The travel tales- AirBnB nightmare

By Helen O'Neill

Waiting for your flight in the airport to begin your travels of Scandinavia should be a time of excitement. Having a browse in duty free and getting your first official ‘I’m on my holidays’ drink. But for my best friend and I it was plagued with panic while we scrambled to secure new accommodation after a cancellation nightmare.

About three months prior to this, we decided to go to ‘Way Out West’, a stellar city festival being held in Gothenburg Sweden. Thinking about how crazy festival life can get, we looked into renting an AirBnB for the three days.

Scrolling through expensive pads, I came across a one-bedroom apartment close to the city centre. After messaging with the renter, a seemingly friendly young girl, we had scored the apartment months before our trip.

Before heading to the festival, we were flying to Norway to spend three days in Copenhagen. Sitting in Dublin Airport in mid-August I sent a message to our AirBnB host telling her we were leaving Ireland and notifying her what time we would arrive in Sweden in a few days. I put my phone down, not expecting the immediate response we got.

Panic officially set in as I read the confirmation message on my phone that our host had cancelled our booking. Instantly I thought this must be a mistake. After logging into my account it became apparent that this was no accident. She sent a message saying she just remembered she wouldn’t be in Sweden this weekend couldn’t give us a key to stay in her apartment. And to add salt to our wounds she signed off with a smiley face.

After numerous attempts to call her, which led to an out of service number, it was clear that this was her forte. Our first move was calling AirBnB, who despite providing a calming voice, couldn’t do anything for us apart from search for new accommodation.

Generally, a cancellation of booking means checking into a crappy hostel. But because of the festival, the entire city of Gothenburg was booked up. Messaging friends in Ireland to lend a hand, we searched our little souls out to avoid sleeping on a bench for three days.

After arriving in our hostel in Copenhagen after midnight, we got an email for a house outside Gothenburg. In the darkness of our bunk bed in a six bed dorm we were forced to book this family home double the price of our original, relieved that our nightmare search was over. So for our three-day festival we spent our nights living like queens in a four-bedroom suburban house without the bank accounts to match.

Helen O’Neill

Image Credit: AirBnB