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Airbnb Launches Host of Sweet New Features

Score everything from hotel rooms to concert tickets to dinner reservations on the online marketplace

Yes, this is an Airbnb. (Courtesy Airbnb)

Score everything from hotel rooms to concert tickets to dinner reservations on the online marketplace

A decade ago, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia started renting out air mattresses in their cramped San Francisco apartment to visitors who needed a place to stay. That simple idea, of course, would become Airbnb and change the way we travel. Just look at the numbers: In 2008, the year the site launched, some 400 people booked lodging through the company. Since then, more than 300 million travelers across 191 countries have used the service.

Now, with a slew of new categories being rolled out, like upscale, preinspected homes and houses geared toward families or business travelers and new experiences including private concerts, workshops, and dinners at the best restaurants in town, the company wants to change the game again by making it easier for you to travel like a local, wherever you go. Here’s a breakdown of all the new things Airbnb can do for you.

Rent Nicer Homes with Hotel-Like Amenities

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Farmhouse on a vineyard in Cape Town, South Africa. (Courtesy Airbnb)

Airbnb Plus is basically a curated list of unique homes that have been vetted for quality. Each house approved for the service has to pass a lengthy checklist to ensure it features comforts like fast internet, quality linens, sleek design, clutter-free closets, and a well-stocked kitchen. And while there are currently around 2,000 Airbnb Plus homes in 13 cities—Austin, Barcelona, Cape Town, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Melbourne, Milan, Rome, San Francisco, Shanghai, Sydney, and Toronto—more cities are on the way by the end of the year.

The homes average $250 a night—about $100 more than a standard Airbnb rental—but many promise a spectacular experience. Check out this farmhouse on a vineyard ($312 a night) in Cape Town, South Africa, which has a pool, massive backyard, and an on-site host who will pour you a glass of locally made wine. Or this eclectic bungalow ($130 a night) steps from the beach in Venice, California, that comes with surfboards to borrow.

Or Just Stay at an Actual Hotel

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The Amado in Palm Springs, California. (Courtesy Airbnb)

While Airbnb already allowed users to book rooms at select hotels and inns, new features are being added soon to make them even easier to find. To supplement the current categories (entire place, private room, or shared room), the site will be rolling out four new filters this summer that will let you sort specifically for bed and breakfasts or boutique hotels, as well as vacation homes and unique spaces like treehouses, yurts, or backyard Airstream trailers.

Until then, you’ll just have to work a little harder to book one of the five poolside, midcentury modern rooms at the Amado ($175 a night) in Palm Springs, California, or a bunkbed at the Bivvi ($39 a night) in Breckenridge, Colorado, where breakfast comes included.

Find a House Your Kids Will Love

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For large groups, Airbnb has you covered. (Courtesy Airbnb)

Airbnb’s new collections, launched with lists of bookings curated for families and work trips, will expand this summer to include catalogs of venues specifically selected for weddings, honeymoons, group trips, and even dinner parties.

Under the families collection, you’ll find homes highly rated by parents with perks like cribs, bunk beds, and spacious backyards. Our favorites included this kid-friendly getaway in North Carolina’s Outer Banks ($89 a night), which comes with games, children’s movies, a high chair, and ample beaches nearby, and this sleek cabin ($450 a night) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which has a bunk room and an extraordinary porch.

Listen to a Live Concert in a Yurt or on a Boat

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Tap into small concerts while on the road. (Courtesy Airbnb)

While you’re booking housing, you can now sign up for local experiences and activities, such as surf lessons in Bali, guided hiking with mountaintop yoga in Los Angeles, or monitoring sea turtles in Costa Rica. You can also make restaurant reservations in many major cities.

The coolest new feature, however, is this: Airbnb just added concerts, where you can join small gatherings in 25 select cities to hear musicians perform live music in unique venues like yurts, distilleries, steamships, and churches.

Filed To: Travel / Lodging / Kids / Adventure / California / Colorado / North Carolina / Costa Rica
Nicolas Henderson/Creative Commons )

San Marcos, Texas

Billed as the world’s toughest canoe race, the Texas Water Safari, held each June, is a four-day, 260-mile jaunt from the headwaters of the San Marcos River northeast of San Antonio to the small shrimping town of Seadrift on the Gulf Coast. There’s no prize money—just bragging rights for the winner. Any boat without a motor is allowed, and you’ll have to carry your own equipment and overnight gear. Food and water are provided at aid stations along the way. Entry fees start at $175 and increase as race day approaches.

The Ring

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(Courtesy Quatro Hubbard)

Strasburg, Virginia

The Ring is a 71-mile trail running race in early September along the entire length of Virginia’s rough and rocky Massanutten Trail loop. To qualify, you need to have run a 50- or 100-mile race before the event and win a spot through the lottery system. Entry is free. Complete the run and you’ll become part of the tight-knit Fellowship of the Ring and be eligible for the Reverse Ring, which entails running the trail backwards in the middle of winter.

Plaza2Peak

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(David Silver)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Each spring, competitors gather in Santa Fe’s historic plaza with a simple goal: be the first to reach 12,308-foot Deception Peak, 17 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain away. Competitors run or bike the first 15 miles to the local ski area before transitioning to their waiting ski-touring setups for the final push to the top. Time stops only when they’ve skied back down to the tailgate in the resort’s parking lot, which is funded by the modest entry fee of around $25. To add to the sufferfest, some participants sign up for the Expedition category, in which they strap their skis, skins, boots, and poles to their bikes for the long ride up. Start dates vary depending on snow conditions, but look for the event page to be posted on Facebook in late March or early April.

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