One of the best things about traveling is being able to try out new things. In this story, it was Air BnB.
If you haven’t heard of it, Air BnB is a company that helps people to rent out their houses to others who are traveling. Basically, you get the comfort of a home while you’re in a new place. You can choose your price range and exactly where you want to stay in a city, because there’s so many options! It’s such a cool idea and if I lived in a fun place, I would totally be doing it.
However…I happen to have a horror story to tell about a time I booked with them. Well, If you noticed in the title, this is only the first of two (bad) stories that happened. (The second one will be up sometime in the near future.)
Don’t get me wrong during this post, I still love the company and would book with them again. I have a ton of friends who’ve had amazing experiences with the company and can attest to how fun the experience is. However, sometimes things don’t go as planned and you wind up staying in a hostel for the first time with a great story to tell on your blog when you get back home.
This time in particular, some of my friends and I went on a weekend trip to Seville, Spain (we were staying in Santander, Spain for study abroad) and chose to book an Air BnB. We booked with a guy (let’s call him Alejandro) right outside of the center of the city.
Quickly, we realized this part of town took farther to walk to than we thought and was a little sketchy. Already, you could just tell something was off.
We arrive to the apartment complex and call Alejandro. He answers, but is super hard to understand because his Spanish is a different dialect than what we know. After no less than ten minutes, we finally get to an agreement that he will come out to greet us and let us in. I’m not sure why that took so long to figure out, even if we couldn’t really understand each other.
When we see Alejandro, he looks like he’s just woken up for the day (even though it’s early afternoon) and almost like he’s on some drugs. Which, looking back, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was.
As we walk into his apartment, which seems very nice from the outside, I kind of stood there in shock. It was dirty. Very dirty. The kitchen had dirty dishes piled everywhere and gross food still on the plates. One of the bathrooms didn’t have a ceiling. One person, I believe, was going to have to sleep alone in a separate room.
The kicker was that although no one was supposed to be there while we were, Alejandro was living there with his friend. This other man had the same drugged-out look to him, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d just gotten done taking something.
Looking at the bedroom I would sleep in, the windows in our rooms had bars on them, and there were flies everywhere around the place. It almost felt like we were locked in there once we went inside.
My friends and I all set down our bags, locked our bedroom doors, grabbed our valuables and headed out to try and make the best of it. Soon after leaving, we all said what everyone was thinking: that place is creepy and we needed to leave. We all were trying to figure out who would be the brave one and say “we can’t stay here, this place is dirty” to Alejandro because who knew how he would react.
We found a hostel in the middle of the city with the rest of our group and booked two nights, taking care of one problem.
When we returned for our belongings, it was like we were on a mission. We could hear the two guys in another room talking and thought they would know we were leaving. We quickly grabbed our things, left his keys on a table, and ran. We never looked back, never heard from those guys again and never wanted to.
My advice to you all is to go with your gut. Although nothing bad actually happened, the place seemed completely off and should have been a lot more taken care of than it was. There also should not have been two creepy people staying with us, when his Air BnB page said it would be just us. It was off, and we got out.
It’s an odd situation when someone opens their home to you, and there has to be a level of trust there. If someone isn’t following that code, leave. No one is making you stay.
Plus, we were refunded all of our money!
We also learned how great hostels are and how much fun they can be for twenty-somethings. (Blog post about hostels soon!?)
Have you ever had an interesting (bad or good) experience with Air BnB? Comment below and tell your story,