How to avoid these stupid AirBnB Mistakes
I’ve been living in AirBnBs for the last 5 months, so you might think I would be an expert at choosing good housing fits by now. Guess what, I really am great at this. I’ve managed to pick beautiful apartments in great locations right within my budget sweet spot. The thing I haven’t been able to account of is the AirBnB hosts. There are some crazies out there. Absolute wackos of this “this ain’t how it’s going down” variety.
When I was leaving a rental in Mexico City, the host wanted me to pay them cash because the towel they gave me had makeup residue on it. Nah, we ain’t doing that. Throw that in the washing machine and keep it moving. In Cartagena, I complained to the host that the showers were clogged from the day I got there, and they wrote in their review of me that I clogged the shower drains. Whatever bruh - I’ve got a ton of good reviews, I’m not going back and forth with you.
But then Paris happened. I really screwed up in Paris, but some of the ways that the experience varied from the norm are so extreme that I wouldn’t have guessed how badly this could go.
I should have known better than to book an AirBnB with zero reviews. I did know better, but finding places in the neighborhood I wanted to stay in was difficult, and I just wanted to get the search and booking over with. I knew better, and I should have done better, but I saw the pretty pictures of the apartment and I forgot the cardinal rule of AirBnBing: Read all the Reviews - If there are no reviews, move on. So I’ll take the blame for about 25% of this foolishness, but the rest of it is so unfathomable that you’ll understand why it led me to thoughts of violence.
The following is a list of the most offensive variations from the normal AirBnb experience, and why my host should be tarred and feathered, or publicly shamed or something.
1. Her account was set up to auto accept the reservation, then had 30 questions for me. “Before I accept your request… tell me…” But Sis, you already auto-accepted my request so either decline or keep it moving. I’m not going through all of this.
Why is she so Extra?
There were follow up questions after this.
2. She messaged with questions/rules ten times between the time I made the reservation and the time I arrived at the apartment. None of these were initiated by me. I just want a place to stay lady, we don’t need to have all of these nothing conversations, like sending the apartment rules three times.
3. Two days before check in she messaged me three times in two hours, with the last message saying I hadn’t answered the questions in the first message. Mind you, I didn’t see any of these messages till hours later, and of course this was another red flag.
4. She left the key in a keybox over half a mile from the apartment. So with 80 lbs of luggage I had to make two stops. In the past months I have had apartment doors left unlocked for me, a key left at the grocery store across the street, and keys in lockboxes at the door. Some of them have been a little counter-intuitive, but this was the first one that involved me going 45 minutes out of my way while dragging luggage just to get inside the apartment.
5. I finally get to the front door of the building, and I can’t figure out how to get inside. None of the keys on the keychain open the door. There is a panel at the door that looked like it could allow access with a key-fob or a code, but I didn’t have either of those. Fortunately a woman was coming out of the building and let me in (although she stood in the lobby looking at me for a while - probably trying to make sure I was supposed to be there).
6. Now I’m inside the lobby trying to figure out which apartment these keys open, but I can’t because she did not put the complete address in AirBnB. THE APARTMENT NUMBER IS MISSING. The host is in another country, and with my janky Verizon service (they charge $10 per day/per country every time I use voice or data) I don’t want to call her unless this is an absolute emergency. I ask a stranger in the lobby if she knows where my host lives and she says she doesn’t but I should check the app. (Insert cranky eye roll - I already thought of that sweetheart).
7. I stare at the key chain for a long time hoping for some guidance from above and then I realized that one of the two keys on the chain is probably a mailbox key. I figure out what her apartment number is by using the mailbox key on her key chain to attempt to open every mailbox in the lobby and matching the one that opened against the name and apartment number on the listing in the lobby. The apartment number is written in some secret code I can’t figure out (see pic below) but I deduce that it is on the second floor (why do I have to deduce?)
8. So now I’m the suspicious black stranger who drafted into the lobby and is trying to open every mailbox. Thanks Host. Thanks a lot.
9. I make it up to the second floor, and there is absolutely no identification on any of the doors. They are just plain doors with no differentiation. So wait…what does that number on the apartment listing in the lobby mean? Can you feel me getting more frustrated? I was getting HOT!
10. There is a loud racket coming from one of the apartments on what I think is the second floor, so I knock on it and ask the construction workers inside if they know which apartment I am looking for (I show them a picture of the listing from the lobby - and they have no idea). NOW WHAT?
11. There are only three doors on the second (?) floor so I try my luck. I knock on the middle door, and when no one answers it, I tentatively stick the key in the lock and hope I won’t get shot in the face for breaking into someone’s apartment. Fortunately, the key turned, no one was inside, and I didn’t get shot in the face. This is what I considered a win on that day - not getting shot in the face.
12. After I get inside, and I get WiFi I realize that one of the many messages she sent me was a link to a third party app and that app had the apartment number. She also added a picture of the door, which looks like EVERY SINGLE DOOR in the building. Why not just put the whole address in AirBnB? Why make it significantly more difficult than a had to be?
The House Rules: An Extravaganza of Bullshit
13. “Clean sheets and towels will be available on the bed, thank you for NOT using the ones in the cupboards.” - Of course there were no towels on the bed, so I had to contact her. She told me to search her cupboards (which were packed to the gills with her clothes) for towels. When I couldn’t find any, she contacted her cleaning crew, who sent towels with a delivery company hours later.
14. “Take the garbages to the rubbish local down the building”. HUH? Sis, I’m paying a $56 cleaning fee on top of a $55 service fee for a 4 night stay. I’m not emptying the trash. Call your cleaning crew.
15. “Please do not leave open or expired food in the fridge when you leave.” Cool, I’m down with this rule. I like this rule, and I ALWAYS follow it - we’re good. And then I go to the kitchen. The first bad sign I see is that the counters are full of her foods. Olive oil, sugar, dry goods. Okay, I can deal with this, but then I open the fridge and freezer and they are FULLLLLLLL of her foods. Like, no room in her freezer for me to bring home gelato from my fave, (Amorino’s) which has a location two blocks away. Oh, my crankiness kicked up a notch at this point. And let’s talk about what she left in the fridge. This heffa (I’m mad just talking about it) left dairy products like half and half, in the fridge. WHO DOES THAT?? Half used mustards and other crustiness were in there as well.
Let me tell you. I once stayed at a place that had old dried meats in the fridge, and yet somehow, this fridge managed to be more offensive than that.
16. “Please limit noise as neighbors are very sensitive (and of course parties are forbidden).” Another good rule. A quiet building? I can respect that. Except…remember when I mentioned the construction workers? The apartment next door was being completely gutted and renovated. From the minute I got in, there was non-stop hammering, power-sawing, and drilling. Since there are only 3 apartments on each floor, I’m not sure who she thought I was going to disturb more than a whole ass construction site. And a good host would have given me a heads up about construction that had to be going on at least a week before I got there. She was the worst.
THE BATHROOM: THIS IS WHERE IT GETS BAD
Get ready y’all, there’s no way I make it through this section without cussing.
17. The bathroom cabinets, and shelves were packed tightly with her products so there was no room for mine. Annoying but not the worst thing ever. That soon come.
This is not how to welcome people into your home.
18. The shower caddy had not been cleared out. It had all of her usual personal care items scattered around, like she just stepped out of her shower and ran out of the place. I’ve stayed at friend’s places who made more of an effort to clean/organize for me than she did (and I’m paying to be here). The shower caddy had shampoo, conditioner, soap, and body scrub scattered about, but…but…it gets worse. She left her loofah and her USED RAZOR in the shower. What kind of nasty ass shit is this? I’m paying to shower here and I gotta avoid getting touched by her loofah and I gotta look directly at her hairs in a used razor. WHO RAISED YOU?!?!?!?!
19. But it gets worse: THIS MFer left a wet washrag in the shower. I’m gonna stop here, because there is nothing I can say that will thoroughly express my disgust. A wet (USED?) washrag y’all. WET . WASH . RAG.
This! This is where i lost my shit!!!
Paying to House Sit a Stranger’s Place
I’m pretty sure what happened here is that this is a new host that rents her apartment out when she leaves on trips fo some quick cash, and is guttersnipe with no home training. Overall, it felt like paying to house-sit someone else’s place. I’ve never been so disgusted by a home that was actually “clean” before.
I’m sucked it up, because I only had 4 days here, and I don’t want to waste time looking for a new place. I learned the neighborhood and enjoyed all the cute little things along the way. It was a great neighborhood and I’m glad I stayed in that location, but next time I’ll do better. I won’t put pretty pictures over substantive reviews.
To make matters worse, my next host cancelled on me the night before I was supposed to check in. Since then, I’ve been taking a break from other people’s homes and staying in my beloved Marriotts. They never have wet wash rags in the shower.