What the Tech? App of the Day: AIRBNB Experience

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(ABC 6 News) – If you’re planning a vacation this spring or summer you’re probably going to be looking for things to do. Every hotel lobby offers dozens of professional flyers for the usual tourist spots. Rather than paying $80 for a ticket to just another tourist trap your family might enjoy a local activity even more.

Even if you don’t use Airbnb to book a stay, you may miss out on its experiences tab where local regulars offer to show you some sights you wouldn’t otherwise see. The Airbnb app has a separate tab for ‘experiences’. Don’t worry, lots of people miss it. These are activities led by locals with expertise.

Rather than spending a lot of money on a tourist trap at the beach, I found a person who’ll take you to an island off the coast of Myrtle Beach, SC for 3 hours of Survivor-type challenges. Visiting Los Angeles? Another guy drives you around legendary Hollywood places for 3 hours in a 1973 convertible Cadillac. In Nashville, you can write and record a song with a professional songwriter. In Honolulu, have a professional photo shoot for $5. You can learn to surf in Honolulu from a local that includes a photo shoot and GoPro to capture your success (and your falls). You won’t find those things in a tourist brochure.

When you open the standard Airbnb app to search for locations and dates, just tap the Experiences tab. A few years ago I booked an Instagram photo shoot in Hollywood. For over an hour, a professional photographer took a small group around Melrose Avenue for a photo shoot. It was a terrific experience and I got to meet some aspiring actors looking to do their own headshots with their phone cameras. Afterward, the hostess treated everyone to coffee at a Hollywood shop where all the locals go. Every city has someone who’ll guide you through a walking tour for $20 that includes photos. It’s a great way to get a taste of the area you’re visiting with locals who know the lay of the land.

No tourist traps, no big corporations, just regular folks with a passion. Airbnb’s experiences listings are easily the best thing about the app no matter where you go and no matter if you’re staying at an Airbnb house or a condo or hotel you book yourself. You can find the experiences listing in the Airbnb app for Apple and Android devices as well as on the Airbnb website.