As guests become increasingly interested in immersive travel experiences, Airbnb Experience hosts are finding bizarre ways to meet consumers’ insatiable thirst for the weird and unusual. From carving with chainsaws to wearing your DNA as jewellery, some of the kookiest experiences around can be found on the Airbnb platform.

Airbnb Experiences are typically led by inspiring locals who are looking to share and monetize their passions  – no matter what these might be. There are more than 25,000 Airbnb Experiences currently available in more than 1,000 cities around the world.

Play Mermaid for a Day in San Diego (California)


Ever wondered what it’s like to be a mermaid? Hit the beautiful beaches of San Diego with an ocean advocate and professional mermaid to find out. Get glammed up with a mini makeover (seashell top, mermaid tail, and keepsake hair accessories included) while learning more about the famous La Jolla marine life. Cap off this epic experience with a 30-minute sunset photoshoot to properly debut your new Mermaid personality.

Chainsaw Carving in Salem, Oregon  

Not your average woodshop – this father and son team has a deep passion for carving, and 12-foot sculptures to prove it. Learn all the tricks of the trade in this hands-on Experience as master carvers coach you through your own keepsake masterpiece.

Extract Your Own DNA into a Necklace (Tacoma, WA)

Throw on your white coat for this cutting edge Experience hosted in Tacoma’s innovative biotech labs. With expert guidance from a local scientist, you will learn how to extract your own DNA to create a personal necklace pendant. As a Social Impact Experience, proceeds from this workshop will benefit RAIN, a non-profit life science incubator educating the community and supporting the growth of biotech entrepreneurs in Tacoma.

Make Smudge Sticks with a Real Witch (San Antonio, TX)

Learn the art of sage smudging, a witch’s daily practice and ritual used to create sacred space, from a second-generation spiritual healer and practising witch. In this Experience, you will bond dried herbs and flowers carefully selected and customized for your personal use. After taking these natural beauties home, burn them to rid your space or home of negative energies, increase abundance and promote healing.

Learn to Eat Fire (Los Angeles)

Here, you can join a burlesque and variety performer in her private home studio to learn the impressive art of fire eating. She’ll also carefully walk you through the theory and safety precautions behind fire eating before venturing outdoors to light up the torches and explore this performance artfully. By the end of the session, you might just be gorging flames with the best of them.

Neural Enhancement with Dr Leon (London)

Step into the starring role of your own personal Sci-Fi. Undergo a brain surgery simulation in this one-on-one interactive theatre performance – an intensely relaxing procedure that applies sensory stimulation to the head alongside an audio experience. A note to the leary – this neural enhancement is safe and painless, leaving no lasting marks or scars.

Cuddle Sanctuary Social (Los Angeles)

Studies show cuddling can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. What better reason to sharpen your spooning skills at this LA-based cuddle laboratory. Receive expert coaching through therapeutic hand holding and hugging before practising your newfound skills in paired and group activities – all designed to promote connection, community, laughter and fun.


This article was first published in IOL on 28 March 2019