These Airbnb Horror Stories Can Teach You What to Watch For

Many frequent vacationers carry tales of delayed flights and disappointing lodge rooms. Yet Airbnb “horror stories” are a style all their very own.

Videos with the tag #AirbnbHorrorStory have greater than 63 million views on TikTok, that includes visitors venting about unclean properties and last-minute cancellations leaving them stranded. The web site Airbnbhell options lots of of comparable accounts, the place issues don’t go as anticipated for short-term renters.

While many of those tales supply little greater than schadenfreude, others can act as instructive classes for vacationers trying to keep away from comparable pitfalls. While there’s no solution to keep away from short-term rental surprises outright, many visitors who’ve skilled them say there have been warning indicators they wished that they had watched out for.

Look for critiques

Jack Epner, a advertising and marketing marketing consultant and digital nomad, has lived out of Airbnbs for greater than 4 years. Of the numerous troublesome stays in that point, one rental — a home in Ecuador — stands out.

“It wasn’t clean, distinctly not clean,” Epner says. “We’re talking black mold all over the kitchen, hair all over the bedding. I ended up with bed bugs.”

Beyond that, Epner says the host’s mates would use the entrance garden as a parking zone, and the host entered the (personal) property unannounced a number of occasions.

After messaging a number of Airbnb customer support groups, Epner was ultimately capable of obtain a refund. Yet the keep was so troublesome, that it pressured a recalibration of how a lot emphasis he now locations on visitor critiques.

The dwelling had just one evaluate, from a neighborhood, Epner says. And whereas he would often search for extra critiques earlier than reserving, the shortage of availability on the time made him keen to take the danger. He says that’s a threat he received’t repeat.

“I do avoid places without reviews now,” Epner says. “If there’s really only one review, I’ll be wary; I would like to see two to three minimum. The more reviews the better.”

Have a backup plan

When Agnes Groonwald noticed an Airbnb itemizing in Crestone, Colorado, it seemed too attention-grabbing to go up.

“The place was intriguing. It looked like a spaceship buried in the ground,” Groonwald says.

Groonwald, a nomad and creator of the weblog Travel on the Reg, says the itemizing’s uniqueness wasn’t completely convincing. Yet, with no different listings obtainable close by, it appeared like the only option.

Upon check-in, she observed one other group was already there: a household of mice.

“As soon as we arrived, we saw a little critter in the kitchen sink,” Groonwald says. “This was an infestation; this was the real deal.”

Groonwald, too, was capable of obtain a refund for the reserving however couldn’t discover various lodging close by at such brief discover. That meant cohabitating with mice for a number of days.

“We would wake to the pitter-patter of little feet in the middle of the night,” Groonwald recollects, saying that the expertise taught her two classes.

First, don’t be drawn in by quirky pictures. Staying in an uncommon dwelling, corresponding to a spaceship, may sound enjoyable, however it could possibly imply coping with equally uncommon issues.

“Sometimes boring is better,” Groonwald suggests.

Second, be certain that there’s a backup plan in place in case of deal-breaking issues. That doesn’t imply it’s a must to ebook one other rental, however simply be certain that there’s one other lodging choice obtainable on the identical dates in case one thing goes flawed along with your Airbnb.

Communicate beforehand

Gabrielle Dahms, a realtor primarily based in California, says she has all the time had good Airbnb experiences. Then, she checked right into a five-day Airbnb rental in San Rafael, California, and found an sudden hazard: artificial perfume dispensers.

“Anytime anyone made a movement, these things dispensed fragrance,” Dahms laments. “Within two hours, my sinuses were completely swelled up.”

Dahms complained to the host and Airbnb customer support, which resulted in receiving a one-star visitor evaluate. It has since soured her on your entire platform.

According to Epner, these issues of mismatched expectations between visitors and hosts will be addressed by speaking with the host forward of time.

“Anytime there’s the potential to not be on the same page, I think it’s helpful to connect before booking,” Epner says.

He discovered this lesson after staying with a number who needed to be mates with visitors, moderately than respect privateness. He now messages hosts with just a few questions earlier than reserving, to gauge their communication fashion.

“Do they treat it as a dumb question, or are they polite?” Epner says. “Anything I can do to get the sense of the host before booking, I’ll do that.”

This article was written by NerdWallet and was initially printed by The Associated Press.