Keeper of the Plans

Take a flight over Wichita, rent a boat — online sites offer local ‘experiences’

You don’t have to be a tourist to experience Kansas in a new way.

Whether you’re interested in flying over Wichita, horseback riding in Derby or boating in Eureka, there are a variety of “experiences” people can book for a break from the normal entertainment in town.

Airbnb.com, in addition to listing rooms and homes available for short-term rentals, offers “experiences” in most cities it operates in.

Airbnb hosts sign up to offer one of these experiences which people can then book at will — popular concepts for these “experiences” include photoshoots, brewery tours, hiking tours, biking tours and various other sightseeing trips.

In Wichita, there are only three Airbnb experiences currently being offered: A $69 flight in a Cessna 172 over Wichita, $150 trail riding in Derby, and a $249 helicopter ride around Wichita.

A quick search in surrounding cities reveals photoshoots in downtown Kansas City, rowing trips in Wyandotte County, and food tours in Oklahoma City, all for $65.

In recent years, sites similar to Airbnb have begun cropping up, offering specialized rentals.

The latest to hit Kansas: GetMyBoat.com.

The website lets people rent pontoon boats, kayaks, canoes and yachts for a day — essentially an online chartering service.

In Kansas, the site’s offerings are few and far between — with only six rentals available, limited to kayaks and canoes.

But the site is “seeking to change” its “quite small” presence in Kansas over the coming months, according to Val Streif, marketing coordinator for GetMyBoat.

Boat owners can list their vessels on GetMyBoat for free, and they can choose whether they will rent their boat with no restrictions or whether to captain the boat on every rental request.

Streif said in an email that it’s the boat owner’s responsibility to ensure their vessels are properly licensed and insured to cover any accidents or damages.

Boats can be rented by the hour, by the day, or per person (for events like guided kayaking or fishing trips).

For more information on the service, visit www.getmyboat.com.

Still not done searching for Kansas-related experiences online?

Some other sites to check out include Turo (www.turo.com) — which allows people to rent fancy cars from owners by the day, including Bentleys, Teslas, BMWs and Porsches — and VRBO (www.vrbo.com), a site similar to Airbnb in that people can rent apartments and houses by the day.

Matt Riedl covers arts and entertainment news for the Wichita Eagle and has done so since 2015. He maintains the Keeper of the Plans blog on Facebook, dedicated to keeping Wichitans abreast of all things fun.
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