Should you use airbnb?

AirbnbI am occasionally very stupid. Especially when I’m tired.

I signed up to AirBnb with good intentions. I would join a travel community. I would welcome people. I would make money.

What went wrong for me is that I forgot about the top lock on my front door. You know, that lock that you never lock? That one.

My second mistake is that I forgot that my spare keys didn’t have a key to this top lock so when I handed over the keys in good faith, I totally forgot to tell the renters that a) don’t bother locking the top lock, and b) there’s no key for it.

Subsequently, I received a series of calls from the renters when I was in the middle of an important work event telling me that they’d locked themselves out. I spent the next hour on the phone (and $190 for a locksmith) sorting it out. Now, there was a ladder, the window was open and they could’ve easily gotten in but the third part of this sad story is that these people were a*sholes.

I concede that the first two mistakes were mine but it was the attitude of the people staying in my home – my tiny sanctuary – that really made the whole thing suck.

I’d made a huge effort to leave everything perfect; left a bottle of wine out, bought milk and bread, wrote a friendly note, but when it came to us behaving like humans – as per the AirBnb tagline of ‘travel like a human’ – my guests were completely obnoxious.

Now, we were both first timers. They’d never used the service and I’d never rented my place out so I imagine next time would be better.

However, I strongly recommend you only rent out your spare room (not your own bedroom), double check the keys before you leave, leave a list of house rules including who is expected to pay for locksmiths and you make sure a friend who is in town has a full set of spare keys.

Have you used AirBnb? What did you think?




4 comments on “Should you use airbnb?

  1. So sorry to hear that you got ‘burned’ in this way. Think you have probably done the ‘correct’ self-diagnosis and it will be smooth sailing from here. Have had nothing but good experiences with AirBNB; must admit though that a guidebook, house rules, ‘key state’ etc have been well spelled out most places I’ve stayed.
    Add to that observations about power use, what parts of the house are off-limits, what else is nearby, and who, and hours when etc etc.
    Sort of all the things that can go wrong

    Please don’t be discouraged – there is an opportunioty to meet some great people.

    best / G

    (And I feel partly responsible following Hobart conversations)

  2. Hey G,

    No, not all. I had a great experience as a renter in Hobart! It was being the rentee that didn’t go so well. A comedy of errors caused by my own haste/inexperience. I don’t blame Airbnb because I screwed up. I just want to help other people avoid the hassle and misery I went through!


  3. Oh, this makes me laugh because it reminds me of staying with an airbnb family in Portland, Oregon who didn’t provide keys to the house at all. Why? Because they leave the front door unlocked all day and night….but don’t worry because the “homeless people who hang out across the road keep an eye out on the place for us”. Ahhh……. Portland thanks for the memories.

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