Travel News: Airbnb Experiences for Music Lovers

By Maya Stanton
April 18, 2019
two men at music board
Courtesy Airbnb
Tap into your inner Mick Jagger—or Ariana Grande—to realize your rockstar dreams.

You might sound good singing in the shower or rocking the mic at karaoke, but now you can take your show on the road—no tour dates required. With enthusiastic hosts in destinations near and far, Airbnb Experiences ( gives travelers the opportunity to dig deep into local cultures with interest-specific adventures, and if you're looking to put your musical chops to the test, there are plenty of options available. Spend time in a Los Angeles recording studio, create your own beats with a DJ in Brooklyn, or try something farther afield—the ancient art of taiko drumming in Tokyo, perhaps, or flamenco guitar lessons in Sevilla? Whether your interest lies in performing, songwriting, or making the instruments themselves, the home-sharing platform is encouraging aspiring entertainers to take center stage.

School of Rock

Dreaming of bringing a stadium of fans to their knees? Channel those air-guitar skills and step into the studio. In Burbank, you can book time with an award-winning producer to write, arrange, and record your own song, and you’ll come away with an MP3 of the finished product, as well as a deeper understanding of how the recording magic happens. To get a feel for the operational side of things, look to Nashville’s fabled Music Row, where you can schedule a songwriting session with a professional or learn the ropes at a working studio. Can’t get enough K-Pop? Head to Korea, where you can train with a vocal coach and record your tune. You’ll walk away with a short music video and your song on CD—a guaranteed chart-topper, naturally.

DJ Dreams

If getting behind the turntables is more your speed, DJs from coast to coast can help. Talk shop with a Grammy-winning producer in L.A. who will lead you through DJing 101 and send you home with a record from his stacks, or go vinyl shopping with a Brooklyn DJ who will show you how to create a sample and produce your own beat. Overseas, you can become a mix-master in Paris or pick up the tricks of the house-DJ trade in Medellín, to say nothing of the scenes you can experience in London, Berlin, and Havana while you're there.

Go Off-Book

To see how the sausage—errr, music—gets made, tour a ukulele factory in Honolulu, where you’ll lay hands on the instruments and watch the craftspeople at work; for a truly immersive experience, check out a three-day itinerary with a historic violin maker in Paris, which includes an introduction to the city's musical heritage, time in the workshop for a peek at the process, and a demonstration of the finished product, plus a concert outing to cap things off. From harp lessons, taiko drumming, and traditional dragon flute in Tokyo to the seven-string guqin in Chengdu to Indian finger drumming in New York, there’s a world of instruments just waiting to be played.

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Cathedral of Notre-Dame Burns

The travel community is responding with disbelief at the news that a fire broke out on the medieval wooden roof of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, in Paris, on Monday evening. FIREFIGHTERS STRUGGLE TO SAVE THE CATHEDRAL The New York Times and other news sources report that part of the cathedral's iconic 315-foot spire has collapsed. A spokesman for the cathedral told the Times that as of this evening no injuries were reported, and Parisian fire department officials confirmed that report. The fire may have been caused by an ongoing construction and restoration project, but that has not been confirmed. More than 400 firefighters worked into the night to stop the blaze and save the cathedral from further damage. Hours after the fire began, fire department officials announced that the most significant works of art, and religious relics such as the crown of thorns, inside the cathedral had been saved and that the main structure and two towers at the front of the building had been saved. UNESCO released a statement of support, saying it stands by France "to safeguard and restore this invaluable heritage." French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted, "Thinking of all the Catholics and all the French people. Like all of our countrymen, I am sad tonight to see part of us burning." FOLLOW #NOTREDAMEFIRE ON TWITTER TO LEARN MORE For travelers with memories of visiting the City of Light and its 850-year-old cathedral (which attracts 14 million annual visitors), the damage to the roof, spire, and church interior is, of course, especially heartbreaking. The fire struck the storied church, which has survived centuries of warfare, plague, and civil unrest, at the start of Holy Week, when liturgical events such as Holy Thursday and Good Friday commemorate the Last Supper and the Passion, culminating in the celebration of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. For further updates from the BBC, CNN, and other news organizations on the ground in Paris, we suggest following the hashtag #notredamefire on Twitter.


Travel News: JetBlue Will Fly to London

If you happen to hear us cheering here in New York City today, it’s because JetBlue—one of our favorite airlines for reasonable fares, TV at every seat, free “Fly-Fi,” and more legroom in coach than other U.S. carriers—just announced its first-ever transatlantic flights. Fly JetBlue to London in 2021 Don’t start packing just yet: JetBlue intends to begin multiple daily flights from New York City and Boston to London in 2021. The airline is currently evaluating London airports before it decides which one it will fly to. So you’ve got a little time to brush up on how to do London on budget and assemble your list of the U.K. capital’s ancient, medieval, Victorian, and modern must-sees. “Twenty years ago, our founders had a simple formula for choosing a new market – it had to be overpriced, underserved, or both,” said Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer, JetBlue. “London is the largest metro area JetBlue doesn’t yet serve from both Boston and New York, and we could not be more thrilled to be changing that in the years ahead. The fares being charged today by airlines on these routes, specifically on the premium end, are enough to make you blush.” What to Expect JetBlue’s new routes to London will carry passengers on an Airbus A321LR, a single-aisle aircraft that will offer the airline’s Mint premium experience, essentially an accessible reinvention of business-class amenities. What Will It Cost? Although it’s too soon to say what a basic fare from NYC or Boston to London will cost in 2021, JetBlue has made it clear that it is committed to opening up European airports to smaller American airlines and offering reasonable fares plus an array of amenities at no extra cost. “The big airlines will tell you that competition has never been more robust, but the smaller airlines have never found it harder to get access,” said Geraghty. “It’s time for regulators here in the U.S. and across Europe to create conditions where smaller carriers and new entrants can thrive, instead of letting the giant airlines get even bigger through joint ventures. Given a chance to compete, JetBlue can have a tremendous effect on lowering fares and stimulating traffic.” If you just can’t wait to stroll through London’s Hyde Park, peruse the jaw-dropping antiquities at the British Museum, shop Portobello Road, tuck into a meat pie washed down with a pint of brown ale, then rest your head in an elegant-but-affordable hotel—we’ve basically planned at least one perfect day in London for you right there!—we suggest you sign up for JetBlue’s e-newsletters and follow the airline on social media to get the inside scoop on its flight routes and fares as they are announced. (And we’ll be doing the same.)


Travel News: TSA Warns You May Not Have the Right ID for Your Next Flight, Wakanda Tops the List of Fictional Travel Destinations, and NYC’s Coolest Opera Festival Starts April 29

From knowing what kind of ID you need to board your next flight (including domestic flights that used to just require a driver’s license) to the most-searched fictional destination on earth (plus a real-life alternative) to a mind-blowingly original opera festival in New York City this spring, this week’s travel news is all about surprises. TSA Warns You May Not Have the Right ID for Your Next Flight It’s one of our biggest travel nightmares, and it has been happening to far too many of us lately: You get to the airport and learn that you don’t have adequate ID to board a flight. In some cases, it’s because your passport is set to expire in less than three months and the country you want to fly to requires a more up-to-date passport. But even domestic flights within the U.S. have become more complicated: Beginning October 1, 2020, every traveler must present a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or another acceptable form of identification to fly within the U.S. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the impending deadline and empower travelers to get up to speed. “TSA is doing everything we can to prepare our partners and the traveling public for the REAL ID deadline next year,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “The security requirements of the REAL ID Act will dramatically enhance and improve commercial aviation security.” For more information, visit Wakanda Tops the List of Fictional Travel Destinations On April Fools Day, we had some fun publishing New Airline Will Fly You to Hogwarts, Narnia, and Other Out-of-This-World Destinations with tongue firmly in cheek. But thanks to the folks at On The Go Tours, we’ve recently learned that hundreds of thousands of travel enthusiasts actually do spend time online searching for fictional travel destinations from film, TV, and literature. From Oz’s Emerald City to Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, from Peter Pan’s Never Never Land to Superman’s Metropolis, people apparently really wish they could visit these (sadly) nonexistent spots. On The Go Tours analyzed Google search volume and determined that Wakanda, from Black Panther, is the most-searched fictional destination in the world. So, if Wakanda can't actually be found on a map (and, trust us, it can't), where should you go instead? On The Go suggests Cape Town, South Africa, one of Budget Travel’s favorite budget international destinations, with great beaches, mountains, a vibrant cultural and culinary scene, and a short distance from iconic African wildlife including lions, elephants, zebras, and giraffes. NYC’s Coolest Opera Festival Starts April 29 New York Opera Alliance (NYOA) will present its fourth annual New York Opera Fest starting April 29 and running through June. More than 20 NYC-based opera companies will put on more than 25 events around the city ranging from traditional theaters and concert halls to bars and museum galleries. Expect the unexpected—think beyond spear-carrying Valkyries, doomed sopranos, and mischievous Spanish barbers—from such noteworthy productions as Heartbeat Opera and Opera Lafayette’s adaption of the biblical story of Susanna; Rhymes With Opera’s treatment of the life of Eleanor Roosevelt; The Stonewall Operas, four premiers performed at the Stonewall Inn, in Greenwich Village, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising; and many more.


Travel News: WorldPride 2019 in NYC, London Is the Best Destination in the World, and the Plane That Flew in the Wrong Direction

From New York City's biggest LGBTQ celebration ever to London's new position atop TripAdvisor's annual awards, plus the truly bizarre story of a plane that took passengers where they did not expect to go, this week's travel news is all about looking at the world in a new way. WorldPride 2019 in NYC New York City is consistently the leading LGBTQ destination in the U.S. because, well, it’s New York City (as Taylor Swift sings, “It’s been waiting for you”), with a centuries-old tradition of welcoming newcomers of all backgrounds, genders, and ages. In that spirit, NYC & Company, the city’s official destination marketing organization, has declared 2019 the “Year of Pride,” with the epicenter coming up in June when the city celebrates WorldPride (June 25 to 30) and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising (June 28). “We have declared 2019 the Year of Pride, to not only celebrate WorldPride and Stonewall 50 but to acknowledge the perpetual spirit of New York City’s vibrant LGBTQ community,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company. “In addition to the iconic events in June, the city is brimming with a yearlong roster of cultural activity.” Events and exhibitions include: “Love & Resistance: Stonewall 50” at the New York Public Library in Bryant Park through July 14, commemorating the riots that broke out at Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, in response to a police raid; “Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now,” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum through January 5, 2020, a retrospective of Robert Mapplethorpe’s breathtaking collages and photographs; pride parades in all five NYC boroughs, with the Manhattan parade set for June 30, including the Stonewall Inn on its route; and dozens of other exceptional offerings all over town. To learn more about NYC’s Year of Pride, visit London Is the Best Destination in the World Sure, as noted above, we love New York. But congrats to London for topping TripAdvisor’s 2019 Traveler’s Choice Awards as the top-rated destination in the world, unseating last year’s winner, Paris. Based on millions of user ratings and reviews over the past 12 months, the award reflects worldwide enthusiasm for visiting the U.K. capital, largely fueled by the buzz around Harry and Meghan’s 2018 royal wedding. Of course, we recommend London as a destination anytime, with airfares to Europe from the U.S. at a three-year low and a plethora of amazing museums with free admission. Here, TripAdvisor’s top 10 destinations for 2019: London, U.K.Paris, France Rome, Italy Crete, Greece Bali, Indonesia Phuket, Thailand Barcelona, Spain Istanbul, Turkey Marrakech, Morocco Dubai, United Arab Emirates The Plane That Flew the Wrong Way In yesterday’s lively Budget Travel Twitter Chat about affordable U.S. Road Trips, we asked, "What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you on a road trip?" One participant admitted to accidentally driving 200 miles in the wrong direction while on vacation. Oops. But as funny-not-funny as that incident may have been, we've got a piece of news that is even weirder: A British Airways flight that was supposed to take passengers to Dusseldorf, Germany, instead flew to Edinburgh, Scotland, due to a mistake in the flight plan filed before takeoff. Um…