In the realm of travel, the sharing economy keeps expanding, fueled by travelers seeking authentic interactions with locals.
Airbnb has been attuned to that desire since 2008, when it launched its online-based home-sharing service.
In 2016, the company expanded with Airbnb Experiences, in which hosts run homespun tours and events in more than 1,000 cities around the world, sharing their passions with visitors with pasta-making lessons in Italy and hikes in Malaysia.
Now comes a new branch of the business that seems to be a mashup of those two: Airbnb Adventures offers multiday tours, lodging included.
This new Airbnb marketplace is studded with exotic options of three days or longer that, frankly, I would love to take. The small-group trips to off-the-beaten-path destinations around the world come with guides, meals, ground transportation and accommodations. If the activity calls for gear, that's taken care of, too.
There's a four-day Swedish island culinary kayaking trip for $1,000. On an Indiana farm in Amish country, participants can learn to make pie, hone their craftsmanship and help with farm chores during a three-day stay; the cost is $240. Tracking lions on foot with Samburu warriors and a conservationist for three days in Kenya runs $500.
Given their complexity, the more than 200 Airbnb Adventures are run by local tour operators, not individuals, and "meet certain quality and safety standards," according to the news release announcing Airbnb Adventures. The Adventure Travel Trade Association provided guidance on best practices.
Full immersion in backcountry locations, leaving phones — and comfort zones — behind, engaging in transformational travel: These are among the benefits touted by Airbnb. But they had me at Amish pie. That is its own reward.
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