We’ve partnered with the Adventure Travel Trade Association, leaders in adventure travel, to provide safety recommendations and best practices to help prepare you for exploring a remote desert area.
Choose an Experience that works for you
Find out about health, fitness, or other requirements you’ll need to safely enjoy the Experience:
- Make sure you’re clear on what skills are required, and ask the host if you have questions or concerns. For example, if you’re hiking in the desert, will you be walking a short distance or spending all day scrambling through cacti over rough terrain? Feel free to ask how much time you’ll be doing each activity.
- Let your host know about any medical concerns you have that may affect your participation or enjoyment (from food allergies to a heart condition).
- Make sure you are satisfied with your insurance coverage.
In addition to reading the description of the Experience, reading the guest reviews can also give you a good sense of what to expect. You should always feel free to message the host before booking with additional questions.
Know your host
Your host’s bio will be included in the description of the Experience. You can message them at any time (before or after you book) to ask additional details including things like their background in the activities you’ll be doing, certifications, or how long they’ve been leading trips to the desert areas.
If you’ll be more than an hour away from medical care, you may want to find out what kind of medical training or certification your host has, such as a Wilderness First Responder (WFR), Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA), or CPR. You can also ask them about their safety evacuation plan in case of an emergency.
Make sure you’re clear about what you need to bring with you and what the host is providing, along with anything else you need to do to prepare. For a desert Experience, this may include wearing lightweight, long-sleeved layers, a wide-brimmed hat, and a way to shield your face from wind, sand, and sun, and bringing enough water.
Message your host to let them know about any special considerations–medical or otherwise–you may have, and find out if specific accommodations can be made for you.
There may not be cell service where you’re going, so ask your host about this if it’s important for you to stay connected.
Once you arrive
Your host will give you an overview of what to expect. Feel free to ask any questions you have as they come up. Some examples of things you might want to ask, if the host hasn’t already covered them, include:
- Are there animals or plants that shouldn’t be touched, or that you should keep an eye out for?
- Are there places that shouldn’t be entered, or paths that should be followed?
- Are there guidelines for how to interact with the local people?
Your host should also cover practical matters like access to water and restrooms, and when (or if) you’ll eat. At this point, you should make sure that you have what you need to be comfortable for your entire Experience.
Check your gear
If your host is providing gear for the desert Experience, make sure it’s in good condition, fits properly, and is clean and dry. For a desert Experience, that may include lightweight long sleeves and pants, appropriate footwear, a raincoat, and a backpack to carry water and food. Whether you’re borrowing gear or bringing your own, check that there are no holes in fabric, and that all buckles, straps, and snaps work.
You may want to check in with your host to make sure they have a comprehensive first aid kit, and a way to safely evacuate any guest who gets injured. There may not be cell service where you’re going, so ask your host about this if you’d like to stay connected. Finally, the vehicle that gets you to the start of the trip and picks you up at the end should be clean and safe.
Know the conditions
Talk with your host about the range of conditions you’ll likely encounter, which may include extreme heat, cold, strong winds and blowing dust and sand, sudden electrical or sand storms, high sun exposure, and potential encounters with wild animals. Find out how you can best prepare for these conditions, as well as any other unexpected challenges.
Your host should provide you with a clear itinerary and let you know what kind of first aid supplies they have available and what to do if you become lost or injured. When you’re on a desert Experience, some of the more common injuries include sunburn, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, dehydration, and hyponatremia (which is when the body has too much water and not enough salt), so if you have concerns, ask your host about how you can best prevent these.
Remember, you are the best judge of your own capabilities. Trust your judgment, and if you ever feel uncomfortable, speak up.
We recommend that all guests and hosts engaging in an Experience prepare an emergency plan in case of a natural disaster or any other kind of emergency that could occur during an Experience.
Here are several useful safety plan templates provided by the American Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC):
Airbnb provided trip protections
All multi-day trips include 24/7 customer support. We also maintain $1 million of liability insurance under our Experience Protection Insurance program, in order to provide hosts and guests with peace of mind (certain exclusions apply). Additionally, in the event of a life-threatening injury, we also have partnered with an emergency medevac provider which may be activated to reach an injured party to support a medically necessary evacuation.
Leave a positive impact
Experiences like a desert hiking trail or expedition are a great opportunity to give back to the local environment and community. Ask your host about any local rules or etiquette of the communities or environments you’ll be visiting that you can follow in order to help create a great Experience for everyone. You can also do your own research to find out about the local culture before your Experience.
Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA)
Courtesy of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. ©2019 Adventure Travel Trade Association. All rights reserved.
The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) name and logo are used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement or vetting of, express or implied, of any product, service, person, company, opinion or political position. The ATTA does not select or approve, and is not involved in the selection or approval of, Airbnb Experiences or hosts. For more information about the Adventure Travel Trade Association, please visit adventuretravel.biz.
American Red Cross and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC):
Courtesy of the American Red Cross and International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. ©2019 The American National Red Cross ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
The American Red Cross and International Federation of the Red Cross Red Crescent name and emblem are used with its permission, which in no way constitutes an endorsement, express or implied, of any product, service, company, opinion or political position. The American Red Cross logo is a registered trademark owned by The American National Red Cross. For more information about the American Red Cross, please visit redcross.org.