As the Easter long weekend gets under way, Australian’s far and wide will be settling into their elected AirBnB for a well deserved getaway.
But before you crack that bottle of red open over a white fur rug, or chuck a hot pan on a wooden bench top, spare a thought for the daring individuals who lend their houses and contents to complete strangers.
I was one of them, and after one month I lived to tell the tale – just.
When my parents went on a long trip overseas they decided to put our family home on AirBnB, asking my sister and I to take care of the guests upstairs.
We lived in the granny flat under the main house and agreed. I thought it would be a walk in the park; hand over some keys, meet some travellers, get an Italian boyfriend. Done.
The reality was somewhat different, and I’m ashamed to say I lasted all of a month before I jumped ship and moved out, abandoning my poor sister in the process.
That’s right, I took Sydney rent over confronting one more guest. It really was that bad.
My BnB abandonment was the culmination of many things; bratty guests, round-the-clock demands and a whole lot of stress.
What we thought would be a meet and greet once a week, soon turned into a 24-hour maid service.
The threat of a poor review – and subsequent loss of bookings – hung constantly over our mutinous heads, forcing us to grin and bear it as best we could.
There was the text message to my sister at 11pm asking her to please duck down to the shops to replenish the visitors toilet paper I had purchased the night before ‘IMMEDIATELY’.
There was the urgent call in the middle of my shift from a British businessman demanding I return home – a 45 minute commute – with an umbrella for him because he wanted to go out and it was raining.
There was the check-in that turned up on the doorstep at 6am, and the family who left hundreds of assorted knick-knacks behind them when they checked-out. We’ve still got the miniature electric fans to prove it.
The straw that broke this camel’s back, however, was the shenanigans of 15 German rugby players who came and went over three days leaving destruction and doom in their wake.
It was a Monday. I had a job interview the next morning. I was, in short, in no mood.
At 2am I woke up to what sounded like eight killer whales dancing the Macarena in our suburban jellybean pool.
Concerned, I dragged my sorry self from bed. I was spurred on by messages that were coming in thick and fast from irate neighbours. I had no pants on, and sleep in my eyes, but I was ready to tell these 20-year-olds what was what.
When I got to the pool I began to lay down the law to the tune of “hey guys, sorry but do you mind if you could maybe, kind of, sort of, perhaps get out of the pool?”, before realising the youths I was addressing didn’t have a stitch of clothing on their persons.
Nada. Nitchs. Nothing.
Starkers they were. Naked as the day they were born.
I stared at those 15 naked German boys floating among our childhood pool toys in the wee hours of the morning, and decided I had reached my limit.
They went on to break the stove and the pool gate, but it barely registered for me. Within a month I was moved out and moved on, leaving my poor sister to battle it out on her own.
For her the visits got worse. Showers were broken, pillows stolen, and couches burnt with wayward cigarette butts that were left discarded on the living room floor.
The AirBnB host-life is not for the faint-hearted.
You do get the opportunity to meet great people, but you also have to shoulder the burden of the terrible ones (and the bulk of any damages under your liability as a host).
It’s a great way to make some extra cash, but it comes at a cost.
For me, that cost was too high.
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