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Double Cancellation - advice as guest and host please!

So my sister and I planned a trip in a few weeks. Today she lost her job after 20+ years employment. A shock to all of us. So the place we have reserved is strict cancellation. I find this an extenuating circumstance, unexpected, and the last thing she can afford to do is go on vacation. I am on the reservation as well.

But, as a host, I will give her a place to live, BUT, I have 2 reservations lined up. One in April, one in May. I will have to cancel them as a host so she can move in and have a place to live.

How do both of us not get screwed by Airbnb on this? She is mortified as it is to lose a job for the first time in her life without providing “termination papers” proof of extenuating circumstances. Hmmm… have no job - how does one expect to pay? And for the record, I am happy to have her stay at my place til she gets her feet back on the ground. She’s helped me out plenty in my life!

Call Airbnb and have a chat. You have a family emergency and are supporting her. Re the booking - message the host and explain and request. Most people are reasonable and they have enough time to refill the dates. If they agree - call Airbnb, ask them to check the message thread and see that you have asked. As they appear to be guest centric these days, they may assist.

I’m sorry your sister lost her job, but lack of finances doesn’t qualify as an extenuating circumstance, and I would hate to see that honored as valid reason for a refund. If that were the case, any guest could just say, Oh, I had a lot of unforeseen expenses this month- my washing machine or car broke down, so now I don’t have the money to travel and want a full refund on a strict policy.


You have to? So your income now suffers too? I would search other options before making a decision that would both increase your expenses and reduce your income.

Just food for thought.



Speechless. A washer breaking is no comparison to losing your job and being able to feed and house your family.


A vacation can be a nice distraction/recharging during stressful times. I would consider keeping it.

Also, maybe have your sister stay somewhere else during the two bookings. You could even use the money to pay to stay somewhere if necessary.

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Of course it isn’t the same. My point was that if Airbnb starts considering financial hardship to be a valid reason to cancel, that would bode really badly for hosts. Every guest thinks they have a really valid reason for cancelling and getting a full refund, even if it’s just that they found something cheaper or changed their minds.


As a host, I’m not your sisters travel insurer.



When I plan an expensive trip well in advance I buy trip insurance. There are different levels of coverage and one of them includes the insured losing their job. I didn’t get that coverage for upcoming trip because I am a retired pensioner and self employed.

While I feel for you, hosts should not be responsible for “insuring” a guest’s stay. The host you chose has strict policy for a reason.

As a side note the couple I’m going to visit has become unemployed and gone on the dole since I planned my trip 8 months ago. This is terrible for my trip plans and I’d love to just cancel it but I’ve already spent at least 3k non refundable and non insured. Life is hard.


With respect, this is a life change but does not qualify as an extenuating circumstance.


You should contact the host immediately. Maybe this is their high season? Maybe they are pretty confiden that they can totally rebook it - and for more money. Good communication is key.

Maybe they will put in writing that they will reimburse the days that are re-booked. Or not? They have no obligation to do so. They are running a business and hosts are not travel insurance.

I wish your sister luck.


Well another way of looking at this is that you’re screwing up a vacation or work trip for two other groups of people - the guests who will be affected when you have to cancel them.

Yes, blood is thicker than water and I applaud the fact that you are helping her out but it seems a bit extreme. How do you know that she’d not going to get another job next week or even tomorrow? (I assume that she’s out there searching for a new job). It seems very likely that she’ll get something by April / May when your guests are due - that’s weeks away. Are those really the only reservations you have?


Yes, sad but true. Only 2 reservations! I was going to get upgrades done during the slow season. And my sister will pay the mortgage while staying as she has savings for an emergency, to get her through a few months.

How long are your reservations for? Could you just move your sister into your space or a friend’s or a hotel or another airbnb for the days of the reservations? Then you wouldn’t have to cancel on your guests and that income would be secured for you…not just now but in the future once your sister gets back on her feet and moves out.

If you have 2 notes on your profile that say you cancelled (and you will because they certainly won’t give you penalty-free for this), it would make it much harder for you to host guests in the future. Also, you will have to pay at least $100 just to cancel those reservations. Something to think about at least.


I’m not clear about why she lost her home as well. Was it a live-in position? It seems strange to fire someone from a job and remove them from their home without any notice at all. Can’t she take the situation further? What’s that all about?

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Long story. She would be moving out of state. Right now we are all in shock.

The advice here is great. The “shaming”, not so much, as this is devastating to her and I am thankful she’s not reading this. But it’s good to know all aspects that this is reviewed as. And yes, after reading through all of Airbnb’s policies, this is NOT an extenuating circumstance per Airbnb, and trip insurance will definately be considered in the future.


No one did any “shaming”, we just didn’t agree that this was a valid reason to expect to be refunded.


Maybe not the best time to make decisions that could affect you for a long time. Take it slow.

Good luck to you both.



Not true. Clearly you did not read JLD’s post, before it was deleted, where I was point blank told I “should be ashamed” for asking for a break.

She’s right. I did use the term “you should be ashamed”. And I honestly feel that way because an extenuating circumstance is being ill or dying or being shipped off to war - not having unplanned financial issues. However, @retropet seemed sensitive about it, so I deleted it, out of kindness. So, not sure why they brought it back up :woman_shrugging: by calling me out. How’s that going :wink:


My humble opinion.

  1. Your sister should file the forms for extenuating circumstance for traveling regarding the job loss and see what Airbnb says. She’ll get over being mortified and provide her termination papers if she wants her money back. If they allow it, then great. If not, then at least you don’t have to pay the other 50% of the trip cost.

  2. Do your best to keep the two reservations you have. Surely your sister can be inconvenienced to stay elsewhere for however long those two reservations last. If you cancel and Airbnb doesn’t grant you EC, you’ll lose the income, $200 in penalties (from future payouts), and you likely lose bookings due to the automated host cancellation reviews on your listing when you start hosting again.

Now, back to the more personal side. You said you are happy to take her in until she gets her feet back on the ground, but also that your sister can afford to pay your mortgage while she lives with you. It kinda sounds like you aren’t doing your sister a favor by letting her stay with you but rather she is doing you a favor by paying your mortgage while she stays with you, and you’re wanting to use her job loss as an excuse to cancel without penalty because your sister is more lucrative than your off-season on Airbnb. I’m often wrong, but if I put this together incorrectly, then others may have, too, and you can see how people can misconstrue your intentions, right?

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