People Are Sharing Their Absolute Worst Experiences With Airbnbs

Kasia Mikolajczak
person looking out the window looking at view of the mountains
Unsplash | Karsten Winegeart

If you travel a lot, you must have stayed in all kinds of different places. Am I right? And one of them might've been an Airbnb. After all, they're super convenient and offer many at-home perks. But beware, there are also duds out there. Oh, yes, sir!

So when a Reddit thread asked, "What are your Airbnb horror stories??" people surely had a ton to say. Let's look at some of their terrifying answers.

The One That Started It All

colorful spider
Unsplash | Krzysztof Niewolny

"I've not seen a post like this while searching, and as I'm currently in an AirBnB straight out of my nightmares, I figured I'd make one! I'm currently solo traveling through Denmark and have been staying in different AirBnBs. Just yesterday, I arrived in one I'd booked near Copenhagen. All the others were great, very hyggelig. This one isn't great looking - which would be fine, it's cheap and I'm only here for sleeping. When I went to bed, there was a spider on the ceiling (bedroom is right below the roof, ceiling is very low so you can't stand upright). I thought 'one spider won't eat me' and went to sleep. Then, just as I was drifting off, I felt something crawling on me. Turned on the light, sure enough, a spider. I smacked it dead, turned on my back, and the whole ceiling was covered in spiders. Some tiny, some bigger, they were everywhere," the poster began.

"I'm really scared of spiders, so I don't know if someone who doesn't mind spiders would've reacted differently, but the thought of hundreds of spiders dropping from the ceiling and crawling over me was too much. Slept on the sofa downstairs, leaving for my next stop a day early to get away from the spiders."

Okay, this is the scariest encounter I've ever heard of at an Airbnb.

This Sad Find

Dwight Schrute from The Office looking sad
Giphy | The Office

"Arrived and entered the house by way of the provided code for the electronic door lock. We had stopped to pick up groceries and some needed refrigeration so we carried those in first. Which is when I discovered the fridge filled with food. Looked around and saw more food and personal items in the kitchen. Called out to no answer so we walked around a bit. Imagine if you left your home for the day for work and a stranger walked in. This is exactly how it all appeared," one poster began their comment.

"Hurried back to the car afraid we were going to get the cops called on us and called the company who reassured us and told us the house owner had said he was going to get things cleared up which apparently hadn't happened. This seemed like something the company should have checked, but they assured us it was fine to just push things aside."

"In the process of clearing things away into a large closet, we found half-used bottles of cancer medications and some paperwork which indicated the owner had been being treated for stage four cancer. Between these and other paperwork found in the house, we are fairly certain the owner died and his children had the body transported back to where his wife was buried in a northern state. We guessed they arranged to rent the place out without ever coming to clear his belongings."

Oh, that's sad and odd at the same time.

These Hosts From Hell

people having drinks
Unsplash | Michael Discenza

"My hosts were friendly in the beginning and kept offering me drinks throughout the entire day. it was fun til it escalated to her yelling at me about not having gone through any pain my entire life and how her life was filled with it and then led her to trying to throw punches at me whilst her husband was trying to hold her back which led to me leaving the Airbnb at midnight in a foreign country and finding a hotel for the night," one commenter wrote.

Holy, crap! That does not sound like fun.

This Scammer

man shaking his head
Giphy | ScooterMagruder

"Host lied and tried to get my friends and me to pay a $250 cleaning fee, even though we did everything he asked before we left. I declined the payment, reported him to Airbnb, and never contacted him after that. We rented his house for spring break (we're in college) and did not throw any parties or trash the place, cleaned it pretty well before we left. I have a feeling he pulls that [expletive] every time he rents to college students and just pockets the extra cash because most groups are probably afraid of getting in trouble."

Oh, that's pretty shady. Am I right?

This Interesting Place

man yelling on the phone
Unsplash | Icons8 Team

"My work wanted to go cheap so instead of putting me up somewhere in new york city, they got me an Airbnb in East Rutherford, NJ. It was some guy's art studio. The walls were paper thin, so I heard the host yelling at possible art dealers or whatever all night while trying to sleep on a cot that had one dirty pillow on it (also for some reason it had a single rose on it)," one commenter shared.

How did his workplace even find this place? I would definitely question that.

This Shocking Infestation

woman grabbing her face and screaming
Giphy | Originals

"We woke up in Hawaii to a maggot hatch covering the floor. I had been up twice before it was light enough to see it, so tracked it back into the bed. It looked like the floor was covered in rice, but the rice was moving. Thousands of little wiggling maggots coming out of the door jamb," shared one user.

I think I just threw up in my mouth.

This Vindictive Host

guy looking up and laughing
Unsplash | christian buehner

"Rented out a massive house. We didn’t break anything," shared one Reddit user. "We mistimed things such that we didn’t get to clean it to where it was when we arrived before we had to return the keys. $350 extra cleaning fee, understandable due to our mistake. $3000 in fallacious damages claims, now we are in [expletive] this guy mode. Disputed due to lack of proof and Airbnb sides with us. The guy could have rectified the situation with the already steep cleaning fee, but no, he had to be a vindictive POS so he got nothing."

Serves him right, no?

This Weird Behavior

food organized in the fridge
Unsplash | Ello

"The host was an avid flat earther who sat me down with his buddy to watch youtube videos about it while he condescendingly explained to me that outer space wasn't real.

Shower was so grimy and clogged it didn't drain so even showering for only two minutes left me standing in a 3-inch puddle of water and bathtub scum," shared one commenter.

"He told me I could store anything in his fridge if I wanted, so I put some leftovers in an opaque container in there. Another guest told me later that he complained to her that my leftovers had dairy in them (he was a frutitarian) which meant he had actually opened and gone through my leftovers. All the same host from my very first ever solo travel lmao."

Weird or what?

This Invasion Of Privacy

Lisa Todd Wexley from And Just Like That looking perplexed
Giphy | Harlem

"My host lied about having wifi and a king-sized bed. Then, I was woken up by her sneaking into the apartment in the middle of the night and snooping in my bag. I had to call the police... That was fun," one commenter wrote.

Um, what?

This Crappy Experience

view of the Eiffer Tower with the night's sky
Unsplash | Chris Karidis

"I was staying in an Airbnb apartment in Paris looking for a room to rent somewhere in the city.

The apartment wasn't very good; creaky floors, crappy bathroom, etc. What made it worse was the apartment next door was being renovated throughout the day from 7 AM to 6:30 PM. Nonstop drilling and hammering all day, every day. On top of that, the couple upstairs had a newborn baby, and the ceiling was paper thin so during the early hours of the morning I would hear this screaming child hour after hour," shared one Reddit user.

"So the worst part was after I'd returned to the Airbnb from interviewing for a room to rent that afternoon, I'd noticed that my clothing in my suitcase had been rifled through. Immediately I check my secret compartment where I'd kept my extra cash and of course, everything was gone! 300€ Stolen from my belongings."

"But here's the thing; my $2000 laptop was on the table right next to it as well as other expensive belongings and nothing else was touched in the apartment. I'd also made sure I locked the apartment every time I left and it was locked when I returned."

"I'm sure by now you've put it together that someone with a key let themselves in.

Immediately I call the host to discuss the problem and her response ranged from 'That's not possible' to 'Maybe you put the money somewhere else.' Naturally, I was furious but I restrained myself and didn't accuse. She said she'd come in the morning to inspect the apartment because I'd decided to rent the room I'd found in the city."

"All she did was look around, checked the lock on the door, and never said she was sorry or offered to refund my money for the stay. I left that place so angry I still think about it and clench my fists. At least the people I moved in with after weren't total [expletives]."


This Total Surprise

houseboat on the river
Unsplash | Alan Thomas

"Booked a houseboat in Belgrade. Looked amazing in the pictures, near the river clubs, etc.

When we got there we found it to be on a 30-degree slant since the river was lower and so was half beached. Also after waiting for several hours we found that the owner had lent it to their family instead that weekend and so wasn't even available. Hilarious now, back then was not impressed," one user wrote.


This Uncomfortable Encounter

woman saying "heeeeel no!"

"I originally booked a home in Las Vegas on an Airbnb with a young couple. I was corresponding with the wife. I was told there were two dogs, who would stay out of my private bedroom. The rest was shared space. That seemed easy enough. When I arrived, there was no female in the house just two men; the one man said his wife was away in the army. Finding it odd she never mentioned she would not be there was my first red flag. The wedding photo did not match the picture of the girl I was talking to via online; another red flag. There were four dogs instead of two, and the two men were particularly abusive towards one of the dogs (when inquiring they acted confused, said it was the wife's dog). It was growing into a very uncomfortable situation," shared a Reddit user.

"He told me I was welcome to use the kitchen at my free will, and handed me a key. Very friendly, but he would often make inappropriate comments to me and I would brush it off. I went to warm up some leftovers my first night and their sink was full of dirty dishes. Not one clean plate to eat my food on, not even silverware. I saved the food in the fridge, but in the three days I was there no one did dishes. I wasn't going to clean someone else's dishes to eat food."

"The final straw was the last night I was there. I was organizing, for my travel day the next day, and getting ready for bed. My door was closed. He knocked on my door, before I could respond he opened the door, shut it behind him, and sat on my bed. I was instantly uncomfortable, he continued with his inappropriate banter. He told me how lonely he was, and what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. How he doesn't know how much longer he should be faithful to his wife. I probably engaged longer in this conversation than I needed to ( I was an advocate for his 'wife'), but eventually, I lost my cool and started to yell at him to leave my room. He left promptly, and apologised (thank god). This was also my first Airbnb experience."

"Needless to say, I will be much more hesitant about shared space homes in the future. Won't scare me away from using the service in the future. Next time I go to Vegas, I'm staying on the strip though."

And this is why I don't do Airbnb, folks.

This Good Advice

mattreww on the bed
Unsplash | Ty Carlson

"In Denver, I arrived at a house," wrote one user. "The host showed me my room - it was an air mattress. No sheets, dirty clothes strewn across the bed. Dirty dishes, ashtray, dirty carpeting. Quite a gross place. 'Sorry I haven't been downstairs recently.' Took pics, left within 10 minutes and filed a complaint. ALWAYS make sure there are pictures of the sleeping area."

That is simply gross.

This Nightmarish Night

books and sunglasses sitting on top of luggage
Unsplash | Amy Shamblen

"It happened two days ago," shared one user. "After having had great experiences with Airbnb, I finally came across a bad egg. I had booked what was presented in the ad as a full apartment. Looked really nice from the photos. Booked it and all was well...for about a week. Then the red flags started showing. First thing was the owner did not give me any details as to how to get to the apartment despite the trip being two days away. When she finally answered my messages she was extremely vague and her answer to everything was it's alright. You'll get all the details once you get here."

"Once I got there I was welcomed by this woman who basically showed me to a damp, stinky and cold bedroom in which I could barely fit my luggage. It was clear by that point that I would not be getting the entire apartment. I thought that only for one night I could stick it out, as I was leaving early in the morning and I had errands to run during that day which would have me rather busy. Boy, was that a mistake."

"As I discovered the entire place smelled of cat pee, shower was littered with these people's stuff, I only received a small hand towel, the entire place was freezing cold and, as I had discovered, the bedroom I was in was facing a highway and was not isolated at all. I had tried everything. Putting the heater to the max (didn't work, that thing was as cold as ice) folding the thin blanket to get more heat, sleeping straight on the mattress and putting the pillow over my head to muffle the sounds....nothing. I spent the night awake from the atrocious constant car noise, struggling and freezing my butt off. Worst 60 euros ever spent. 10/10 would not recommend."

Holy, moly!

This Odd Request

Dan Levy from Schitt's Creek saying "OH my god."
Giphy | Schitt's Creek

"'Pls no anal sex on the bed' is the title of my worst Airbnb experience. There were these lovely notes from the host all around the property, about their life struggles and how they didn't want us to have anal sex or period sex on the bed. The wall to the bedroom (booked as a "private room") was paper thin and didn't go all the way up to the ceiling - and there were several bunk beds in the living room and another bedroom, and we all got to share 1 bathroom. The bedroom itself was a small space with two thin mattresses (smaller than normal single beds in size). The room was so small the door could only open when the mattresses were on top of each other. My partner at the time was unable to lie down fully stretched. The AC was so loud we had to choose between lack of sleep due to heat or due to noise.

It was in DC a couple of years ago. Since they had a rule of not leaving reviews (and thus also not getting reviews) they managed to stay on Airbnb for about half a year before they were removed," wrote one user.


This Lunatic Host

two eggs in a cartoon with faces drawn on them
Unsplash | Hello I'm Nik

"While searching for an apartment in a new country I stayed in an Airbnb until I found a place. Explained this to the host and she was cool with it. Then one day as I was out apartment hunting I got a phone call from her. She had been in my room and seen that I had used her address on one of the forms I was filling out which had asked for the address of the place I was currently staying. had thought nothing of it, had to fill out loads of forms when trying to get an apartment. she flipped that I used her address without her permission," shared a user.

"I got back and all my stuff was left out the front door. so I had to go to a hotel. so a week or two later I get a message from Airbnb saying rate your stay so I obviously give 1 star. She then sends a request for a huge amount of money for 'loss of earnings, psychological distress, abusive behavior, etc' and says if I don't pay she will pursue it in a court of law. Absolute lunatic."

That's crazy. Am I right?

This Buggy Encounter

close up of a bed bug
Pexels | Pexels

"Seconding the bedbugs at an Airbnb in New Orleans," one Reddit user wrote. "Wasn't sure that's what it was until we were on the airplane headed home and one fell off my jacket onto the book I was reading. Dry heaved and felt wretched for the rest of that flight and for a while after that, honestly."

This one killed me!!!

This Blatant Intrusion

woman looking at her laptop shocked
Pexels | Pexels

"We found 2 different hidden cameras with feeds going into the wall. 1 in the bedroom facing the bed/closet. 1 in the bathroom vent facing the mirror. I cut the cords and took the cameras with me as evidence and reported it to the police. They were unable/unwilling to do anything since it was his property, he had the right to record anything. They were unsure of the legal grey area and made an intimidating visit to him. We no longer use Airbnb and I always check for cameras in hotels now. The worst part was that they had a playground in the backyard and advertised it as 'kid-friendly.' I sometimes want to go back and burn it to the ground. I settled with notifying all of his neighbors of the cameras," shared one user.

That's unbelievable. How can this even be allowed?

OMG! Can you believe these stories?

woman saying "I'm outta here."
Giphy | Angie Tribeca

People look at me weirdly when I tell them I have never stayed at an Airbnb. There's an obvious reason for that, and stories like these prove my point perfectly. I can't get over how odd, weird, and even scary these stays were. I would have been so outta there. Does that turn you off from booking an Airbnb?