If you’re on the pulse with travel trends, you might have heard of Airbnb’s new ‘experiences.’ It’s where locals can show visitors around their neighbourhood while showcasing their own unique skills.
From bicycle tours of a new city with an urban cycling enthusiast, to wine tasting tours with a seasoned sommelier or even salsa dancing lessons with a professional dancer, the options are varied and amazing.
No matter what you’re interested in doing, chances are there’s a local with the knowledge and skills to take you on an adventure.
Although this is new to Airbnb, locals have been embracing tourists for years with different enterprises, like walking tours which are run through local hostels or guided gastronomic experiences.
Like anything, there can be risks – but they don’t have to be a problem if you’re informed. We’ve checked out some of the activities on offer and gathered together our top tips on how to make the best of them.
We’ll tell you in plain English what you’re covered for, so you can get out there and enjoy the world, while meeting locals and making new friends.
Tour de local
Bicycles are a fantastic way to see the world, so it’s no surprise there are a multitude of experiences involving bike riding, either as a tour through the city, or on bicycle trails in local wildlife areas.
Embarking on a cycling experience is a great way to stretch your legs, cover some ground and enjoy the wind in your hair. In all of these experiences, bicycles and helmets are provided.
Keep in mind:
These may sound obvious but just remember to be safe and wear your helmet when riding, and if you’re stopping for snacks or drinks as part of your tour, don’t ride when intoxicated.
Your host will let you know if you need special clothing or if you need to bring your own water bottle.
It’s also really important that if you’re riding on the roads at any time, you obey all road rules of the country you’re in and keep your eyes peeled. In a nutshell, stay safe, obey the law and you’ll be fine.
Best foot forward
Plenty of the experiences on offer involve hiking; whether it’s a mindfulness retreat, a surf camp, a nature photography experience or a multi-day activity trip.
One of the best ways to really soak up the atmosphere of a new place is to enjoy a hike – not to mention the added benefits of fresh air and some exercise!
Keep in mind:
If you’re heading out hiking with an Airbnb guide, we’ve got you covered. Just make sure you’re hiking on established trails in areas that are hiking-friendly. Don’t go off the track or hike in areas that are remote, (where there's limited or no telecommunications or medical services) or where there are warnings against entering.
Remember to also let someone else, (not on the hike) know where you’re going and how long you intend on being out.
It’s a good idea to wear appropriate footwear and clothing for the terrain too, because blisters and chafing are no fun!
Your host will advise you about what you need to take, but it’s a good idea to take your own water, even if there is some provided.
What better way to enjoy the Californian coast than by embarking on a surfing adventure? Whether you’re new to surfing or have some experience, this is a great opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere and soak up some fun and sun.
Keep in mind:
You’re covered under the TravelCare policy for surfing. Just remember to make sure you’re not entering the water in any areas marked as dangerous or off limits.
Always follow any advice from lifeguards or officials and avoid areas with weather warnings in place.
If you’re not confident in the water, stay in the shallows and wear a life jacket. Your host will let you know what you need to bring in terms of clothing and food, but make sure you wear sunscreen, because sunburn can really ruin a trip!
Why not take your travel snaps to the next level with a photography or videography workshop on holiday? It’s a great way to learn new skills, or brush up on your current ones, while gaining some great travel keepsakes.
There are plenty of different experiences available, from outdoor hikes to breathtaking spots, to inner city composition, drone flying and even aerial photography.
Keep in mind:
If you’re heading off to take part in a photography experience, you’ll no doubt be taking some of your own equipment with you. It’s worth specifying high value items when you purchase your policy so you know they’re covered if anything unexpected happens.
If you’re heading out and leaving photography items at your accommodation, as with anything of high value, keep them in a locked safe.
On the plane, make sure you keep any expensive or delicate equipment with you in your carry on, because it’s not covered if you pack it away in your stowed luggage.
Treating the taste buds
Whether it’s wine tasting, sake tours, beer brewery visits or even cocktail making, there’s no doubt that drinking is a popular way to enjoy a new city and soak up its atmosphere. Meet new people, enjoy some delicious flavours and relax. That’s what holidays are for!
Keep in mind:
If you’re heading out to enjoy some drinks, there are some important things to keep in mind. First and foremost, the most obvious thing is to never drink and drive.
The great thing about most of the experiences is that transport is provided, so take advantage of this.
It’s also a good idea to ensure you know how to get back to your accommodation at the end of the night, as things often look different in the dark (or after a few drinks) and being lost in a foreign city isn’t fun or safe.
Drink in moderation so you can enjoy the flavours you’re sampling – and remember them. It’s also important to stay relatively sober and alert, so you don’t end up lost or in an unsafe situation.
It’s easy if you just remember the three R’s: Have respect, be responsible and you won’t have any regrets.
Just be aware that should you chose to go on a tour that’s all about drinking, you do so at your own risk. The TravelCare policy wont cover you if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
If you like being out on the water, a great way to enjoy your holiday is to get involved with a paddle boarding or canoeing experience.
Whether it’s learning for the first time, or part of a multi day adventure out of the city, there are plenty of options available.
Keep in mind:
Water activities are great and we’re happy to cover you for them, as long as you follow safety precautions.
Always remember to make sure you wear a lifejacket on the water. It’s also important to check the host’s requirements around swimming – if you’re not a confident swimmer, ask them first about whether this activity will be suitable for you.
Finally, keep an eye on weather forecasts and don’t enter the water in areas where there are warnings in place of any kind.
Water sport experiences:
Cowboy for a day
If you love animals and want to explore, what better way to do it than on a horse trek? Most experiences that include this also include food and drinks and sightseeing on foot, so you’re in for a real adventure!
Keep in mind:
Horse trekking is covered under the policy.
Again, just remember to always follow all instructions, wear a helmet and check with your host for any recommended clothing or footwear.
As with most outdoor activities, it’s important to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated, but most importantly, to enjoy yourself!
Horse riding experiences:
Some general tips:
Whether you like to relax and recuperate, or take on adventures and new experiences, we want you to have the best time you can.
If you’re interested in a new experience, here are a few basic things to keep in mind:
- Ask for help: If you’re uncomfortable or feeling unsure about something, ask your host for help. They want you to have a good time and be safe – it’s what a great experience is all about!
- Know your limits: If you’re uncomfortable with the situation you’re in or you’re not confident with a certain activity, don’t do it. Your safety is more important than any experience or skill you can learn, so stick to what you’re comfortable with.
- Don’t break the law: No matter what others are doing, if something is illegal then steer well clear. A good guideline to keep in mind is if you wouldn’t do it at home because it’s illegal or disrespectful, don’t do it in a foreign city.
- Get in touch: If you want to try a new experience but you’re unsure whether you’ll be covered under our TravelCare travel insurance policy, just get in touch and we’ll be happy to help out. After all, that’s why we’re here.
- Look after your valuables: If you’re heading out on an adventure, leave any valuables you don’t need with you in a locked safe at your accommodation. Don’t tell anyone else the combination or leave things with others to look after. If you have valuables you can’t replace, leave them at home – you probably don’t need them on holiday.