A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, American restlessness has reached a fever pitch, and travel fantasies are getting wilder and wackier.
That’s what we’ve gathered from recent data published by Airbnb. The home-and-vacation rental company shared insights gleaned from millions of user searches spanning 2019 to 2021, and interest in “quirky” rental properties has skyrocketed through the roof.
Apparently, people are seeking places that differ dramatically from the patchwork of four-walled rooms we call “houses” and “apartment units,” in which many have been trapped for 17 months on end. They’re looking to trade city for country and sea; straight walls for curved walls, or no walls at all. Queries for yurts, huts, and islands are all up over 1,300%, topping the list of searches with the most massive growth. That’s followed by “earth houses,” a term for a dwelling that is literally built into the earth—into the side of a hill, perhaps, or even underground, with rock and soil acting as its walls and roof (think hobbit houses or caves).
Tiny homes, a burgeoning trend for years now, also rose in popularity, although not as much as other types of spaces (perhaps thanks to pandemic claustrophobia).
Here’s the full list:
- Yurts (1,701%)
- Islands (1,668%)
- Huts (1,379%)
- Earth houses (1,285%)
- Barns (1,068%)
- Farm stays (1,055%)
- Houseboats (1,015%)
- Tiny homes (791%)
According to Airbnb, nearly 70% of respondents to a survey said they wanted a new search filter for “unique stays,” and a quick stroll on the website shows it now has pages solely for “treehouses,” “castles,” “in a desert,” and more.
Treehouse in California. [Photo: Courtesy Airbnb]And to get you started on your journey to the perfect, weird vacation, Airbnb has also cobbled together a roundup of 16 one-of-a-kind properties ranging from a lighthouse in Alaska to a World War II train car in Tennessee to the hollowed-out insides of a six-ton potato in Idaho (more glamorous than it sounds).
Bon voyage—and don’t forget the bug spray!