Airbnb's Newest Listing: The Great Wall of China

Airbnb
Airbnb

Update: On August 9, Airbnb announced that the giveaway had been canceled. The company said in a statement, "While there was an agreement in place that was the basis for the announcement of this event, in light of recent feedback, we have respectfully made the decision to not move forward with this contest."

While traveling, do you prefer to rent rooms that are old and rustic with a great view? Then head on over to the Great Wall of China. As spotted by Business Insider, Airbnb is giving away a one-night stay in a centuries-old tower along one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World (and yes, flights are included).

Four winners will have the chance to camp out in a historic tower overlooking the rolling hills of Yanqing, just beyond Beijing's city center. During the trip, which is scheduled for September 3 through September 9, 2018, guests will be treated to a gourmet Chinese meal and classical music at sunset.

The next morning, they'll be taken on a sunrise hike through the surrounding countryside, all while learning about the history and heritage of the Great Wall. After that, they can try their hand at some traditional Chinese activities, like seal-engraving and calligraphy. Airbnb says the contest is part of an effort to promote tourism in China and preserve the Great Wall, parts of which have fallen into disrepair.

As part of the package, which is valued at about $4400 per person, transportation and accommodations in other Beijing locations will also be included.

To enter, you’ll have to write a short prompt about “why it is more important now than ever to break down barriers between cultures and how you want to build new connections.” The contest is open to citizens of the U.S., UK, and nine other countries. Be sure to submit your entry via Airbnb’s listing page for the Great Wall by August 11 for your chance to win.

[h/t Business Insider]

You Can Rent This Wizard of Oz-Themed Cottage in North Carolina

Airbnb
Airbnb

This year marks the 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, the classic 1939 adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s book. In addition to watching the film, you can opt for a more immersive way to celebrate the occasion. As Travel + Leisure reports, a cottage in West Jefferson, North Carolina offered on Airbnb is perfect for any traveling Oz fan—and it’s only $35 a night.

The studio cottage is considered a glamping destination and is slim on amenities—it has a breakfast nook, porch, sofa bed, and a Porta John—but the Oz-themed details more than make up for the lack of luxurious perks.

A pair of stockinged feet are visible under the home, hinting at a witch’s untimely demise; a character mural of Dorothy and her three escorts, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, appears on the side of the cabin; inside, various other decorations pay homage to Baum's books, including a pair of ruby slippers and a few stuffed Totos.

A cottage with a 'Wizard of Oz' theme in West Jefferson, North Carolina is pictured
Airbnb

If you go, you’ll have to act quickly. The cottage is open only in the spring, summer, and fall, as it has no heat.

The Airbnb listing has a perfect score across 16 reviews. You can book it here.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Visit Any National Park for Free on September 28—or Volunteer to Help Maintain Them

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
Nick Hanauer/iStock via Getty Images

By the end of September—which always seems especially busy, even if you’re not a student anymore—you might be ready for a small break from the hustle and bustle. On Saturday, September 28, you can bask in the tranquility of any national park for free, as part of National Public Lands Day.

According to the National Park Service, the holiday has been held on the fourth Saturday of every September since 1994, and it’s also the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort. It’s up to you whether you’d like to partake in the service side or simply go for a stroll, but there is an added incentive to volunteer: You’ll get a one-day park pass that you can use for free park entry on a different day. Opportunities for volunteering include trail restoration, invasive plant removal, park cleanups, and more; you can see the details and filter by park, state, and/or type of event here.

If you’re not sure how you should celebrate National Public Lands Day, the National Park Service has created a handy flowchart to help you choose the best course of action for you—which might be as simple as sharing your favorite outdoor activity on social media with the hashtag #NPLD.

National public lands day celebration flowchart
National Park Service

There are more than 400 areas run by the National Park Service across the U.S., and many of them aren’t parks in the traditional sense of the word; the Statue of Liberty, Alcatraz Island, and countless other monuments and historical sites are also run by the NPS. Wondering if there might be one closer than you thought? Explore parks in your area on this interactive map.

For those of you who can’t take advantage of the free admission on September 28, the National Park Service will also waive all entrance fees for Veteran’s Day on November 11.

And, if you’re wishing a free-admission day existed for museums, you’re in luck—more than 1500 museums will be free to visit on Museum Day, which happens to be this Saturday.

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