On June 30th, I paid Airbnb for three nights for August 3-5 in Budapest for my husband and myself. That way I could organize a Hungarian SIM card and finalize a car rental with one of the three companies I had approached by email. I communicated with our Airbnb host through WhatsApp several times and all seemed perfect.
While we were flying to Budapest the host sent an email, not a WhatsApp message, saying that due to a water leakage in the bathroom he was cancelling. I knew nothing about that while flying. We arrived and through the kindness of a Hungarian lady who worked at the airport I got wifi and power to my almost dead iPhone and sent a WhatsApp message for instructions to get the key. Silence.
I look into my emails and there was the shock of my life. That day there was the final day of Formula 1 and many hotels were booked. A taxi driver took us to one hotel he knew… nothing. He took us to a store where I could buy a SIM card with data and minutes to call but it would not install properly. We went to another hotel in the same taxi. The angel-driver was making calls for us. He drove us to a place downtown where they had a room. With a SIM card I made calls and I found another hotel for the next twi nights as planned… less than luxurious.
What is very upsetting is the cowardliness. The host read my WhatsApp messages and chose to be silent while I was at the airport. He did not offer any help whatsoever. If the roles were reversed I would have assisted in any way, helping to find another place with Airbnb for instance. Thinking back, this man might have had a guest for more money on that busy weekend of the Formula 1 and just dumped us.
The supervisor who contacted me while I was already in the first hotel did nothing for me: no offers, suggestions or anything. When I looked for a number to call it was in the U. I could not even unload my frustration by phone to anyone.
I just tried to review my experience on Airbnb and I am unable. I took our photo off my profile. I will try to express my experience on their website somehow for all to read. I will never attempt to use Airbnb.
This is a two-month trip, so what are we doing for lodging? We use pensions, they are called “vendégház ” in Hungarian or pension and many have signs on poles with arrows. There will be definitely a sign at their door. We pay directly to the owners and avoid the middlemen and we are happy to know they get all the money. Some of them have had a small fridge, and a kitchenette with microwave oven.
I paid less money this way than going through Airbnb. I have been checking through our travels. Some of this pensions are with several companies that are convenient for us for booking online but when we go directly knocking at their doors it is cheaper.
Airbnb can go fly a kit. The stress I went through is unforgivable. Luckily I chose a flight that arrived at 1:00 PM Budapest time. Being left alone to our own limited resources in a strange country was mean. I will return to Hungary, call the same hotel that we took for two nights, rent a car, and visit fantastic places and stay at vendégház anytime.