Celebrating Earth Day with Airbnb: How We’re Promoting Sustainable Travel

At Airbnb, we owe our growth in no small part to interest in sustainable travel: 72 percent of our guests say the environmental benefits of home sharing were of at least some importance  when choosing Airbnb.

Most recently in our mission to promote sustainable travel, Airbnb is proud to be partnering with the United Nations World Tourism Organization in its International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development campaign. Airbnb will help support their initiatives to make travel greener worldwide.

We’ve already seen how Airbnb can help promote sustainable travel. Airbnb engaged Cleantech Group to conduct an analysis of the environmental impact of stays at Airbnb listings compared to stays in hotels. Using that model, our 2017 sustainability report    found that by staying in Airbnb listings rather than hotels, in 2016, Airbnb guests across North America made energy savings equivalent to the energy spent in a year by 309,000 homes, while guests in Europe produced a water reduction equivalent to 9,000 Olympic sized pools.

Meanwhile, our hosts are embracing more environmentally-friendly practices; and we embrace collaboration with partners who help them reach their goals. An example of this is Airbnb has  a   new partnership with Vivint Smart Home gives our North American hosts access to Vivint’s energy-conserving thermostat management.

As more travelers book with Airbnb, cities can also reap environmental benefits. Recently, we extended our partnership with the UN Environment Programme after collaborating during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games to educate travelers and hosts on sustainable travel. During the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, 85,000 visitors found their accommodation through Airbnb. Without our host community, the city would have needed to build 257 new hotels to accommodate that many guests, according to a report from the World Economic Forum.

Read more about how Airbnb works with policymakers and NGOs to encourage environmentally-friendly travel in our 2017 sustainability report. 

That’s just scratching the surface of how Airbnb encourages greener travel.

Airbnb offers an array of sustainable, eco-friendly and greenery-inspired listings, including this Barcelona flat that receives all of its energy from renewable sources and features handmade furnishings. Other listings offer a taste of sustainable living like this organic farm in Malibu providing guests with home-cooked meals straight from the property gardens. And for those looking to get in touch with nature, this treehouse in San Francisco Bay Area and bush garden cottage in Australia’s Blue Mountains National Park give guests a rarely seen look at wildlife.

Airbnb’s greener approach to travel is also reflected in our Trips platform, which places people and communities at the center of travel booking. Through Experiences, Airbnb guests can tap into the locally-sourced food, unique ecosystems, and sustainable living practices of the communities they visit – all guided by passionate local experts and advocates.

From locally-grown cuisine to mindful nature immersions, below are some of our favorites:

Farm to Table Fermentation in San Francisco

Get an inside look into San Francisco’s famous food culture by sampling seasonal food and drinks among the progressive NOMADgardens. You’ll learn about fermentation in a hands-on workshop alongside gardeners, nutritionists and urban space activators pioneering the local food revolution. 100 percent of what you pay for this Experience goes to NOMADgardens, a non-profit that turns vacant lots into wellness hubs for local communities.


Secret Gardening Mission in Florence

Roll up your sleeves, and garden your way through the hidden alleys of Florence. On this Experience, you’ll get to know the rare roses and heart-stopping vistas that make up the city’s glorious green spaces.


Urban Grown in Harlem

Get ready to get your hands dirty at Harlem Grown’s 134 Street Farm, an urban garden that provides access to healthy food for the Harlem community. Learn about this local non-profit’s vision while harvesting some veggies from the garden to be used for school lunches. 100 percent of your trip payment goes to Harlem Grown and FoodCorps to inspire youth to lead healthy lives through hands-on urban farming and nutrition.


Adventure in the Everglades

You’ll meet for a bike fitting before setting out for a lush, one-of-a-kind adventure through the Everglades. Wind down your day with your host over smoothies from one of South Florida’s most unique farmers’ markets.


Two Green Thumbs in London

Expand on your gardening skills with a pair of desk dwellers-turned-botanical creators. Explore UK’s top flower market to scout some florals at wholesale pricing before creating terrariums in your hosts’ community garden.

Ocean Advocate in Cape Town

Led by a local conservationist, get a deep dive into aquatic life in Cape Town, including a behind-the-scenes aquarium visit, an inspiring coastal walk, and a hands-on bird watching and rescue excursion.


Sustainable Cooking in Paris

Dig into the sustainable food movement in Paris, home to some of the world’s most famous cuisine. Guided by a local chef and advocate, you’ll design and prepare a sustainable and affordable menu and learn to cook it French-style.


Beach to Bushland in Sydney

Discover the best spots in Pittwater National Park – accessible only by water. After kayaking the bay, enjoy morning tea on a secluded beach and hit the trails to walk among the gum trees, kookaburras and other natural wonders before arriving to a gorgeous waterfall.


Natural Paradise in Barcelona

Unearth the beauty of Montseny, a natural park one hour outside of the bustling city that boasts oaks, chestnuts, evergreens and beech trees on its paths. Discover all of the area’s different types of plants and animals while learning about the rich cultural heritage. Stop for a local lunch and breathtaking views in a spot closed to the public as you wind down your day.

Urban Ecoist in Los Angeles

On this eco-fashion immersion, explore the urban gardens of Los Angeles while designing your own water sling holster from recycled fabric. Cap off your adventure with a coastal bike ride to witness the Skywater machine, designed to convert 150 gallons of drinking water per day out of ocean air. 100 percent of what you pay for your trip  goes to Community Healing Gardens, an NGO transforming LA communities by building urban gardens to provide healthy food, education and jobs.