An Airbnb Win and a Fail

One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned in our vagabond life is to stay zen with it all, to be flexible and open to possibilities, to not get freaked out by hiccups and to embrace opportunities. This week, we hit both ends of the spectrum:

An Airbnb win and a fail.

The Win

Man, we started on a high! Last Saturday, Brian wanted to spend the weekend sitting by a pool and relaxing. Sounded great to me. We thought about going to a hotel with a pool somewhere, but then I had a thought: If we found an Airbnb with a pool, we’d have more privacy. And then I had another crazy thought. The Airbnb on the other side of our property had a pool, and pools are peachy.

The property is mostly used for Yoga retreats and weddings, with a main house, a back building with three guest rooms, plus a dance/yoga studio. I figured, when in Rome…

Airbnb Win

The house is almost always booked on the weekends but they had a cancellation. On a whim, I sent the host a message asking if they’d be open to renting just the pool and we struck a deal, maybe because we’re neighbors, or maybe because of the cancellation. Either way, we had a pool for the weekend, right across from our house.

Airbnb Win

Plus, there were hammocks. Oh man… I need a hammock in my life.

If you’re ever looking for a weekend retreat for a few people, check out the Cactus Moon Retreat. Judging by the one room we saw, it’s pretty darned nice.

Cactus Moon Retreat

Win #2

Sometimes we drive back to Orange County Monday mornings, sometimes Sunday nights, which was what we did last weekend. We got a room at one of our regular stops, the Indigo near Disneyland, where I matched the wallpaper.

Indigo Anaheim
Disney Fireworks

We walked around Downtown Disney, had a light dinner at Brennan’s, then sat in the plaza between the two parks to watch fireworks.

Another Vagabond Life bonus: daily life feels like a vacation.

The Fails

In the ten months we’ve been Living Vagabond we’ve had only a couple of fails: Once with a motel where we’d stayed several times, the one with neon over the beds…

At check-in, the clerk tried charging us more than the rate we’d booked (and we’d booked directly with them, not through a third party). It was late, so she probably figured we’d roll over, but we weren’t going to play. If we were going to pay more, we might as well go to the much nicer Holiday Inn down the street.

The other fail was with an Airbnb. I always make sure there’s parking for two before booking. Not only did the listing specify tandem carport parking for two vehicles, I also confirmed with the host. It’s a long boring story, but essentially, he lied. The carport wasn’t available, the garage was packed with stuff, and there was no street parking without a permit. He also tried changing the listing once I got Airbnb involved, but I’d taken frame-grabs, and the kind folks at Airbnb could see he changed it. All the way around, he was a jerk about everything and refused a refund. Long story short, Airbnb sided with us, we got a full refund, and again, we went to the Holiday Inn across the street and bonus! Got a great room with a giant jacuzzi tub.

This Week’s Fail

From an “ewww gross” standpoint, this fail was the worst, but it was also the easiest. Why? Because the host was so nice. Clueless, but nice. And nice means a lot. Unlike the other two fails, he was totally understanding and very kind. He manages this house for his grandpa, who was traveling in Alaska. We have no beef with the host, but really… this place is not fit to be an Airbnb.

First of all, there were personal belongings everywhere. The place felt as if the owner stepped out, and we were crashing the place–kind of creepy.

The bed wasn’t made up. The host gave Brian some excuse about that when he checked in, about not having time to or something. Whatever. No biggie. I made up the bed with sheets I found in the closet.

The Bathroom

There was no toilet paper anywhere in the house. We contacted the host, keeping our tone nice, and he said he’d bring some in the morning… hello… girl here. We can’t wait until morning. Plus the toilet was filthy. The whole bathroom, really. Brian scrubbed the near gray sink and water splashed mirror until they shone, but he drew the line at the toilet. This wasn’t a case of an older house being stained. It just hadn’t been cleaned.

So why didn’t we leave at this point? Well… things weren’t ideal, but we figured four days wasn’t going to kill us.

Airbnb Fail

The Kitchen

Then we went to put our food away and found a refrigerator full of stinking rotten food. Again, we nicely contacted the host asking if it was okay to throw this stuff away. He said fine and apologized for not noticing this before he checked us in. We looked for trash bags and found none, so Brian went to the store and bought trash bags and toilet paper.

Airbnb Fail

Once the rot was taken care of, we decided to cook some dinner, and found every dish and utensil we touched had food on it. All the cupboards were filled with years-old food. There were crumbs on the stove and ants everywhere. There were even ant traps right next to the stove. We cleaned a couple of pans and plates, enough to make a simple dinner, and then sat down to relax.

Airbnb Fail

The Final Straw

At this point, we’d spent at least an hour cleaning this house (oh, and the cleaning fee for this place wasn’t cheap, part of the Airbnb booking). Plus, I’d had a particularly hot and exhausting day, and the last thing I wanted to do was clean someone else’s filth. We settled into the recliners to relax, both creeped out, and then…

Ants started crawling up our arms.

That was it. We were done.

Even if we didn’t get a refund, we were not staying. I let the host know we were leaving, sent photos and a message to Airbnb, and we left for our go-to spot, the Hotel Pepper Tree.

As I said, though, the experience overall wasn’t bad. The host didn’t fight us on a refund. In fact, he offered without my asking. Airbnb apologized and gave us a coupon code in addition to the refund. So all in all, an experience that could have been terribly negative, turned positive. No harm, no foul.

Needless to say, though, we won’t be staying there again.

The Moral

Roll with the good and the bad, and appreciate every moment. Be kind, and kindness comes back. Don’t let the little things in life throw you off. And… find a hammock somewhere because hammocks rule.

Next week…

We’re returning to Yorba Linda, and the following week the Hot Pep, so there won’t be another Vagabond update until the third week of August when we’ll have another new adventure to write about.

Until then…

Later gators!

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