Airbnbs – from nightmarish to wonderful

Mar 17, 2024
Source: Getty Images.

Airbnbs became a ‘thing’ a few years ago, and I’d say most of us have had either a brief skirmish or a memorable holiday in one. Although most experiences probably lie in between this description.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a few brief stints away from home where an Air Bnb has been the cheapest and most enticing option. Firstly the good. The ones where they leave a bottle of wine, or Panadol in the bathroom cupboard along with mozzie spray. There is a basket of goodies like crackers, Tim Tams and more. Even a selection of breakfast cereals and oh yes, most importantly, a coffee machine with pods and milk. Fortunately, these have usually been my experience. Nice touches like notes as to where the best cafes are locally, a bus timetable, and some recent classy magazines add a luxury touch.

Add to that fluffy towels and crisp clean sheets with a lamp in the bedroom and I am easily sold. But oh dear, the ones that fall short are unforgettable. Take the apartment in the middle of Brisbane which my sister and I had trouble entering. The key that was supposed to be given to us by arrangement by the cleaner was to be found in a scrunched-up McDonald’s bag hidden in the bushes in the front of the block.

Inside we were greeted with used beds, mine even had pubic hair (yuk), fridge and cupboards filled with someone else’s food and so much more. On finally contacting the owner in another city he offered to come and clean which he did the next day. But in the meantime, we had to wash the only sheets there and dry in the clothes dryer which smelt like it was about to burst into flame. I crawled under the sink to connect the dishwasher so we could eat off clean plates. So, I shivered under thin nylon sheets and got a sore neck from a flat pillow. And no, we could not find nor afford other accommodation.

Oh, and the time my girlfriend and I went to a conference in a nearby town and thought we had bagged a bargain. It was a heat wave. No air con. Even the swimming pool was hot. Always read the small print. I didn’t realise the owner was still there, and in the middle of the night as I went to the loo I was confronted by a nearly naked man coming out of his room. I did laugh later. The windows were sealed shut. The ceiling fans wheezed and shuddered and pushed the hot air around. The sheets were bobbly and nylon. The following morning we packed and never returned but drove home in the middle of the night.

I realise people just want to make a few extra dollars, good on them. But a weary traveller just wants a clean comfy bed, air con, and a few home comforts to make the stay memorable for all of the right reasons.

What are your best and worst memories of visiting an Air BnB?

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