My First and Worst Airbnb Experience


The Worst Airbnb Experience

Ever since I began to work at the hospital, I realized that life is just way too short to not do amazing things while you can. So, I decided that I would make an effort to start traveling as much as I could, and as often as my pockets would let me, being a student and all.

So one of the more affordable ways to save money while traveling is to bypass staying at a hotel all together and to use Airbnb. Airbnb has been around for a while now, depending on your pockets, you can either rent a room per night at someone’s home or you can rent the entire house. For our New York trip, my roommate and I decided to use Airbnb as a way to cut cost. I had made the arrangements a month prior, spoken to the host via the Airbnb app and all was set and ready to go.

Now, most Airbnb hosts don’t have a check-in time until 11:00 in the morning, but because our flight was scheduled to land 3 hours before that, our hosts told us to come by and drop our bags off, and start exploring the city, while he got the room ready. The night before we left I wrote him and reminded him that we were landing at 8:00 and we should be at the house around 9:00 or so, barring any mishaps – there was no response. Now, I didn’t think anything of this, as I had already paid for two nights, and this is a business, I had paid, and we would be greeted by our host by the time we got there.

I kept checking my phone that morning, and nothing from the host. We landed, took an Uber to his home, and arrived there around 8:30, since we had landed ahead of time. We called –  no response. We texted – no response. Between the two of us we called him over 30 times – no response. We knocked on the door – nothing. We rang the doorbell – nothing. We asked the neighbor if he has moved, and he informed us that he was still living there.

Now it is 9:15. The sun is beaming out of the sky, we are dripping with sweat. We have between us two carry-on luggage and two backpacks. We finally called the Airbnb customer service, who told us that they were going to contact him and see what was going on. At this point I testily told him that if the guy was not answering our calls, what made him think he was going to have any luck?!

The Airbnb representative then told us that he could not cancel our reservation as requested for another two hours. At which point I must admit, I lost my temper. While I wasn’t outright rude to him, I did tell him that there was no way that we were going to be staying here, and we needed to find another location or immediately refund my money. He asked for an hour. I told him he has exactly that and I would be on the phone with him again within 60 minutes.

We tried calling and ringing the doorbell again for another 15 minutes and then left to go get breakfast and to kill 60 minutes until Airbnb contacted us again. We promptly called back after 58 minutes of waiting and he did then agree to cancel our reservation and give us 10% credit towards our next location. We did eventually find another hosts. She was absolutely great and we enjoyed our stay with her, but we lost 7 hours of our time dealing with this mess.

Now, I think the reason I was so ticked off was because, we had paid for our stay 4 weeks in advanced, I had communicated with this person, and all was supposed to be ready on his end. There is no reason why this should have happened if you are running a business!! As if this wasn’t bad enough, he then sent a text message at 11:50 asking us if we were still around and if we wanted the room. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? (I am getting annoyed all over again just writing this post). If you are running a business out of your home, shouldn’t you have a calendar with a listing and reminder of the people that will be coming in and out of your home? Have a key in a lock-box if you are not going to be there to receive us? Give a neighbor the key so that they can let your paying guests in? A back-up plan? Something? Anything?

After frantically trying to find a new host in our price range, we found out that quite a few people have had bad experiences with hosts in NYC. Our host, Katie, was really awesome and we would definitely stay with her again. But as this was my first Airbnb experience. I was extremely disappointed to have had to deal with this.

I am really hoping that this is just one instance that we just happened to book with a crappy person. As I have all intentions of traveling as much as I can and will hopefully have better experiences with future hosts.

Have you ever had a bad Airbnb experience? What happened and how did you deal with it?



  1. September 6, 2016 / 10:16 am

    I would have been absolutely fuming! I can’t stand when businesses try to get away with blatantly not providing services that have been paid for. So glad you ended up finding a different place that worked out well – even if you did lose those 7 hours! Hope the rest of the trip went smoothly!

    • September 7, 2016 / 4:07 pm

      Exactly Olivi!!!! I was so angry that day. It did turn out to be a good afternoon, but we lost 7 hours!!

  2. September 6, 2016 / 11:15 am

    Wow what an awful exp! I have never stayed at an air b n b and a little leary for these reasons..thanks for sharing your story!

    Fashion and travel

  3. September 6, 2016 / 11:26 am

    Yikes. That sounds like a terrible experience. Here’s hoping that you have great week 🙂

    • September 7, 2016 / 3:58 pm

      Thank you. Katie.

  4. September 6, 2016 / 1:21 pm

    I’ve only recently heard of Airbnbs. What a horrible way to start off your trip! But im glad it all worked out!

    • September 7, 2016 / 3:57 pm

      Stacy, They are an awesome way to travel. I’ll definitely do it again.

  5. September 6, 2016 / 2:47 pm

    I’m still super hesitant to use airbnb. I think it is a great idea but I would rather just pay for a hotel room at this point. It took me so long to start using Uber haha!

    • September 7, 2016 / 3:48 pm

      Asheley, I am too. It took me two years to start using this app. So, I know I can relate.

  6. September 6, 2016 / 3:07 pm

    How terrible! What a flake! Glad you got reimbursed and a discount on your next stay.

  7. September 6, 2016 / 3:21 pm

    I am too nervous to use Airbnb. I just don’t like the thought of staying with a stranger.

    • September 6, 2016 / 11:49 pm

      I love it, because it’s cheap, and am in school, and it’s a great way to cut cost, especially in a foreign country, but… then you meet a host like this one :/

  8. September 6, 2016 / 3:56 pm

    Yikes! Hopefully it will be one of those things you can laugh about in a few years! I am so glad you found another host that was willing to have you, so that you could enjoy your vacay! Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • September 6, 2016 / 11:47 pm

      Leah, not in the near future, although it happened three weeks ago. :). But, I did have a great time in NYC.

  9. September 6, 2016 / 4:25 pm

    Oh no, that’s awful! I have only used Air BnB once and it was an awesome experience, but I read reviews like crazy before finally choosing someone to go with. So sorry this happened to you! What a way to start a trip 🙁

    • September 6, 2016 / 11:41 pm

      Chelsea, I am just like you. He had 62 great reviews, so I just couldn’t understand why on this day it all went down the tube.

  10. September 6, 2016 / 5:49 pm

    this post makes me feel crazy! I am with you, I would have been so frustrated!! First, so so rude on his part besides the fact that he is running a business! I’m glad AirBnB was able to help you out and that it ended up being okay. But man, that is such a bummer!

    • September 6, 2016 / 11:40 pm

      Kristen, oh, I was beyond frustrated with the whole situation, especially after paying. But, they do have great customer service, I must commend them on that.

  11. Lynn
    September 6, 2016 / 7:01 pm

    That was one crazy experience! Sorry to hear about your bad experience with that rude host (first host). My boyfriend just just booked a room for me from AirBnB for my trip tomorrow and i’m kinda scared while reading your post. It would be my first time though. Lol i hope i won’t be experiencing the same thing

    • September 6, 2016 / 11:38 pm

      Lynn, not all Airbnb hosts are like this one. I stayed with someone in San Fran, and she was AMAZING. She makes me want to open up my spare room to Airbnb guests. Let me know how it goes with this host.

      • Lynn
        September 6, 2016 / 11:52 pm

        Oh yes.. that is so true., well.. i’ve read a lot of nice reviews from other clients.. i guess i’m in good hands…lol i’ll find out tomorrow..

  12. September 6, 2016 / 8:34 pm

    I’ve never stayed at an Airbnb. I’m sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. Hopefully you left a “review” at this place to warn others not to stay there!

    • September 6, 2016 / 11:32 pm

      KP, I actually didn’t and I regret it now. All his other reviews were so great, that I didn’t think that he could possibly be deleting the unfavorable ones.

  13. September 6, 2016 / 8:59 pm

    So sorry that happened to you. I have no patience for that sort of thing. I am really patient in general but when someone commits to a timeline and breaks it, bam! I’m done. Losing time on a trip is the worst. Your time is everything in that situation. Glad you found a plan B and it was good!

    • September 6, 2016 / 11:31 pm

      Amy, exactly!!!! Especially if I have paid for said time….

  14. September 7, 2016 / 4:10 am

    Hi there,
    I am so sad to hear that you had such a crappy experience with Airbnb. I always use it when I travel and I have never had anything like that happening to me. Losing time on a trip is the worst though 🙁
    Do you think you’ll give it another try?

    • September 7, 2016 / 3:46 pm

      Juliet, I have. Twice. But, it’s the losing time part that I had an issue with that day.

  15. September 7, 2016 / 10:06 am

    Sorry to know you had such a bad experience. I had my first Airbnb experience a few months ago and it was great. I’m sure it will be great the next time :))

    • September 7, 2016 / 3:40 pm

      Rosalyn, my other Airbnb places were great, this was just so random!

  16. September 7, 2016 / 11:53 am

    I’ve looked into AirBnB before since so many people seem to be using it. I’ve always been a bit weirded out by the idea.

    • September 7, 2016 / 3:34 pm

      Kari, it’s perfect for traveling on a budget, and when I am at someone’s home, I am gone all day!

  17. September 7, 2016 / 8:48 pm

    Yeah that makes me super nervous. I’m sorry you had that experience I know how stressful stuff like that can be when you’re away from home, have been flying and just want to put down your luggage. If you do it again I hope it goes better.

  18. September 10, 2016 / 5:19 pm

    So, recently in Dallas (not even abroad), I had a really cool Airbnb host but I got attacked by bed bugs. I had thought it was my heat rash flaring up the first night but the second night I discovered them and was freaking out. Whew. I know you take your chances with hotels / hostels / Airbnb’s but it definitely can leave a bad taste in your mouth.

  19. December 1, 2016 / 6:11 pm

    Kat, that’s awful! I had a bad experience for my first Airbnb stay too (which I wrote about on my blog), but not like this. This is a whole ‘nother level of awful!

    • December 4, 2016 / 6:31 pm

      Kayla, heading to your blog now to read it. I was livid that day!!!

  20. December 5, 2016 / 1:12 pm

    Yikes!!! That’s unfortunate. I’ve yet to have a bad experience with Airbnb hosts. I’ve only used it abroad though. I was very skeptical at first but now, it is a great option. The only problem is some folks charge a little too much for a private room but hey, people want to make money. No harm in that as long as you treat your customers right.

    • December 5, 2016 / 10:14 pm

      I’ve had nothing but good experiences since, but I am weary when it comes on to booking now. I do love it.

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