AirBNB horror story riles up travelers

A horror story that has emerged from AirBNB highlights the importance of sharing a detailed itinerary with loved ones back home.

AirBNB's response not up to par

Did you hear about the 19 year old on the trip of a lifetime in Spain? The New York Times reports he was sexually assaulted by the AirBNB property owner from whom he was renting. Apparently, AirBNB did a horrendous job with their response to this situation and did not protect this 19 year old.

The kid reportedly texted his mom and told her he needed the police right now because the landlord was trying to take advantage of him sexually. So the mom calls AirBNB and they refuse to do anything; they wouldn't call the police and they wouldn't tell the mom where the property was.

Now AirBNB is reviewing how they handle dangerous situations like this. But their initial position really stunk; it was basically, "Hey, we rent hundreds of thousands of accommodations around the world every day and we don't have a lot of problems." They were callous about this one situation and that's not the right way to handle it.

Simple precaution you can take

There is one simple precaution you should take no matter where you stay -- whether it's an AirBNB accommodation or a traditional hotel.

Definitely do a thorough itinerary before you go. I use Kayak's My Trips tool. It lists addresses, phone numbers and more based on my confirmation number, and that info automatically goes to my wife. But you can also do the same thing manually by popping all the info in an e-mail. Let people know the particulars of where you are so there's a trail if you go missing or something goes wrong.

This is something of a problem for me because when I travel overseas, I'm kind of random and don't know where I'll end up. But since we have school-age kids at home, we make sure we notify each other each day about how to reach us no matter where we are. That trail you leave behind is so important.

Travel should be unadulterated fun, but sometimes things do happen. So the Boy Scout motto, "Be prepared," is really sound advice.


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