Austin, TX

Dear COVID-spreading Airbnb Guest: Your Hosts Need Your Money, But Not Your Bodily Fluids

Melinda Crow by Sam E on Unsplash

Across the country today, not just in Tampa, football hoards are gathering to party. Many of them will host their parties at vacation rentals, because who wants to clean up after a party at their own house anymore, right? We talked to six rental hosts and got their worst stories relating to nasty guests.

This is going to be gross, but they all agreed that things need to be said. None of the hosts wished to be identified by name because they have businesses to run. This whole COVID thing makes them more than a little nervous because unfortunately, they have seen their share of bodily fluids that people should have kept within the confines of their own homes. All of them have had guests who arrived at their rentals sick and a few that departed that way. They scrub and sanitize and buy fresh gloves, but apparently, there have been times when Hazmat suits would have been a better idea.

Family togetherness gone wrong

A host couple in Austin, Texas shared this food story with us:

We once had a family so sick we had to call the state health agency. An entire family reunion developed a foodborne illness during their stay. We were completely unaware until check-out day arrived and one family member called to ask if it was possible for them to stay longer because none of them felt up to traveling. Our state licensing procedure requires us to pass a test regarding food handling so we recognized the symptoms and alerted officials. It was determined that the culprit was most likely an appetizer shared at a nearby restaurant the evening they arrived. Officials advised the family to remain at our place for another two days. They did not provide us with special training or gear for the cleanup.

We are not a post-surgical care facility

More than one vacation rental host had stories about people who rented their Airbnb specifically for the purpose of having a place to stay near a surgical hospital. Here's what one California host said:

We've had a handful of times (that we know of) when someone used our place to recuperate from a procedure of some sort. Sometimes they clue us in when they reserve their room, but not always. It's a little unsettling when our housekeeper finds empty IV bags on the bed, or even just a recently-dated hospital ID bracelet on the nightstand. We once found a huge pile of tubing and some sort of oversized fluid bags left in the shower. EEEWWW!

Keep your snotty nose to yourself

Every single host we talked to agreed on this one-- even in times of COVID, people can't be bothered to be aware of where they leave their own snot. A host from Colorado had this to say"

What's with people thinking that it's okay to leave half a box of used tissues scattered all over the floor? This happens more often than you’d think. Who can't be bothered to throw away their own snot? Even if you're only suffering from allergies and aren't contagious, we don’t want to touch those things. It's why we provide trash cans (with liners) in the room. We understand that this was your big trip and you didn't want to cancel, but at least bring your own Clorox wipes and clean up your virus-laden messes. And in case you wondered, if you become sick during your stay, we'd really rather you tell us about it so that we can take appropriate measures to protect both ourselves and our housekeeper.

We are not sick pet friendly

This is one you would never even think about. Maybe you should, the next time you book a vacation rental that is pet friendly. For privacy concerns, we're not even sharing the host's state on this horrible tale:

We love animals. But your puking puppy should have stayed at home. It takes a serious case of selfishness to bring a sick animal along on your vacation and then leave your room soaking in the product of that illness. We've had it happen. More than once. Just this past summer we were forced to throw away a mattress after a puppy incident.

We are not immune to daycare plagues

Rental hosts are sometimes well into their retirement years. This couple was adamant that if your child is sick with anything, you are putting them at risk if you bring them to stay in their rental.

We aren't old, but we are well past the point in our lives of having sick children at home. We are not exposed on a daily basis to the wide range of daycare and preschool illnesses that your family lives with. Children are walking germ machines. If your child has symptoms of anything, we beg you to just stay away.

Our pool is not a toilet

This last one should not be a surprise to anyone, but we feel a reminder is needed as we approach spring break. This host had a pool-related story that takes "doodie" in the pool to a whole new level.

It's not news that children do disgusting things in pools. It's our responsibility to test and chemically treat the water daily to ensure that the disgust doesn't morph into something communicable. If you bring a child to a pool it's your responsibility to minimize the problem. Not every parent has a good grasp of their part of that arrangement. Earlier this year a guest came into our office to report an incident she witnessed at the pool. It seems that a little girl had thrown up. Rather than remove the child and inform us, the family simply scooped the chunks out of the water onto the pool deck, then continued with their afternoon swim. Just so you know, the now-debunked myth about stomach cramps and drowning if you go swimming less than an hour after a meal was probably originated by a hotel owner that was tired of cleaning up chunks in and out of the water.

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Waco, TX

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