We partnered with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) to come up with tips to help you host a safe experience at altitude. These are best practices, but you’re the expert on the activities you lead. A great Host always thinks about what more they can do to keep everyone safe.
Set the right expectations
If there are health, fitness, or other requirements needed to safely enjoy the experience, make this clear in your experience’s description. Be very clear about the starting altitude, maximum altitudes, and speed of ascent. This includes providing details about the length of time, exertion required, and skills needed.
Once a guest books, check in with them to find out if they have any health concerns that may affect their participation, including any history of altitude related problems, any severe allergies such as anaphylaxis reactions, or heart and lung conditions that could endanger their lives. Make sure you’re clear on what modifications you’re able or willing to make to accommodate them.
Communicate with guests often
Once someone books, you can use Airbnb’s messaging system to introduce yourself and help your guests feel welcome and prepared. Let them know that you’re available to answer any questions.
You should create an experience where your guests feel comfortable asking questions at any point. Try to anticipate common points of concern (such as how to use the bathroom on your experience, expectations for interaction with others, etc.) Guests need to be briefed on signs and symptoms of altitude related illnesses and need to understand that if they feel those, they should tell you immediately. Address these concerns outright–and make yourself available to attend to these and any others questions throughout your experience.
Listen with patience and authentic concern, and try to put yourself in your guests shoes. This could include practical matters like if there will be food, snacks, or water provided, if they should bring their own water bottle, and what bathroom facilities are available. Try to address these concerns before guests have to ask. What may seem normal to you may be difficult or fear-inspiring for your guests, so your communication is key to a safe and enjoyable experience.
Prepare guests before they arrive
Provide your guests with a list of what they’ll need ahead of time. For an experience at altitude, that may include medications they should have before they travel to your area; warm layers; sunglasses and a hat; and food and water.
If guests should acclimatize before the trip, be sure to tell them how, and share your plans for how you’ll acclimatize during the trip based on the elevation to which you’ll travel. Tell guests about terrain and weather they’ll encounter, the physical intensity level of the experience.
It’s a good idea for you to know if and where you’ll have cell service coverage, and let your guests know in advance. Always ask guests about special considerations, needs (medical, food, or other), make appropriate accommodations, and tell your guest(s) about your plan to accommodate their needs to make sure it works for them.
Give a pre-experience briefing
Before you set out on your experience, make sure they’re clear on what you’ll be doing. Provide a clear and accurate briefing before you start your experience at altitude. Tell your guests about the signs and symptoms of altitude sickness, HACE, and HAPE, and tell your guests to let you know if they start to notice any of these signs during the trip. Leave time available for questions, whether in a group or one-to-one. Now is the time to check that your guests have all the food, water, and gear that they’ll need during the experience.
Since some guests may be out of their comfort zone, they may need more of certain items than a local or expert would, so if you can anticipate these needs, you can make the experience even better.
Provide the right gear
If you’re providing gear for your guests, it should be in good condition, clean and dry, and fit each guest properly. If you’ll be traveling above 18,000 feet, consider carrying oxygen and let your guests know the process to utilize it. Have expedited evacuation equipment (stretcher, life flight, etc.) and plans if someone becomes immobile to descend as fast as possible.
Hosts should carry (and know how to use) an extensive first aid kit for stabilizing an injured guest and communication device(s) to call out for assistance if needed.
Choose the right conditions, and prepare for the unexpected
Talk with your guest about the range of conditions you’ll encounter, including not feeling 100% during the acclimatization. Plan appropriate acclimatization for the elevation at which you will travel with your guests. Keep your guests informed of other potential hazards during your experience. These conditions could be related to weather, terrain, the activity, or other challenges specific to your trip. Let them know how they can best prepare for these, as well as unexpected but possible challenges.
If you need to cancel an experience for an emergency, weather, or safety issues, no penalties will be applied. Learn more about the cancellation policy for Experiences
Follow local regulations & check forecasts
You should have the local knowledge to know if and when it’s acceptable for you to guide and what rules or regulations apply to areas in which you may travel with your guests. You should know the weather forecast, and know the location well enough to be able to anticipate the conditions.
Make sure you have a clear itinerary and plan that all your guests understand. This should include specific information about what they should do if they (or you) become lost or injured. Check in with your guests throughout the trip to see if they are showing any signs or symptoms of altitude sicknesses. Never let a person with altitude sickness ascend. It’s up to you to manage any changes in risk to your guests throughout the experience, making evaluations and decisions that keep them safe. If you’ll be more than an hour away from medical care, it’s best practice to have a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) or Wilderness Advanced first aid (WAFA), along with CPR certification.
We recommend that all guests and Hosts engaging in an experience prepare an emergency plan in case of an accident or a natural disaster or any other kind of emergency that could occur during an experience. Find out more about making an emergency plan
Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA): Courtesy of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. ©2021 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, visit adventuretravel.biz.