Airbnb Just Made it Easier to Find Travel Destinations Within Driving Distance

Since you're probably still avoiding air travel.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

States across the country have begun reopening following months of strict stay-at-home mandates. But while you might feel comfortable partaking in a socially distanced happy hour, that doesn’t necessarily translate to the same ease with flying -- germs, enclosed space, and all. Airbnb gets that, but doesn’t want you to sacrifice all summer travel as a result. 

Instead, the homestay service is nudging customers to take nearby trips with a new set of initiatives. On Thursday, the company announced a new campaign promote domestic travel and local economic growth. 

“While the travel industry, including Airbnb, has been hit hard by COVID-19 and there will continue to be tremendous uncertainty, our booking data shows that travel is beginning to bounce back and new survey research has identified a series of trends that will shape travel in the weeks and months to come,” Airbnb said in a statement on its website.

Courtesy of Airbnb

The platform is working with a number of government and tourism agencies, like Visit Florida, the National Park Foundation, and Visit North Carolina, in response to user needs. According to a survey conducted by Airbnb, nearly half of US respondents said they’d prefer a quick road trip following lockdown mandates. 

“Since the pandemic began, the percentage of bookings made on Airbnb within 200 miles, a round trip travelers can generally complete on one tank of gas, has grown from one-third of all bookings in February to over half in May,” the announcement said. 

As such, Airbnb has updated its app and homepage to feature travel destinations that won’t requite you to head too far from home. The “Go Near” initiative includes local destination ideas, nearby places with flexible cancellation policies, as well as an emphasis on the company’s new online experiences.

However, the CDC does warn that travel continues to pose a health risk as the pandemic persists. The federal health agency maintains that staying home is the best way to protect yourself, but if you are planning to travel, read up on the CDC’s guidelines for doing so. 

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.