The Airbnb Experience

In addition to offering affordable accommodation, AirBnB also offers experiences. MANDY LATIMORE delves in deeper

For those lucky enough to be planning international travel, one always wants to get the most out of whichever city or towns one visits. While checking out accommodation on AirBnB for a trip to Greece that I’m planning to attend a family wedding, I came across the “experiences” section on the website. This was launched in November 2016 and offers different experiences hosted by experts within various cities both locally and overseas.

You can cook and eat meals with locals who will bring you into their homes and families so that you can learn authentic recipes and have a cultural experience at the same time.

If cooking isn’t your thing, you can arrange animal experiences that are just observation, hands-on, or caring for animals situated in various habitats from farm, to urban, air and water. Then, if you are really adventurous, there are multi-day adventure trips lead by experts from jungle retreat camping in Bali to a Northern Lights Adventure.

There are even local experiences that you can try if you are looking for something different in your own backyard in South Africa. Try your hand at creating art, or making a caftan; experiencing a close up look at the honey bee or a walking tour in Johannesburg or Soweto. You can also experience a street food tour in Jo’burg.

John Morris from WheelchairTravel.org has some feedback on his experiences with them: “I questioned the accessibility and value of these experiences for a long time, but gave it a try during my trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil earlier this year.

“Prior to my trip, I booked two experiences: a guided tour of “Little Africa” and a photo tour in Rio de Janeiro with a professional photographer. The experiences cost less than US$ 30 (R462) each – a seemingly fantastic value. I’m happy to say that both experiences exceeded my expectations and were memorable activities on my travel itinerary.”

He continues: “I thoroughly enjoyed both of the Airbnb Experiences that I booked in Rio de Janeiro, but not all such experiences are wheelchair accessible. One guided tour that I was interested in involved riding in a car, and on public transportation, during the tour of one of Rio’s favelas. The transportation provided as part of the tour was not wheelchair accessible, so the experience wasn’t appropriate for me. I for one am looking forward to experiencing many more of the tours and activities offered through the Airbnb Experiences platform!”

As I am always advising, it is vital that you contact the host of the event before purchasing an AirBnB Experience to inform them of your accessibility requirements. Most hosts are happy to accommodate specific needs – providing it is possible for them to do so.

If they have a clear idea of what your level of ability is and you ask for informative info on the exact accessibility of each experience, you will be able to select the ones that suit your abilities best.

So, whether you are travelling far away or staying right here, start thinking out of the box and try something new! You never know where it will lead… Happy travels!


Mandy Latimore is a consultant in the disability sector in the fields of travel and access. email: mandy@noveltravel.co.za

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