If you asked most seniors why they don’t travel as much as they’d like, you’d probably hear two reasons over and over again: cost and not having someone to share the experience. The Freebird Club was created to take these objections off the table for seniors and give them the opportunity to explore their wanderlust!
This club, which is reserved for adventurers over 50, operates much like Airbnb in that travelers stay in people’s homes rather than hotels, which reduces their cost plus maximizes their comfort. However, in this accommodations arrangement, guests are not only invited into their hosts’ homes, they’re also invited into their lives. With the goal being companionship as much as accommodations, hosts are there to welcome their guests; share meals, cocktails and conversation; take them along on a hike or bike ride; show them around town; and help them experience the area like a local. (The level of interaction is based entirely on the preferences of both guest and host.)
Because the majority of The Freebird Club’s members are empty nesters and retirees, guests have a lot in common with their hosts right off the bat. However, travelers can ensure an even better fit by shopping hosts’ profiles, which include their interests, lifestyle, favorite movies and music, and more. In other words, whether someone likes to explore cathedrals or hang out in pubs, they can probably find a host in the city they’re visiting who likes to do it too!
Membership in The Freebird Club, which is headquartered in Ireland, costs a one-time fee of $31 and gives travelers access to homey lodgings around the world for a lifetime. Membership also allows travelers to reciprocate and become hosts themselves after a thorough application and vetting process by The Freebird Club team (but hosting is not required). Hosts set their own rate, communicate with prospective guests as much as they’d like, and have complete control over the folks they invite into their homes.
According to Senior Planet, “Mangan’s (the founder) concept for a club was more than just a business plan. He sees it as the beginning of a movement, a Freebird community for mobilizing older people — especially seniors who might be retreating from life and not doing the things they want to do, like meeting new people and traveling.”