18 Airbnb Horror Stories That Have Us Booking Hotel Rooms Instead

Kasia Mikolajczak
person on a laptop looking at Airbnb listings
Pexels | Pexels

Here's the truth: I've never stayed at an Airbnb. Why? I guess it's because I was always weary of booking a stranger's place. I'm more used to checking into hotels.

And now it seems that more people are experiencing troubles while staying at an Airbnb. The following are just a few horror stories that people shared online, and they're enough to keep me away, that's for sure. Check them out.

This Uninvited Intruder

police car on the street
Unsplash | Matt Popovich

"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."

OMG, what? Do you see what I mean about Airbnbs?

This Interesting Host

toilet paper against a blue background
Unsplash | Claire Mueller

"I booked an Airbnb room in a house close to transit. My partner and I were visiting the town for two days and then boarding a cruise ship. I arrived in a sketchy neighborhood, and the front door was unlocked. The owner said he never locks the door because he has a black belt in karate and never sleeps. The house reeked of tobacco and cheap weed. We went upstairs to our room and it had no lock. Windows? Never heard of them. No windows, no curtains."

"The bed had a quilt and nothing else but two pancake-style pillows. The bathroom actually had a locking knob but was covered in mold and had no toilet paper. I asked the owner for some help, and he said that I should have brought toilet paper. I had a meltdown and called Airbnb. They refunded the cost, and I guess 'black belt no sleep' is still out there. I now videotape every place I stay in and check in advance for locks and toilet paper."


This Shady Host

woman saying "That's not right."
Giphy | mintmobile

"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."

That's just not right.

This Weird Experience

man with his hands up looking shocked
Unsplash | Afif Kusuma

"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)."

Weird or what?

This New York City Experience

view of New York City
Unsplash | ben o'bro

"I booked an Airbnb in New York City and was looking for the bathroom. I found it — it was part of the hallway — and noticed there was no shower. I went looking for the shower and it was in the kitchen, with a full spice rack inside. The icing on the cake was one room that we were told not to enter, but we kept seeing some kind of movement from the curtain. Whether it was a fan or a person, we didn’t stay to find out. We ran out within 20 minutes."

I would have done the same thing.

These Odd Issues

three women looking surprised
Giphy | Good Girls

"Funnily enough, I had the same issues all three times. Now, granted, I have never booked one myself but tagged along with people for weddings and birthdays and paid our portion. All of them had a binder with lists and lists of nothing but rules. One actually stated no cooking in the kitchen after 6 p.m. — you know, normal dinnertime for the average person. One had a hot tub that we couldn't use at all, even though it was advertised on the initial site. Two of them had you clean extensively but paid a cleaning fee. One also changed the code every 12 hours and would be late texting it out. Awesome."

That does not sound like fun at all.

This Bad New Orleans Trip

street view in New Orleans
Pexels | Pexels

"Staying in New Orleans in July with no A/C probably tops my list. There were roaches everywhere as well. The worst thing we found was some super faulty wiring. One day it rained and water was leaking out of the electrical socket. Staying at this place totally ruined New Orleans for me."

Aww, that sucks.

This Night Terror

woman screaming
Unsplash | Noah Buscher

"Was woken up at 3 a.m. to loud bangs & screaming. Someone yelled that the host was 'on speed and assaulting them, and to please call the police'. Police came and settled the dispute. We never left our room because of how scared we were. The next day we canceled our stay & checked in to a hotel, only to have to host message us & ask if we left because the shower was broken.....? Uh no, lady the whole being woken up to a drug binge/assault thing would be it...lol."

Holy moly!

This Friendly Host

woman holding a wine bottle making weird face
Unsplash | Andrey Zvyagintsev

"Only time I used Airbnb: New York East Harlem for 5 nights. The host slept on the couch while I was sleeping in her room. She would get drunk every night — would undress and show me her bare chest and overall was just a lot to take in. I felt like I needed to end this on a positive note, so we went for drinks on the last evening. She expected me to pay for everything including the cab ride back (I paid half). I discovered I am not cool with sleeping in some random person's personal space."

Ha, ha, no thanks.

This Bad Experience

Steve Carrell saying "Oh, wow!"
Giphy | The Office

"Was halfway across the country, it's the beginning of July in San Diego and it's a blistering hot summer. Arrive at the Airbnb after landing — the room I was staying in was in the middle of construction, with drywall, plaster, and dust all over. The host lied about there being A/C and didn't offer an alternative like a fan AND told Airbnb I stole from him. Had to contact Airbnb with photos and was then left ultimately stranded without a place to stay on vacation (Airbnb did not offer to pay for a hotel) and a review on my account that I was a horrible tenant because I had high standards and should've just booked a hotel. Like, dude, what?!"

The nerve of some people, huh?

This Sweaty Experience

air conditioner in a room
Unsplash | Carlos Lindner

"I got an Airbnb that was listed as close to transportation. Translation, directly under the flight path for an international airport. There was no A/C and the 'queen' mattress creaked and had a dip in the middle, so my boyfriend and I ended up smashed together in the hot June night. By 5 a.m. the flights started up and we had to close the window because of the noise. I think I got 3 hours of sleep. I called Airbnb in tears and was able to get my money refunded. We ended up going to a hotel."

What a night, right?

This Bed Bug Issue

woman hiding under the covers
Unsplash | Alexandra Gorn

"Adorable beach cottage in a rural island town. Went to check the mattress and it was covered with hundreds of brown pin-sized stains — bedbugs. Owner SWORE it was age stains. Uh, no.

No hotels anywhere nearby and a torrential storm outside. Slept on towels with my bags in the car. Got away unscathed."

Oh, heck no!

This 'Fun' Experience

bugs on the ground
Pexels | Pexels

"We had to drive up a steep gravel switchback driveway, up to the top of a mountain. Once inside, there were bugs everywhere. In the beds, the bathroom. It was nasty. Me and my friends all slept in the living room on the floor, because that had the least amount of living or dead bugs. Also the house had this creepy until dawn vibe that just made sleeping there so much fun."

Yup, sounds like fun, lol.

This Ominous Feeling

woman waking up from a nightmare
Giphy | SYFY

"A few years ago, I stayed at an Airbnb the night before my best friend’s wedding. The stay was a gift from one of her family friends who owned it. During the night, I had the worst nightmare that all of us (bride and bridesmaids) were stuck in the Airbnb while a strange man terrorized us and burned the house down with all of us inside. When I woke up, I was terrified and couldn’t shake the feeling that there was negative energy in the house. I didn’t sleep the rest of the night. The next morning, one of the other bridesmaids mentioned that she had a nightmare that we were all murdered in the house, and also felt this crazy, scary energy in the house that kept her up the rest of the night. I’m a pretty skeptical person, but I haven’t been able to stay at an Airbnb since."

Wow, I think I would never do an Airbnb after that either.

This Real Urban Legend Incident

chained and locked front door
Unsplash | Sheldon Kennedy

"Not me, but a friend returned to her AirBnB after dinner to find all the locks had been changed. She finally got someone inside to open the door. It turned out that the actual owner of the apartment wasn't the one who put it on Airbnb. The maid had put it on while the owner was away. The owner returned home unexpectedly early. I know this sounds like some kind of an urban legend, but it actually happened to her."

You see, it does happen after all.

This Creepy Behaviour

Kelsey from Younger looking shocked and saying "What?"
Giphy | YoungerTV

"I got one of the many listings where the picture/contact was female but the actual host turned out to be male. Had a suspicion he'd been in my room while I was away, not that bothered though, no valuables missing. The next morning before 8 a.m. he just opened the door and walked in (I mean, he kind of knocked as he was opening it), said good morning as he was walking straight to my bag, where he opened the side pocket and pulled my underwear out, to ask if they were mine. I mean, he knew EXACTLY where to look for them."

"I kind of blinked at him and said yes, because I was staying there alone and only tend to carry my own underwear with me, and he said something about 'I thought the cat might have put them in your room by mistake' (wtf?). Then he said that they were very nice, and put them back in the bag."

"I didn't know what to do or say about that. I just laid down and pretended to go back to sleep. Couldn't think of how to mention it in a review beyond 'very friendly host. Like, very very friendly, indeed.'"

Okay, I would have been outta there and fast.

This Unsettling Experience

camera lens
Unsplash | Bernard Hermant

"We found two different hidden cameras with feeds going into the wall. One in the bedroom facing the bed/closet. One 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."

That's why I don't do Airbnb.

This Poop Incident

Derek Hough looking shocked
Giphy | NBC World Of Dance

"I rented a room in a house. On the last night that we were there, one of the other guests had a 'new friend' over. They both seemed nice enough. I got up the next morning to take our bags out to the car, and as I was walking down the steps, I noticed something on the carpet. It was a pair of women's underwear and a PILE OF POOP. I was speechless. Once we left, stepping carefully around the poop, we messaged the host to tell him, as we were definitely not going to be blamed for this. He asked if someone had a dog with them. Logical question, but nope, I had to tell him that it was human poop. It was the most awkward text exchange ever."

Um, WTF?

Okay, now do you get why I haven't used an Airbnb?

cute apartment living room
Pexels | Pexels

I know it isn't all that different from booking a cottage or something like that, but still, one can be never too careful. Am I right? After I read so many horror stories, I'm glad I never took the plunge. I think I rather spend more than risk getting into something like these stories. No, thank you. What was your worst Airbnb experience?