Airbnb life: OMG my host cancelled my reservation at the last minute!

I. AM. STUNNED.!!!

Let me start off by saying, this post is not going to provide a lot of advice about what you should do if this should happen to you, because truthfully, I am still working out all of the details of the situation and I do not quite have the answers. This post is really me just venting, and letting you know about things that can happen when you are living life on the road.

So…here’s what happened.

LESS THAN 24 HOURS before I was set to check in to a home for a month, my boyfriend received a message from the host of the home. The message was for an alteration to the dates that we were to stay. Instead of checking in the next day and staying for a month stay, the host asked if we would accept his offer to check in TWO WEEKS FROM NOW for a two week stay, FOR $300 MORE than our month reservation!?!?!

WHAT. THE. ENTIRE. EFF!?!?!

A shorter stay for more money, and we can’t even check in on the day we NEED to check in!!??

Uhhh…no thank you!!

When the text came in, we were packing up and winding down at the home we were in, and making plans for our departure the next morning. But we had to change gears IMMEDIATELY and figure out 1) how do we get a refund and 2) where the eff are we gonna go in the morning????

My first thought was to see if we could stay put for a few more days. However staying at the home we were in at the time was not an option because another guest has already booked it.

We really did not have a lot of time to play around with and we needed to know what our options were IMMEDIATELY. Of course, in the day of on-line support and help bots, getting a human on the phone that could help was not the easiest thing to do. So my boyfriend worked on contacting airbnb and I got to work researching places we could check into the next day.

Though I don’t have any official advice for resolving these types of situations, here is what I did learn from the situation.

1) TRUST MY GUT – When we initially found this place, in our guts, we felt like something was off. The place didn’t have a TON of pics, but we felt like it was enough to make us feel comfortable with selecting it. The host also had kind of a distorted profile picture, which just kinda made us wonder why versus made us feel like it was a deal breaker. There weren’t any reviews, but hey, every home has to start with its first renter. And we had rented homes in the past that had little to no reviews because you get good deals as one of the first three renters for most homes. So that didn’t scare us off, but rather just made us prepare ourselves for a less-than-perfect stay. But here’s what made us question things a bit. Once our reservation was confirmed and we received the address, we googled it and realized it was an apartment versus a condo, so renting from a renter is really what made us apprehensive. I was actually surprised that this was permitted by airbnb but apparently it’s a new thing they started allowing. We feel like home owners and companies that use airbnb income as a primary income source have more to lose if our stay isn’t good or if they don’t live up to their end of the deal. Someone renting an apartment may not have the same type of personal or professional investment in the experience.

2) DO NOT CANCEL – Even once the host made it clear that his home would not be available for our stay, and even though we needed to release this reservation in order to make another reservation, we knew that THE HOST had to be the one to cancel in order for us to get our money back. And apparently he was dragging his feet on processing the cancellation. So unfortunately, we had to wait for airbnb to conclude their investigation into the situation (which took over 24 hours) in order for us to be refunded (which could take up to 15 days for the bank to fully process) and for my boyfriend to be able to book using his airbnb account for a reservation during the same period of time as the cancelled home.

3) BE CLEAR IN YOUR COMMUNICATION WITH THE HOST – Airbnb reviews the communication between guests and hosts. When the host sent us the altered reservation request, we made sure to clearly ask “IS YOUR HOME UNAVAILABLE FOR THE DAYS THAT WE HAVE RESERVED?”

4) MAKE SURE ALL COMMUNICATION STAYS WITHIN THE AIRBNB APPLICATION – This sort of goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway. In the event of any issues, this communication becomes your evidence. If it’s done outside the airbnb platform, it may be harder to prove your case.

5) HAVE A BACK-UP PLACE SELECTED – Each time we search for new places, we typically start off with a list and whittle it down based on all of the factors that are important to us (location, price, parking situation, safety factors, amenities, etc.). Once we make our final selection from that list, we typically don’t think anything else about the homes that we cut. But when something like this happens, it would be great to have that list as a starting point if we have to go back to the drawing board. We’ve already vetted or ruled out a lot of the homes, so we wouldn’t have to re-look at places we’ve already reviewed.

6) HAVE A NON-AIRBNB OPTION IN MIND – I have been relying solely on airbnb for my travels, and that is essentially the equivalent of putting all of my eggs in one basket. Though there are stipulations about where I can travel and work from, there are still some other non-airbnb options that I can consider, and I need to have those options on standby just in case. So doing research on other options will definitely be an action item for me in the upcoming weeks.

7) HAVE MORE THAN ONE METHOD OF CASH FLOW – This taught me that at any given moment, $3,000 can be locked up in airbnb shenannigans. Having some leeway with the purse strings will help to make these types of situations not be as dire as they could be.

8) AIRBNB DOES NOT HELP YOU FIND A PLACE IMMEDIATELY – So we had heard that airbnb has helped some travelers that have been caught up in situations where the host canceled last minute. We heard that airbnb will step in and find a place for you. IN OUR SITUATION, this was not the case. First of all, we needed a place THE. NEXT. DAY. which would have been Saturday morning. We had to be checked out the next morning and had a four hour drive ahead of us. By the time someone contacted us to help find a place, it was about 7pm Saturday night. I don’t know what they expected us to do if we were, say, stuck in an airport with no place to go, or traveling with a car full of kids expecting to pull into a home and get them fed and settled at check-in. We didn’t know whether we should drive the 4 hours to the city of the original home we were supposed to go to, or stay put, or head back to Maryland and beg relatives to let us couch surf. Instead we remained in limbo for 24 hours waiting for airbnb to conclude their investigation and advise us about next steps. It was only at that point that they then told us some other options for housing.

HOW DID THINGS END UP?

So the good news is that we were able to find a place for a week, and we checked into that place just fine. Airbnb finished their investigation, refunded our money, and gave us a $200 credit (with stipulations…ugh!). In addition, they assessed penalties against the host that cancelled. Once we got to the place we were able to book last minute, our first order of business was to find another home for the remaining three weeks that were part of our original reservation, and we think we found a nice place that we are looking forward to checking into. As of now, things have all worked out, but it was definitely a stressful couple of days. We definitely learned a few valuable lessons and realize we have a few things that we need to tweak, research, and be mindful of going forward.

Has anything like this ever happened to you? What happened and how was it resolved? I’d love to hear from you!

Airbnb Life: Discovering What I Don’t Need Helps With My Minimalism Goals

The thing I hate the most about airbnb hopping is definitely the packing. It is SUCH a pain! Packing up bags, loading up the car, just to go to another place and unload the car and unpack…just to pack and load…and then to unload and unpack…WHEW! It gets to be a bit much.

It’s rough. It’s mentally draining, and the physical toll of lugging, packing, unpacking, moving, dragging, lugging, and repacking…it’s just so exhausting.

Every time my boyfriend and I move, we go through this round-robin conversation that goes a little like this:

ONE OF US: We have too much stuff!! Should we try to scale back??

THE OTHER: YES! We should!

ONE OF US: OK, we’ll go through our suitcases at the next home and figure out what we can donate or get rid of.

**After looking through each bag and removing at best, two or three things**

ONE OF US: WE HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF!!!!!

But in all honesty, while I may have too much stuff for life on the road, I do live with far less stuff than what I ever had when I lived in a fixed location. Far, far less. For example…

HOODIES – I only have one hoodie with me. I own…AT.LEAST.20. hoodies AND 10 pull-overs.

JEANS – I have three pairs of jeans with me. I own AT LEAST 30 pairs of jeans and 15 pairs of jean capris.

MAKEUP – I have one eyeshadow, one eyeliner, one mascara…if I were home, I’d have several of each in multiple places throughout my home. And would probably still stock up when I went to stores.

ACCESSORIES – I travel with a small pouch of accessories. At home, I have an entire cabinet devoted to jewelry.

SHOES – I have five pairs of shoes with me, and they cross all seasons, and include my slippers. At home I have shoe racks in multiple rooms AND shoes for other seasons stored in bins.

HANDBAGS – I cannot even begin with my handbag collection. I managed to narrow it down to a fanny pack, a sling bag, two small purses, and one large bag. For me that’s a total success. At home…the story is dramatically different.

So…am I like those people that backpack through Europe and wash out their three pairs of panties at every stop? Ummm no. But am I living with CONSIDERABLY LESS items than usual? ABSOLUTELY!

And each day, it gets easier and easier to not have all of my possessions within reach.

It has been interesting making decisions and figuring out which creature comforts I have to live without. While I love having all of my “stuff”, there have been some positive outcomes from living with less of my things.

  • Less clothing choices means that figuring out what to wear each day becomes less daunting. Less stress!
  • Online shopping is done on more of an as-needed basis, because I have no place to put anything new, and figuring out where to get things delivered can sometimes be logistically difficult. Better for my wallet and no buyer’s remorse!
  • I rarely go shopping for anything in person unless I’ve identified a specific need. More intentional purchasing, and also a wallet saver!
  • Living with less has prompted a lot of productive conversations with my boyfriend around the type of space we want to have when we return back to a fixed location. Communication is key!
  • I have been rethinking some of the possessions that I have stored back at home. If I haven’t used it in this long, do I actually need it. Purging is therapeutic!
  • I have identified some shopping behaviors that I definitely feel like I would like to change. Know better, do better!
  • Learning to make-do versus always feeling like I need to buy things. Appreciate what you have, and problem solve!
  • Living with minimal kitchen gadgets makes me realize I don’t need EVERY kitchen gizmo that I see. Figure out what is needed to prepare meals. You don’t need it just because it seems cool.
  • I have a better sense of what items I love versus things I buy on a whim and then don’t actually ever use. Waste not, want not!
  • Starting with a blank slate in different homes each month makes me realize how much I love not having things cluttering up my space. Cluttered space, cluttered life!
  • I feel like when it comes to decor, sometimes less is more. When I return home, I will decide on a style and be mindful of purchasing excessive home items.
  • I realize now that cluttered space is uncomfortable and mentally draining. It is also the result of procrastination and unmade decisions. Make timely and relevant decisions in order to keep areas clutter-free.
  • I have not thought about any home decor purchases. I’d rather have blank walls than a slew of mismatched things I bought because they were cute.

SO WHAT’S MINIMALISM GOT TO DO WITH IT?

I had already started dabbling into the idea of minimalism. I love the concept and I want to figure out what that means to me and how to apply it to my life. Even before this journey, I felt like my personal possessions were weighing me down mentally, physically, and financially, and I do believe that “things” can totally impede happiness.

The concept of minimalism is too deep to get into in this blog post, but at high level, it’s the concept of living with less so that you can live a more fulfilling, free and intentional life. The concept can be applied to different people in different ways, but I have been intrigued by the idea. I feel like this journey could help me kickstart my minimalism efforts.

I am already overwhelmed thinking about all of the items that await me when I return. And I have already decided that I have no interest in returning to the clutter-filled life of excess that I had. I hope that returning from this journey allows me to make some quick and easy decisions about which items I’d like to keep from my storage unit and which items I’d like to let go of.

Minimalism is a personal journey that means something different for each person. My hope is that the experience of living with less and making do with what I do have helps to frame my thoughts around what is ultimately important in my life.

Have you heard of minimalism? Have you ever wondered about whether it was a good idea for you and your life? I’d love to know your thoughts.

A word…

Grace.

I get it. People get on social media and show all kinds of pieces of themselves. Some are crazy, some are weird, some are full of opinion. I saw a post today…one of the typical posts from a social media consultant of some sort, about what you should and shouldn’t do on social media. I see similar posts pretty much several times a day. And they can be informative and worthwhile for sure.

But this one just rubbed me the wrong way. I’d only recently just posted my first IG post after being away from social media for a week or so. It wasn’t one of those “I’m Formally Taking a Social Media Hiatus” type of breaks. But for whatever reason, I was choosing to be present in my life, and I just didn’t feel like constantly chasing content or constantly thinking about whether I was doing something postable. So I just didn’t post anything for a week or two.

But back to the post. The post was a video or reel or tik tok, I don’t remember. The person was doing a normal tik tok-ish style dance. There was music in the background, and she’s making hand gestures, pointing to phrases on her screen. On beat, with each one of her gestures, a different social media tip popped up. This post was something about how you should and should not present yourself through your IG account, which is similar to a lot of social media grammers out there. I don’t remember the specific topic.

I guess some of the points were valid. However something about it just…made me want to throw up my hands. It just made me think…why can’t we just let people do what they are comfortable with?

Why can’t we show some grace on social media?

People don’t pop out of the womb feeling comfortable shimmying and shaking in front of the camera. You don’t stay on top of emerging trends and technology without having a few trials to figure it all out. We don’t all know how to be the perfect IG business account holders. And really, isn’t that ok?

I know I personally find people that make errors, have flubs, and show us their human side are people that I gravitate to moreso than the grammers that always have the perfect outfit, perfect filter, spic ‘n span homes, awesome music, dances down pat, and food that looks worthy of kudos from Gordon Ramsay himself…

Like…if I want to watch a perfect studio performance and no errors, that’s what tv productions are for.

I feel uncomfortable around perfectionists. I want to see the person who doesn’t know which button to press during a live. I want to see the organization hack in a home that doesn’t look like Marie Kondo just stopped by. I want to encounter people that are relatable.

I don’t want to see those that spent thousands on an account full of staged pics taken by a professional photographer. For me, it’s just not interesting. There’s no depth.

Be normal. Be yourself. Say “umm” 78 times. I’m here for it!

We as a social media community need to give grace. A lot of people…MOST people on social media…also have other full time jobs…jobs that are NOT the business they use instagram to promote. Most have a 9-5 which pays their bills. Most have families. Most have other important obligations. But for most, there’s something about sharing their lives on IG, whatever piece of their lives they choose to show us, that makes them happy. And we follow them because we appreciate the content they share with us.

Instead of being critical of the content, I’d prefer to be happy that people are being vulnerable and open about something in their life.

So here’s what I am choosing to do.

I am choosing to be present in my own life. Posting on socials is secondary.

I am choosing to be gracious towards the small business owner that’s trying to navigate this new uncomfortable way of promoting their business.

I’m choosing to be gracious towards the new mom that has discovered social media is a great way to find a community of new struggling moms.

I am choosing to be gracious towards that shy girl that has found a new interest and is being brave enough to reach out to a like-minded community, even though it is extremely uncomfortable for her.

People are just trying to be social, have a little fun, and share a bit about their lives or their crafts or their business. Criticism is SUCH a turn-off. Expecting perfection is unrealistic. I’m going to stop expecting social media perfection from myself, and just seek to enjoy the community.

Does social media perfectionism intimidate you? Or do you just get out there and have fun?

Let me know!

Quick Micropost

That look when your to-do list is long af but you know you’re gonna be aight.

Y’all, I have so many things to do, but all I wanna do is drink iced coffee and watch indie movies. Being an adult is THE WORST! LOL. I mean…have y’all done your taxes?? Sigh…lol…

Please tell me I’m not alone! Anybody else be out here ignoring the real world like that actually works? Or just me? Lol.

I hate feeling like I should have everything together and just dont. I guess this is a different kind of imposter syndrome. Let me find my notebook and start writing my list. I have some work to do today so that I can enjoy my weekend. 

Happy Thursday, y’all! ✌
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#todolist #adulting #procrastination #thursdayvibes #overwhelmed #planyourwork #getworkdone #goalsetter #goaldigger #goalgetting #airbnblife #sunshinestate #kissimee #indiemovies #tubi #marylandgirl #impostersyndrome #wanderer  #myinstadiary #microblogger #microinflluencer #discoverunder1k

Life Around the Airbnb (Fredlandia)

I feel like I should be doing better at keeping you updated on the haps with my Airbnb life, so I’m going to just start posting more frequently about the normal day to day things that happen around here.  Sometimes I feel like if nothing significant happens, then it’s not worth writing about, and quite honestly, I am realizing that’s not quite how blogging works.  I find I’m really intrigued by the journal entry type of blog posts just as much as the posts about a specific topic. 

So with that said, I’ll craft my first “Life Around the Airbnb” post and let you know what’s going on in my Airbnb life.

So here goes…

Today we are about two weeks away from checking out of this home, and here’s what we’ve been up to this week.

We are currently renting a nice two-story townhouse style condominium in a modern development in Frederick.  We positively love the home, and we love the area so much, but we absolutely do not love the neighbors.  More on that later. 

We initially rented the home for a month, but we decided to extend another month because we really felt like there was more to do and see here in Frederick. Due to the pandemic combined with the cold March weather, we were limited with how much exploring we could do, and there is so much in this area to explore.  In addition, I had a few appointments in the Maryland area that required me to stay fairly local for a couple weeks.  So, despite the neighbors that we don’t care for, we decided to stay put for another month because we love the home and the area.

A majority of this week was devoted to looking forward.

One thing about starting each rental at an Airbnb when you’re of no fixed address—it isn’t long before you have to start thinking about where you will go the following month.  So we like to get going with that search pretty soon after we move into a home.  While being able to hop around is quite freeing, the research involved in selecting your next home can be quite daunting.  And here are a few reasons why:

Price considerations – As you can expect, we have a monthly budget for our rentals.  We wanted to keep the price at or below what we’d spend on a rental or monthly mortgage payment if we stayed in one fixed location.  What we’ve discovered is, while there are a lot of great rentals that would be wonderful for a weekend trip or a family vacation, they aren’t feasible for monthly stays when you multiply out the daily rate by 30 days and then add fees.  We just are not paying $6,000 a month for an Airbnb.  Just not doing it.  So that whittles down our prospective homes quite a bit, and makes us negotiate wants versus needs.  Though there are monthly discounts (more on that later), once you add in fees and such, the prices can still rise quite high.

Monthly inventory – There are a lot of homes that are available for a weekend or for a week or two, but the inventory of monthly rentals is definitely significantly smaller than the inventory of homes that you may find when you’re researching places for that weekend girls retreat or the family beach trip. Sometimes we have looked in certain cities and the inventory for a monthly rental for our dates is less than 5 homes.

Our criteria – Anyone renting or buying anything has a set list of criteria, which includes your non-negotiables as well as the things you’re willing to be a little more flexible on.  Sometimes our options significantly decrease just by filtering out ones with no kitchen. For a space to be our home for a month, there are definitely things that are important to us.  We have learned that we operate best when a home has two bedrooms and two bathrooms at the very least (no adorably chic tiny homes for us!).  For one reason, we both work full time from home, and we both have meetings and make calls. Many times our meetings and calls are at the same time, so another bedroom or a designated office with a door is crucial.  And the bathroom…well…lol…I’m sure no explanation is needed for this one.  We rented a home with one bathroom, and it worked fine, but our preference is two if possible.

Seasonal aspects – Some areas are more popular based on the season, so working around the price hikes for certain areas can be tricky.  Yes it sounds awesome to be at the beach for a month, but guess what…you will definitely pay a premium price for a monthly stay at a beach during beach season.  And who really wants to be there in off-season?  Well…some may, but…the point usually is to enjoy the weather and the water, and to do that, you will pay higher prices.  And same is true for mountains during ski season.  So navigating those nuances can add to the trickiness of selecting a home.  You may want to be somewhere in off-season, but if it’s 10 below and you only do outdoor dining, or if the area is shut down because it’s non-peak, is it really a place you want to be?

Working the Airbnb system – The great thing about monthly rentals on Airbnb is that there is typically a discount for longer stays.  We have found that in some circumstances, extending our stay by a few days can decrease the price by a few hundred dollars.  So even if we don’t need the extra days, we may reserve them just to get the cheaper price.  But figuring out which homes that applies to, and what the right length of time needed for the best price, this can be time consuming and somewhat frustrating.

Because picking our next spot can be sort of challenging, we typically start working on that within a week of moving into a new space.  This week we searched, whittled down, selected, and reserved our next home. Can’t wait to tell you about that! 

So now that that’s done, we feel like we can breathe a bit and enjoy the remainder of our time in our current space.

And that’s what’s been happening around the Airbnb this week.

Have any questions about airbnb life or what we’ve been up to while in Frederick, Maryland, comment below or send me a message at justamarylandgirl@gmail.com! Also follow me on IG at justa_mdgirl!