Foreign guest family over, parents stay in house and cook all day

I have a family from China on a long-term stay…and ugh…well they used instant book and I can’t turn them away. Well, their adult (in his mid-20’s) son has lived in America for a long time, and when he arrived at my house, he tells me his parents are coming a few days later. He booking said 2 other guests but he did not say it was his parents who don’t drive a car and don’t speak a word of English! Well there was nothing I could do, as I said he booked using instant book so I my hands were tied. Ok, so mow his parents are here…I live in a house in a suburb with nothing in walking distance and no public transportation nearby…which was clearly stated on my listing. The parents are inside all day…taking over my kitchen cooking their Chinese meals…the smell is overwhelming…it seems they spend a lot of time in the kitchen, then they go upstairs to sleep. The son is out all day as he has an internship at a university. I hate to be a complainer and I do not want my guests to feel unwelcome…but I have an old Chinese couple in my house that spend all day inside, cooking up storms in my kitchen…ok well I allow use of my kitchen, but not to the extent that I can’t use it myself… and this couple doesn’t speak a word of English! How can I politely tell the son to encourage his parents to get out more, or for him to take them out more? Besides he shouldn’t bring his parents 1000’s of miles from home just to keep them inside and cook all day.

We have guests in our two rooms that both stay home all day.

Thankfully my wife and Intend to be out at work all day.

We’ve just had to adjust and spend more time away from home these days. For the returns for the month, we still think it worth our while

AquaticQuests, You have to be careful with that, I know it out of the kindness of your heart, but if your guests see you keep adjusting your schedule around them, they will take advantage of it, and feel they have control of your house.

I also work a full time job and I am out all day, but I still own the home, and my guests have to know that they are staying in someone’s private residence, with the homeowner still residing there.

If someone is traveling and wants to stay inside all day, then they should book an “entire home” listing…not a “private room” one. But I agree with kasage00, it does not make sense for someone to travel 1000’s of miles away and stay inside and cook all day, and the returns will not be worth while if it goes to a super-high electric bill and or the money spent going to restaurants or getting take-out, if the guests dominate the homeowner’s kitchen and the homeowner works around it instead of setting boundaries.

kasage00: how long have those people been there? you say they are long-term, well if they just arrived very recently, sooner or late they will get tired of staying inside and cooking, they will learn they are in a foreign country and want to explore. also did the son ask you any questions before booking, or did he rush into booking by just looking at the photos and not read the listing? I’ve had some low ratings in location because people complained that i’m “out in the middle of nowhere” with a long drive to everything, nothing to see or do. But I made this clear on my listing that I am out in a small town with no attractions, and before booking there is a map with the blue dot showing my location. I think too many people are attracted by the photos and not have researched on my town.

You know how much I understand you! I had the same problem with Chilians who stayed home all nights, no English, and cooking for hours. That’s why I came to this forum to ask for advice what to do. I had the exact same story: we had no access to anything. They completely took over my kitchen , cooking the same hours as we. We had to wait to have breakfast, because they were cooking all 3 meals a day, using stove non stop. My situation was even worse as we are vegeterians and the smell of meat and fish was unbearable.,

At that time I felt awkward saying something as my listing allowed complete use of kitchen. This is exactly what it actually said: full use of kitchen.
Now after several adjustments I wrote : light vegeterian cooking only with the explanation what light means.
And just in time. Today I had a new guest who immediately asked me where my frying pan is. Why, I asked. I want to do steak. I asked him if he read my rules. Of course he did not:)
Then after a few moments of thinking over situation he said: it’s my fault, I sould have read the rules, no problem at all. And went out to eat.
I think you still can ask them to cook at certain hours, and leave you room to cook too. As far as getting them out of the house, I don’t know if you can tell guests how to spend their day.
I understood through my very few experiences with cooks that cooking privileges is a tricky moment. Here you have all this kitchen and you don’t want guests to use it. But also for me to be able to keep hosting I need to have some sanity in a house where I live, and cooks like that can ruin it.
I am on Instant book too, and since I disclosed my kitchen rules, I have no problem referring guests to them.


Another moment I didnt get with my cooks is why they are cooking from scratch all 3 meals a day. Is it cultural? Is it the same with Chinese?
I am from Eastern Europe, and we cooked everything from scratch. There was never any cans opening, sauses from store bought jars and store bought cookies. We never went out, not even on birthdays, as there was never enough money. My grandma made even pasta, and endless pies and cakes.
But we NEVER cooked every meal. Sometimes we didnt even cook every day. Food was warmed up, especially soups or casseroles. Sometimes soups lasted for 3 days.
Everyone were busy, coming home tired, there is noway there was going to be such intense cooking.
My cooks tiressly cooked every single meal, with then plates washing and then me cleaning up after them. Was quite a nightmare.

Paladin, the son arrived a week ago and his parents came a few days later…so the parents have just been here for a few days. That is true, maybe this wont go on forever and they will want to get out more, but then my town doesn’t have much to see, and the nearest city is a 22 mile drive. They will be here for another 6 weeks, and I thought to myself they will get real bored and maybe want to go back to China. It is hard to live in my town without a car (they cannot drive), and the son can’t drive them everywhere as he has his job, and there is no public transportation on my street, or anywhere nearby. I don’t see how the parents can make a life here. I know it’s a while away but I am prepared for my AirBnB review after they check out, and I am not expecting 5 stars (especially in location), but I have a feeling the son did not spend much time reading my listing or doing some research.

Yana: I agree I cannot tell my guests how to spend their day, but still if I were the kind to travel and spend the day indoors cooking, it would not be in someone’s house with the homeowner there. And since the guests will be here long-term I cannot expect them to go to a restaurant or get take-out every day, and because I allow long-term guests it is right for me to allow use of the kitchen. however, it does not mean I let them take full control of it. I could revise my listing to state please no cooking after (this time), also communicate with the son . the " holiday baking season" is coming up which means I will need to use the kitchen more.

Yes this family seems to cook everything from scratch. I’m always hearing the sound of meat and vegetables being cut, the sound of mixing, etc. But yes that kitchen is used every day by them. I do not cook every meal either. I just go out to restaurants occaisonally. on weeknights I only cook dinner, as I work full-time, and weekends I will cook breakfast and dinner, and not always do I cook from scratch, especially with my busy schedule.

I am the same way when I stay in someone’s house even at friends: I don’t treat it as my own. I traveled and still do for many years with Airbnb and I wouldn’t dream of going through someone kitchen. When I travelled with my daughter, we always rented a whole house and there I cooked.
I think you deffinitely can tell the son how you feel. He may be doesn’t even realizes that is parents are on a kitchen all day.

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Thanks Paladin.
The guests we currently have in both rooms don’t spend all day cooking, but they do spend all day at the house.
It means an increase in utilities primarily water usage when people are flushing away all day long.

But like I said because we are both out of the home often returning late in the evening, it’s not really a major issue for us so long as they leave kitchen and home looking clean. I understand that it would be a major issue for many hosts, so I guess you could say, that is our competitive edge :smile:
There is also a little Restaraunt a few steps from our house, and both guests use it frequently.

We’ve set up some space outside with a small gazebo so that when we are around, we do have our own space as either we or they will tend to use it so that we’re not all together in living or dining room, and we each have our own space, which helps. The other guest spends most of the time in their room.

So really we tolerating it because it doesn’t constrain us much, and if it did, you can be sure we would say something to them.

But we continue to evolve in our hosting and as different situations arise, we shall continue adjusting our rules, etc.

Actually, we shall soon likely be hosting in a larger house in a different part of town, so the dynamics will change there as well, as it is a different kind of house, in a different neighbourhood.

Kasage, well this is certainly aggravating… I don’t know how on earth you’ll be able to fix this situation. How long are they there for? When he originally booked, he didn’t tell you anything about the guests? You didn’t ask who the other people were?

Yana, this sounds like your cooking guests only they are Chinese and not Spanish! koasage, I think you should put the kitchen off limits or specify light cooking. What a nightmare. I’d be so stressed with people like this. I have a full studio apartment with complete kitchen for cooking available and hardly anyone uses it. They are mostly out all day sightseeing.

I think, depending on how long they are staying, take it as a lesson and edit your rules accordingly. If they are staying for a long time though you need to speak with them, I am sure they will be understanding. Or at least I hope so!

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@Yana_Agapova oh no Yana tha’ts my worse nightmare as we are vegetarian too. Have you since changed the use of the kitchen for guests? said your vegetarian in your listing etc?

This person used instant book without giving me information at first. It wasn’t until after I got the booking confirmation . Also the guest should give me the information on himself and the people he’s bringing…that should be his responsibility, not mine to ask. Besides there was nothing I could do anyway since they used instant book, and if I cancelled the reservation because he tells me “oh, by the way, my parents stay inside all day and cook, they can’t drive and don’t speak a word of English” (he didn’t literally tell me this, but this is what it came out to after the booking) that would get me in trouble with AirBnB. They are staying until Dec. 8. I agree, their daily routine is going to get old , and they will learn they are not in China anymore, and some changes will be made. It will be interesting to see how they will handle Halloween, with the doorbell constantly ringing, and when I get the Christmas decorations out, since they will be here when I get the house decorated (right after Thanksgiving). As far as I am aware, Chinese don’t celebrate Christmas. Well the son has probably adjusted to it but since this is the parents first time in America, this will be new to them.

I saw this guests reviews(he just has a couple, and they are positive) and nothing was mentioned about his parents. I guess he didn’t bring them before.

I’ve also modified my listing accordingly, with “kitchen closed” times, and I have considered turning off instant book but I’m not sure I could go that route yet. Although I already had on my listing there is no public transportation and nothing in walking distance from my house, maybe I should also state (in a polite way) my property is not for those who spend a majority of their time indoors?

Yes, I adjusted my listing description few times. Now it says : vegeterian cooking only. Also I gave a description of what light cooking means for me.
It says: light cooking only meaning: …and I wrote making salads, sandwiches, boiling eggs, pasta.
My problem with cooking is not just cooking. It’s the amount of time guests hang out in a kitchen, mess that they make, how they burn my pots, which did happen, how I have to clean after them, smells, and how they use my produce. They think if they buy their own items to cook , then oils, sauces, condiments they can use mine.
They are making salads and use my expensive olive oil, gourmet vinegar. They think, o it’s just a table spoon, how one lady said. They put me in a position to explain to a grown up person that it costs me money even if it’s a table spoon, and my rate of 55$ can not include food.
To close my kitchen totally to guests I don’t want. For me it’s looks very unwelcoming. If they stick to my rules I have no problem whatsoever.
Honestly I can’t wait for spring breakers. What a happy crowd that can’t be bothered with cooking at all.


So, many reasons NOT to use Instant Book.


IB or not IB , person might not disclose info anyway.
I am on IB, and people who have certain requirements still inquire before booking. I really don’t see any difference in this case. If the listing was not on IB, and the son inquired first, not saying anything about who the people are the result would be the same: 2 non speaking english, cooking parents:).
I am a big fan of IB, use it for 8 month, and will continue using it. For me it works , for some it doesn’t. 99% of my bookings are last minute, same day. I imagine for some people it’s impossible to do it, for me, works just fine. People book me getting of the planes bcs something went wrong with their reservations. I can accomodate night arrivals with arranging keys for them and had no problem so far.

Yes this would have been a different scenario if the son inquired BEFORE booking that he is bringing his parents, and I would have told him this would not be a suitable accommodation for someone who can’t drive, and spends the day indoors. I am in the kind of town that’s hard to live in without a car, and no public transportation.

It would have been different if he actually told you exactly that: parents who want to cook and don’t drive. He might have said that its his parents but not necessarily mention their inability to drive.
Would you decline him only based on a fact that it’s his parents ?

. I ment that very often people do not disclose facts regardless of IB or not. My Chilean cooks even asked me specifically about kitchen, and since I did not have anyone cooking like this before, I said, sure, why not. They could have just book me using IB, but they did ask which didnt make the situation any better.

Since you already wrote in your description about remoteness of your house, the only thing I can suspect that for the son it was totally fine that his parents are gong to be stuck In a house all day. Does he work close by? May be that was the reason why he booked with you?

Yana, yes I never expected to have guests use the kitchen full-time, but it is a lesson learned. It often takes actually experiencing it to know how to prevent it in the future.

Before actually declining this guest, I would have mentioned clearly that I live in the house too, and would have told him that out of consideration for his parents that he may want to reconsider bringing them due to the remoteness of the house and there are no attractions, nothing in walking distance, and no public transportation. It would have been out of fairness for me as well; I am sure it would have been annoying and discomforting for many hosts to take in people travelling and only hang out in the house and cook all day.

Dont get me wrong, I’d like guests to feel at home but not to the point where they take over it.

The son coming alone would have been no trouble at all, as he is out all day.

In my listing I put emphasis that I have a cat in the house, due to the number of people allergic to cats I wanted to be sure that was not overlooked. Perhaps I should put more emphasis on the remoteness of my house.

I only declined a guest once, because this person asked if there was a history of crime, such as vandalism, theft, etc. I found that very insulting. I live in a peaceful town and unable quiet neighborhood, and my reviews and photos should show that I’m not in a crime-ridden town.

Yana, yes, the son could have chosen me because I am fairly close to where his internship job is, and I see about no other hosts near me allow long-term stays, so that could be another factor.

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