T+L shares an exclusive first look at a new adventure program from Airbnb. 

By Madeline Bilis
June 13, 2019
Oivind Haug/Courtesy of Airbnb

DIY trip planners, take heart: building an off-the-beaten-path itinerary just got easier. Almost three years ago, Airbnb ventured beyond home sharing with Airbnb Experiences, a platform for booking activities with knowledgeable locals. Now the brand is kicking those experiences up a notch with Airbnb Adventures: explorations of thrilling, hard-to-reach destinations hosted by seasoned guides.

Courtesy of Airbnb

Guests can choose from more than 200 trips across six continents, each lasting from two to 10 days. Prices cover meals, accommodations, transportation, and—most importantly—gear. Travelers itching to jet off to Brazil can spend nine days boating and trekking to a village in the Amazon rainforest. In Sweden, foodies are invited to kayak along a remote stretch of the Baltic coast and use foraged ingredients to cook meals with a specialist known as a “wilderness chef.” And for weekenders, there are two-day cliff camping trips, where adventurers hike to up a rocky hillside in Estes Park, Colorado, then spend the night suspended 200 feet in the air.

Ryan Tuttle/Courtesy of Airbnb

Airbnb’s new offerings are designed with “transformational travel” in mind, explains Joe Zadeh, head of Airbnb Experiences, which runs Airbnb Adventures. He says travelers are seeking experiences that take them out of their comfort zones — ones that ultimately result in personal growth. The new program meets that demand with immersive experiences that would be difficult for most travelers to plan independently.

Too often, Zadeh says, travelers focus on ticking off sights and activities on a checklist. “Then when they get back to the airplane, they’re the same person they were before," he says. "With Airbnb Experiences and Airbnb Adventures, we try to take people into new communities — places off the beaten path. We find that when you do get pushed out of your comfort zone, you come back not having checked off a bunch of landmarks, but in some ways, have become a slightly different person.”

The offering, he clarifies, is not just tacking an Airbnb onto a guided tour — it’s a top-to-bottom experience led by an expert. Adventurers opting to roam with nomadic reindeer herders, for example, sleep in the same quarters as the herders. 

Courtesy of Airbnb

Airbnb’s transformative itineraries also come at a range of price points, with overnight adventures starting at $80. Longer trips, like a 10-day expedition up the glacier-studded Tatshenshini River in British Columbia, can cost nearly $5,000. While none of the trips include flight costs, the median price for a three-day trip is around $588. All Airbnb Adventures are planned for small groups — the maximum number of guests is capped at 12.

Oivind Haug/Courtesy of Airbnb

But the point of embarking on an Airbnb Adventure? “To satiate a sense of curiosity, to create a sense of achievement, or to scratch an itch," Zadeh says.

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