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Preparing for the unexpected with Air BnB

The biggest difference between a hotel and an Air Bnb simple: when one books the former, one knows to expect, but when one books the latter, one doesn't know what's coming ones way.

By Lingfeng Ge, PhD Chemistry

The Croft Magazine//The biggest difference between a hotel and an Air Bnb simple: when one books the former, one knows to expect, but when one books the latter, one doesn't know what's coming ones way. Let Lingfeng Ge tell you about few unexpected unpleasant things they have experienced with Airbnb...

Find your superhost in Florence 

Hello (check-in)

There are two check-in modes on Airbnb: check-in with the host or self check-in. When the host is there to let you in their home, they usually need to know your arrival time in advance. Some of them won't mind if you're running late, but some will pull a long face when you finally arrive, and others will stop waiting for you and leave before you get there….you can never predict what kind of hosts they will be.

The self check-in can be frustrating. I still remember how nervous I was after I arrived at an Airbnb home in Reims, France three years ago. The host was away and left her whole apartment to me, so I had to check myself in. She told the previous day that, when I arrived at the courtyard gate, I needed to put my hand through the gate and unlock the gate from inside.

So, when I arrived , I just tried to do as she told me. It was unexpectedly difficult. I couldn’t see anything at the other side of the gate from outside the gate as I scrabbled for the hatch. I tried a while, and I thought I had touched every possible area where the hatch could be, but I still hadn’t touched the hatch. I gave the host a ring, but she didn't pick up, so I tried again to find the hatch, but again I couldn’t find it. I rang her and she still didn't pick up,  so I continued to scramble around, sweating through my clothes. I can’t remember how long I was stuck there until someone came from the courtyard and opened the gate for me.

Scrabbling for the hatchet...Epigram/Lingfeng Ge


When you book a 3-star hotel, you know the room will be satisfyingly clean. But when you book an Airbnb, unless you’re lucky enough to catch a superhost, the cleanliness will be a question until you get there. Sometimes the photos of the room make you believe the room is clean, and sometimes the reviews don’t tell you something is dirty in the room, but don’t be too optimistic!

After you get there and see everything with your own eyes, you may get upset. For example, two years ago I booked an Airbnb room with good photos and good reviews, but when I got there and had a look at the bed, I saw shoe prints on the duvet!

Another example is an Airbnb house I stayed in last month. In photos, the room looked very stylish. And some reviews said the room was clean. When I got there, my first glance also told me everything looked clean. But later, I moved the pillow, only to see a blood stain on the sheet underneath. And then I started to check everything - I saw human hairs in the bathrobe, and I saw food stain on almost every bowl, mug, piece of cutlery….

Epigram/Lingfeng Ge 


Let me talk again about the Airbnb house I stayed in last month. It was January in Coventry, so I expected to have a warm heater in my room. In fact, there was a heater in every room of the house, but questionably, the host didn’t want to turn any of them on. I had to shroud myself with a duvet when I wasn’t in bed.

Also, on the second evening I’d stayed there, it was raining heavily and my shoes were wet through when I got back to the house that evening. Because the heating was kept off during the night, when I put on my shoes again the next morning, they were still wet. I ended up walking in my wet shoes for hours, although it wasn’t raining at all that day.

The stories above are just the tip of the iceberg. The space here is limited, so I can’t tell all my Airbnb stories with unexpected unpleasant things inside. But if you’re mentally strong enough, you can always explore the unexpectedness of Airbnb yourself!

Featured image: Epigram / Lily Donnelly

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