airbnb Adventures.