Airbnb is offering online experiences via Zoom video calls. I tried 2 of them and would readily sign up for more — here's why
When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.75459426
- Due to the novel coronavirus, Airbnb started offering experience programming online. As states and countries slowly begin reopening,
Airbnblistings and in-person activities are becoming options again, but you can still participate in online activities from home if you're not ready to travelyet or just want a fun activity for the afternoon.
- Activities range from cooking classes with chefs around the world to workouts with Olympic athletes through Zoom video calls. Prices depend on the activity and the expert leading it, but are generally very affordable with experiences starting at just $10.
- I tested out both a tango class and a Moroccan cooking class and found them to be fun activities to do at home, and for a great value, despite some comical mishaps.
- Read all Business Insider travel reviews here.
Due to the novel coronavirus, I've been spending significantly more time at home and have felt a real travel void. I not only miss delving into new places, but also making new connections with fellow tourists and locals, and learning from them. Now that states and countries are slowly beginning phased reopenings, I have some tentative domestic trips within driving distance planned, but it still feels like going back to my regular jet-setting ways won't be plausible in the near future. Many travelers are probably feeling the same way, and if you're wondering if travel is safe at all right now, we talked to experts about travel safety. But thanks to Airbnb, you don't necessarily have to leave your couch to connect with locals across the globe.
More online travel experiences to try
- 18 hotels and Airbnbs around the world are currently offering virtual classes in lieu of their usual on-site activities and events — almost all of them are free
- The best cheap or free online resources to learn a new language
- Elevate your next Zoom video call by transporting yourself, and colleagues, to these 11 stunning hotels and destinations around the world for free
Bored at home, I decided to try a dance lesson and a cooking class. After completing both, I highly recommend Airbnb Experiences as a great way to connect with others and try something new from the comfort and safety of your home.
What are Airbnb Experiences?Airbnb isn't just a platform for travelers to find and book rooms and homes around the world. It also includes bookable experiences across the globe to help tourists have a more authentic taste of a destination. Experiences are typically led by locals, super hosts, or experts in a particular area and range from culinary classes in someone's home to photography lessons that double as city walking tours. Due to the novel coronavirus, Airbnb has paused all in-person experiences until June 28, 2020 and may extend that. Instead, they moved the experiences online. The online activities are still local-led, expert-driven experiences, but now they take place digitally through Zoom. It's possible in-person activities may become an option again soon, but the online experiences are still great for those who aren't quite ready to travel yet or anyone who just wants a fun way to spend an afternoon.
Current online experiences being offered include everything from learning how to make pasta while listening to opera with an Italian chef to workouts and Q&As with Olympic athletes. 75459428
Most experiences are group activities, where you'll be joined by others who might be located anywhere around the globe in a Zoom video call. Or, you may opt to book a private experience for just you and/or friends and family.Online Airbnb Experiences are purchased and booked on the same portal where you book accommodations, and a Zoom link to join is provided for the appropriate day and time as soon as your payment is processed.
How are Airbnb Experiences priced?
Airbnb Experience prices depend on how involved the activity is and who the local or expert is, but are generally priced very reasonably with an average price of around $22. A tango concert with a Grammy nominee is as little as $10, a wine class costs $15, and a family baking class is $20 per person. There's even a primer on drinking sake that's actually free.
You may search for experiences by price, date, time of day, and interest.With such cheap prices, I decided to try two experiences. I booked a tango lesson starting at $11 per person, as well as a Moroccan cooking class with a family in Marrakesh starting at $14 per person.
My experience with Airbnb Experiences
My first Airbnb experience was the one-hour tango class. I've never taken a dance class in my life and am not particularly graceful, but have always thought taking a ballroom class or two would be fun.The hosts of the class were from Argentina but located in Barcelona, where I studied abroad in college, so there was a certain nostalgia factor that influenced my choice. And just like with Airbnb rental listings, past
My shoebox-sized Brooklyn apartment made the first two steps challenging. But after moving our coffee table, stacking books and pillows to act as a mini tower to perch my laptop, and pushing our bar cart aside, we had a decent set up.
After having little reason to change out of my sweatpants for the past month, I decided to go all-in on the suggestion to dress up. I wore a yellow sundress I originally bought to wear on my trip to Portugal, put on a little makeup, and even (gasp) shaved my legs (a wise move: we ended up quite close to the camera).75459432
The Zoom conference was easy to join and besides the hosts, there were two other couples in our virtual class. One couple was in Switzerland and this was their second class. They had so much fun the first time, they immediately signed up to do it again the next day. The second couple was in Chicago and the woman booked it as a surprise birthday gift for her partner. I was glad I decided to throw on a dress since the other couples were also dressed up — the birthday boy even had on a full suit and fedora.
Our hosts, Ana and Jorge, were warm and inviting. We all introduced ourselves and then got down to the lesson. Ana and Jorge taught us step-by-step, by first demonstrating the moves a couple of times, then having us each try while they critiqued us, and then trying it again together set to music. The steps slowly built on each other over the course of the hour so it was easy to pick up and they didn't move too fast for us novices. Ana kept it light and fun by continually cracking jokes.At the end of class, we each performed a little solo recital of the entire sequence (roughly 20 counts total) and clapped for each other. While we weren't pros by the end, my fiancé and I definitely felt like we were really getting the hang of things. After, Ana and Jorge sent us a video of the lesson along with the music so we could keep practicing.
We would be making a Moroccan salad and chicken tagine (they noted that in lieu of a traditional tagine, a regular pot would suffice. But if you do want a tagine, this one has particularly good reviews). I was worried about being able to get everything I needed with grocery stores low on supplies (hint: these are the best places to buy groceries online), but most of the ingredients were straightforward (chicken, carrots, potatoes, etc.) and with the exception of sunflower oil, I was able to find everything. The ingredients totaled $25, which is an extra cost to keep in mind when signing up for a cooking class or another activity that may require you to purchase materials.I joined the Zoom link and was welcomed by a husband and wife duo in their gorgeous, tile-covered home kitchen in Marrakesh. Their young son was also present and happily sat in a small chair on the side. This was another group lesson and I was joined by a mom in Chicago and three Swiss friends who usually all get together to cook, but were separately participating as a way to still see each other and cook "together." 75459439The first issue I ran into was my tiny kitchen. I have barely any counter space, and finding a spot to place my laptop was challenging.
As I collected all my ingredients out of the fridge, I immediately realized a bigger problem. My chicken was purchased the day before and was safe according to its sell-by date, but as soon as I opened the package, it smelled terrible and I knew it was bad.
The class had already started and I couldn't very well ask my Moroccan hosts and the other lovely guests to please wait while I went to the grocery store and waited in line six feet apart from everyone else. So I did what any confrontational-averse, excessively polite person would do: I resolved to smile, say everything was great, and cook an entire meal with rancid chicken.My hosts were again warm and inviting, not only walking us through the recipe but also stopping to explain traditional Moroccan cooking pots and extra tips, like how to make preserved lemons. Each step was carefully explained and demonstrated from peeling and dicing potatoes to adding turmeric and ginger to the pot.
While the dish was cooking, they also happily answered any questions, from inquiries about Ramadan to showing us their terrace.
My hosts sent the full recipe to us after the class was over. I am happy to report that a couple of days later I bought new chicken and made the dish again — it was as delectable as anticipated.
Looking for the best kitchen tools for your own cooking class?
The bottom line on Airbnb experiencesDespite my mishaps and blunders, I thoroughly enjoyed both Airbnb Experiences and would readily sign up for more. They provided a great way to break up the monotony of my days, provided something to look forward to, and were cheaply priced.
It was fun not only learning new skills but also connecting with hosts and participants around the world. It offered a chance to feel the human connections and interactions I've been desperately craving, and participate safely in a group activity.Both of my experiences were under $20 per person, offering good value, and felt well worth the cost. Though, some classes (like my cooking class) will require additional costs for materials or ingredients. Since completing these experiences, my fiancé and I have practiced our tango skills (inspiration for the first dance at our wedding!), and I also shared the Moroccan recipe I made with my mom, which was another nice way to foster connections beyond the experience itself — though I did warn her to double-check her chicken.
- 1.28 lakh people over 60 years get 1st dose of COVID vaccine on first day
- Chinese hackers target Indian vaccine makers SII and Bharat Biotech: Report
- GST revenue up 7% year-on-year in February to over ₹1.13 lakh crore
- Here is the list of common side-effects of COVID-19, so that you don't panic if you get these
- These are the top 10 likely IPOs scheduled in March 2021