“Airbnb Animals” Is Here, and It’s Awesome

Horse-whisper in Spain, track foxes in Iceland, etc.

Airbnb Animal Experiences
By Tanner Garrity / October 4, 2019 6:03 am

Take a moment to reflect on your personal history of wildlife tourism, and you’ve probably got some moments Jane Goodall wouldn’t been too pumped about. You know … like posing in front of a pair of jungle cats at the zoo while sucking down some Dippin’ Dots. But with a recent rise in sustainable tourism, we’ve been given more opportunities than ever to appreciate (and sometimes even directly care for) the planet’s creatures. Airbnb, the ever-expanding travel giant that it is, is now getting in on that action; it just announced partnerships with World Animal Protection and The Dodo, for its launch of Animals on Airbnb Experiences.

Airbnb Animals, as we’ve dubbed it, is nothing too revolutionary for the company. Ever since it debuted Airbnb Experiences in 2016, and gave individuals or tour operators the chance to post their excursions on the site, there have been animal-geared activities. But this signifies a bit of a relaunch, hinging on the World Animal Protection partnership. WAP is an international non-profit dedicated to animal welfare, and was given the reins on crafting Airbnb’s wildlife police. Elephant rides, for instance, have been removed, wild animals must be left alone, and working animals must have caps on how long they perform their duties.

Airbnb has also added new experiences in conjunction with the launch, bolstering its total wildlife offerings to over a 1,000 activities. The experiences break down into three categories: Observe, Play and Care. Observe involves tracking, spotting, photographing and “meeting” wild animals (though some live in sanctuaries). This is where you’ll find all the big scary mammals you’ve traditionally visited at the zoo, but in their natural habitats, from a respectful, learning-focused distance. Play is the goofy category, where folks who get lost in animal videos will thrive. Many of these experiences are curated by The Dodo, the online platform that shares viral (often tear-jerking “little pup finally finds a home”) animal stories. The final category involves caring for rescued animals, and 100% of proceeds from those experiences are donated to charitable organizations.

There are conservation experiences like this online already, of course, but the familiar of Airbnb — the reliable reviews, the easy booking process, the opportunity to book your stay one click later — is unbeatable. Plus, because Airbnb can pack so many forms of excursion on its site, the price range runs the gamut. Some take an hour and cost $12, others take $9 and cost 200. We’ve selected a few of our favorite experiences below, and we’d encourage you to peruse the full list here.

Discover the arctic foxes
Isafjorour, Iceland

Visit chimpanzees in the mountains
Blue Ridge Mountains, United States

Alpaca trekking through a forest
Tralee, Ireland