Call it an extended honeymoon. Newlyweds J and Kim were so charmed by their first Airbnb experience they decided to embark on a 24-month, 24-country world tour, staying with an Airbnb host in each destination for one month, ample time to immerse themselves in the local culture and get to really know their hosts.
J and Kim, from South Korea, married in 2012 and were first bitten by the Airbnb bug while honeymooning in the U.K. Airbnb was a win-win for the young, ready-for-the-world twosome: they would spend less than they would on hotels and get to live for a bit like the locals do. With a stroke of bold creativity they announced their plans in a YouTube video called “You can be our Airbnb hosts.” In equal parts, their video touts the virtues of staying with local hosts and offers themselves as the perfect guests for sharing a meal or a spin on the dance floor.
Their playful brazenness paid off. Hosts from around the world—including the US, Spain, Portugal, and Hungary—responded to the clip with invitations, and in March 2013 the dynamic travel duo set out on their journey.
J, 33, a film festival staffer, and Kim, 32, who works in marketing, are approaching the halfway point of their journey, already scoring passport stamps and making new friends in London, Paris, New York, as well as in Kuala Lumpur, Istanbul, and Rijeka, Croatia.
We caught up with the globetrotters recently to see what adventures they’d gotten themselves into. They were in Valdivia, Chile, where in between partying with their hosts and taking in the sights, they were working feverishly on drafts to send to their publisher for a forthcoming book chronicling their trip of a lifetime. J and Kim have been blogging about their adventures at 1city1month.net and have a YouTube channel. A peek at their blog reveals visits to a pole dancing pub in Edinburgh and a stop to say hello at the Dublin Airbnb office. (The couple have also paid visits to our Singapore, Paris, London, Dublin, and Barcelona offices.)
The goal for J and Kim has been clear and simple from the get-go: to travel cheaply but more immersively—and absolutely more unforgettably. Where some might not see excitement in living like the locals, these two see new adventures. It’s the little things that J and Kim find rewarding, like joining their host for a walk with the family dog or simply kicking back in their host’s living room and exchanging stories.
“When most people travel to Florence, they want to see the Duomo—but we’ve been spending most of our time in neighborhoods, living like locals,” J explained. “By meeting Airbnb hosts, our travel becomes more meaningful, and now we’re making friends all around the world. They always say to us when we leave, ‘Come back here any time and stay with us, not as our guests but as our friends.’ ”
Track J and Kim’s journey at 1city1month.net