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A Host’s View: My Worst Airbnb Horror Stories

airbnb horror stories
Airbnb horror stories. Photo: Kevin Fernandez / Unsplash; Edited: Jessie on a Journey.

I’ve written before about how Airbnb has been a lifesaver to me in more ways than one.

Not only does it help me afford to live in NYC, but before Airbnb-ing my spare room I had a very angry, heroin-addicted roommate who would have extreme outbursts of cursing at me and even threatening to kill me.

While I am about to tell you my personal Airbnb horror stories, not even my most unruly guest can compare to that experience.

The majority of my Airbnb guests are amazing. In fact, many go from being short-term tenants to friends I still keep in touch with. Yes, many of these guests are strangers who have shown kindness, but not all.

Here I’ll tell you about some of my worst Airbnb guests, including:

bouquet of colorful roses
Photo via David Bartus / Pexels

1. The Angry Casanova

This is one of my more wild travel stories when it comes to being an Airbnb host:

I often get asked if, as a woman living alone, I feel unsafe inviting males to stay in my Airbnb. For the most part, I don’t, as the majority of my guests — both male and female — have been extremely respectful.

Most, but not all — which gets me to my horror travel story as an Airbnb host.

Rich* was a 35-year-old from a small mining town in Australia. He loved to go out, was a world traveler with a fierce curiosity and was covered in tattoos. We hit it off great, and I was excited he’d be with me for a month.

At least at first. This quickly ended as by Day 3 our fast friendship had turned to love, at least in his eyes, seemingly overnight.

I had a date one night and was checking my makeup in the living room mirror, when suddenly Rich blurted, “You know, I don’t appreciate you flaunting the fact you’re seeing other guys in my face.”

I was perplexed. Other guys as in… other than him? WTF?

This was soon followed by, “So, how many of your Airbnb guests have you slept with?”

None! Double WTF.

I told him this was all extremely inappropriate, and things seemed okay once again.

As a peace offering, I invited him out for drinks with myself and a group of friends. It was a disaster, but at least it was verified by every single person there that this guy needed to go.

Along with making countless gross sexual comments and advances on me — and having my guy friends give him a stern talking to — he texted me at 3am to curse me out and tell me how he couldn’t believe after “all he’d done for me” I’d “treated him like sh*t” and to “f*ck myself.”

Either I had amnesia and had totally forgotten we’d had some kind of long term tumultuous relationship or this guy was out of his mind. I was pretty sure it was the latter, and he became the first and only Airbnb guest to date that I had to ask to leave.

2. The D*ck Pic-er

I had one German Airbnb guest who I adored. He brought me chocolates and wine from his home, was respectful of the apartment, and was a genuinely friendly, likable guy.

I was sad to see him go; that is, until he was gone…and I started getting a slew of d*ck pictures and drunk sexual ramblings to my Facebook inbox.

And the messages were extremely weird. They’d start out with something innocent like “Merry Christmas!” or “Hope all is well! then BAM!, penis photo.

Awkward. And now blocked.

airbnb horror stories
Chinese takeout containers. Photo: Steven Depolo/flickr.

3. The Barn Dweller

Talk about funny crazy stories!

One of my guests — I’ll call him *Steve — was a sweet guy from Toronto. He was polite and pleasant to talk to, but oh my, had no idea what a garbage can was.

I’m not the type to freak if there’s a dish left in the sink or someone leaves their jacket on the couch, but living in Brooklyn means anything food-related left out can lead to bugs and rodents pretty quickly.

“Hey, can you make sure to throw away food or put it in the fridge when done?” I reminded Steve for the umpteenth time after seeing old Chinese containers and pizza boxes on the counter.

Steve didn’t cook or leave the apartment; instead, he slept for 15 hours a day then stayed up all night playing video games and ordering takeout and drinking Sprite. The containers and cans from these would all get thrown on the floor — yes, actually tossed onto my hardwood floors instead of in the trash — or left out.

I’ve been to Toronto and was pretty sure they had garbage cans there.

And that people knew how to use them. Needless to say, I was pretty excited for the sake of my apartment’s roach-free record when he left.

airbnb horror stories
Toothbrush. Photo: William Warby/flickr.

4. The Morning Lover

Keep in mind, the room I rent out in Brooklyn is cozy but small (which is also why it’s so budget-friendly). It’s definitely a comfortable place to chill and rest your head, but I wouldn’t recommend bringing anyone back for sexy time on the pull out bed.

I especially wouldn’t recommend this because, you know, it’s my apartment and I live and work here.

I recently had a guest from Spain who we’ll call Francisco* who didn’t quite grasp this concept. Politely, he asked if he was allowed to have people stay the night. I said no, as I wasn’t comfortable having strangers coming in and out of my home — at least not strangers coming and going without Airbnb as the middleman.

Two mornings later I woke up at 6am to get ready to lead an early-morning photo tour of NYC, when I saw my guest sitting on the couch. What was strange about this was there was also someone in the bathroom brushing their teeth. At 6am.

“Umm…who is in my bathroom?” I asked, genuinely confused.

Francisco looked flustered. “She’s a friend from work! We’re having breakfast then heading to the office.”

“And she brought her toothbrush?” I asked, Francisco’s lady friend coming out of the bathroom that minute. She was very sweet, and under other circumstances I’m sure we would have been friends, but at that moment I felt completely disrespected.

I didn’t say anything at first, trying to give Francisco the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they really were just eating then going to the office. Except that when I went into my bedroom I heard them also go into his, and start hooking up. I soon after noticed a broken picture frame and a broken glass in the living room, making me wonder just what these crazy kids had gotten up to the night before. Again, in my apartment where my room is adjoining.

I had a talk later that day with Francisco to let him know that what he did wasn’t cool. He still continued to deny it, though luckily it didn’t happen again. Let’s just say, though, I felt a lot more at ease with who was coming in and out of my personal space once he was gone.

Do you have any Airbnb horror stories to share?

Bonus Short Travel Stories:

17 True Short Adventure Travel Stories To Inspire Your Next Trip

25 Crazy Travel Stories You Need To Read To Believe

23 Inspiring Travel Stories Sharing The Kindness Of Strangers

16 Short Funny Travel Stories That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud

38 Inspiring Travel Love Stories From The Road

Sexual Assault Stories From The Road (& What I’ve Learned)

8 Crazy NYC Subway Stories That Will Make You Hail A Cab

21 Travel Horror Stories Sharing Scary Travel Experiences

20 Embarrassing Travel Stories That Will Make You Laugh & Blush

18 Scary Travel Stories From Haunted Hotels To Creepy Cabins

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Hi, I’m Jessie on a journey!

I'm a conscious solo traveler on a mission to take you beyond the guidebook to inspire you to live your best life through travel. Come join me!

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  1. Dave Chang on at 1:47 am

    “Double WTF.” LMAO, but glad you haven’t had too many serious problem guests. You have a very entertaining writing style.

    • Jessie Festa on at 6:59 am

      @Dave: Right?!?! Overall I love Airbnb and agree, could be a lot worse 🙂

  2. Zachary Stafford on at 5:43 am

    That is just nuts. I mean that especially about the d*ck p*c entry. That’s insane. We have our own horror story too – on how we were banned after the homeowner charged us with breaking and entering the house (we had a key). Tried to charge us a ton of money to fix it and when we told him no way, Airbnb banned us. That was at the start of our full time travel 4 years ago and we had planned on using the site for much of our travels. So I really only have one nightmare to share!

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