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?