Airbnb Experience just an opportunity for sexual assault?

Recently I booked several Airbnb Experiences during a long stay in Merida, Mexico. Most of these trips were magical experiences with wonderful guides and friendly tourists. One thing I learned quickly was that the guides preferred to have more than one guest on a tour. In general, this makes sense because fixed costs like transportation can be spread over several people.

I personally try to book tours early so that guides have time to rally other guests to help with costs, and since Airbnb does not enforce a minimum guest count. However, on one particular tour I was the only tourist. The Experience took me deep into the jungle with a man I didn’t know, to rural places where we were completely alone.

I felt panic as we drover deeper and deeper into the jungle. I frantically shared my GPS location with friends for some modicum of security. Unfortunately, my cell phone had absolutely no reception at all. This tour guide seemed to prefer that I was a woman alone with him. He told me he habitually does tours for single women, as if it was proof that he is trustworthy.

During the tour, he would ask me to model for photos. It appeared that he was using the Airbnb Experiences as a dating service. I deeply regret going on this Airbnb Experience with this man. I felt like I was in danger during the entire eight-hour trip. I wish I had known I would be in this situation, and I wish I could have cancelled this trip.

For the safety of everyone involved, Airbnb should allow hosts and guests to enforce a minimum guest count on trips. Please offer us the opportunity to cancel these trips if there is only one guest. Ultimately, I am safe. However, I fear for the next woman who signs up for an Airbnb Experience and finds herself alone with a stranger where no one can help.

TL:DR I hope no one else has an Airbnb Experience like I did.

Posted in Airbnb Host Stories and tagged , , , , , .

4 Comments

  1. Wow Jessica and Maryam, blaming the victim. Shame on you. Every traveler has the right to feel safe. And asking a guest to model for photos. Just no.
    I hope the person that posted this gave the Airbnb experience the review that it deserved, something like “recommend for small groups, not single women. The guide is creepy”.

    • How is telling her next time to trust her gut blaming her? I would think thats solid and sound advice. Her own words: took me deep in to the jungle with a man I did not know!!! Would you go into the jungle with someone alone just because you paid for it even though you felt afraid? I repeat….she is lucky to be alive to tell the tale and ultimately she got even more scared as the trip went on. So the money was wasted anyway.

  2. I am sorry that you had a horrible experience but you should always follow your instincts.
    Whether AirBNB allows you to cancel or not, you should have taken the loss and argued your point after. Was it worth it? Obviously not as you were in fear the whole time. Your life, peace of mind and happiness is worth more than $$$’s.
    Nothing would have made me set foot in that vehicle, certainly not an AirBNB policy.
    Lucky you lived to tell the tale.

    Jess

  3. That’s a lot of accusations for a tour that ultimately went well. You did book the tour and nobody forced you to get in the car with your guide. Your guide politely asked you if you would model for photo’s and you accuse him out of nothing that he was using the Airbnb Experiences as a dating service?? Really ?? If you see men as potential rapists, you should not travel alone in the first place.

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