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Guests from India and what’s the deal with toilets?


I’ve had my Airbnb for 1 1/2 years. We’ve had great guests-all from America. However, this past weekend we had two separate bookings from Indian people. The first family-mom, dad and two kids were very sweet. However, they were fascinated with our toilet. We figured they flushed it every few minutes during their one night stay. When they checked out, the husband came back to the door and said he forgot something. My husband said he came in, ran upstairs to the Airbnb,
flushed the toilet and left. What? The next night we had 4 engineering students from India. Same thing. A fascination with our toilet and shower. The students have been here on a visa for college, so surely they’re familiar with American luxuries like toilets.
We had several translation issues with both groups. They didn’t read the house manual, left lights on, couldn’t figure out how our keyless entry worked, and tried to get us to waive our extra person fee. The students were a lot more confused than the family. Talk about needy. They left for the day and came back at midnight. They couldn’t figure out how to get back in. It was so late we were already asleep. And these 4 were engineering students.
I’m perfectly fine with having guests from
Other countries. I just think you should be prepared for anything and everything.
Explain how things work and assume they’ve not read anything or maybe tried but didn’t understand.


You come across as judgemental, completely devoid of awareness of other cultures and therefore distressingly ignorant.


It sounds like you haven’t factored in how to support guests who don’t have English as a first language who book your listing. To be honest you come across as rather culturally insensitive and patronising.

Would you be able to read a house manual in Hindi, Urdu or Gujerati if you travelled to India? If you came across a lock system you weren’t used to, would you be able to read instructions in those languages to help you use it?

Knowing you had guests travelling from a different country, diid you or a manager personally show them around the premises and how to use the keyless entry and other key facilities at your listing?

Lots of people who are unfamiliar with Airbnb might ask you to offer discounts or waive fees.

A modern toilet is not an ‘American luxury’ nor an US invention. We have them around the world including in India.


do you have a weird toilet with one of those like pull strings or something? or just a normal toilet?


What??? I was getting more and more annoyed as I read the post and then read that toilets, yes, toilets, are an American luxury? What on earth do you think people in other parts of the world do?

Don’t you have a translation app on your phone for when you’re hosting people from other countries?

Would you be able to get by in Mumbai unless you had people who spoke English to help you? And by the way, it’s called ‘English’. 'American is different and you can’tr even claim that you invented that, let alone the toilet.

Oh, believe me, most people from other countries hear plenty about America and do arrive prepared for anything.


I used to have long-term renters who were Engineering students and Pharmacists students. They had trouble with common sense things, too. But I chalked it up to youth and their not used to living away from home.


To be fair the majority of Indians are bilingual as English is a language of administration there (‘Hinglish’). Even I find American English a challenge sometimes. However I think there is probably a cultural issue, India is not such an individualistic and independent culture, they would be happy to help others out and don’t get that Western cultures find that burdensome.


So do I and I’ve lived in the US for more than 20 years. And a lot of the time, people don’t understand my Yorkshire accent.

But then again, I find it hard to understand a lot of English accents in England!



Perhaps you are referring to yourself @astralita12 in fact?

Time to get you up to speed, India is famous for attempting to tackle its scourge of public defecation and lack of toilets.

The Wire: At 732 Million, India Tops List on Number of People Without Access to Toilets: Report

India, the world’s second-largest country by population, has the highest number of people (732 million) without access to toilets, according to a new report.

The report by WaterAid, titled Out Of Order:The State of the World’s Toilets 2017, further stated that 355 million women and girls lack access to a toilet. If they were to stand in a line, the queue could circle the Earth more than four times.

India’s low ranking on the sanitation index is despite the changes brought by the government’s Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission. Launched in October 2014, it increased the country’s sanitation coverage from 39% to 65% by November 2017, according to government data. In this period, 52 million household toilets were built in rural India.

The cleanliness campaign has reduced the proportion of people defecating in the open by 40%, meaning more than 100 million people now use toilets, according to the WaterAid report.

India also ranks sixth among the top ten nations working to reduce open defecation and improving access to basic sanitation. The percentage of population without access to at least basic sanitation fell from 78.3% in 2000 to 56% in 2015, according to the report.


The West Country accent can be a case in point. If guests from abroad chance upon a native accent they are realy flummoxed!


I was once talking to my son (also from Yorkshire) here in Florida and an American work colleague who was also there was totally convinced that we were speaking in a completely different language.

I try to speak as clearly as possible with guests but I did have one who was completely flummoxed when I referred to the ‘tin opener’ rather than the ‘can opener’.


Reminder that India is educated with British English not “American” English.

If you have a problem with people in our wonderful country speaking in languages that you do not understand, remember that not only is there no ‘national language’ here, and there are many available ways to educate yourself to speak other languages. I, for one, am always in awe of folks who can speak English and another language.

PS when people are caught on camera admonishing someone to speak English in a public setting (often saying that the speaker should ‘go back to their country’ etc) are considered… a**holes. They are certainly not considered enlightened or ‘patriots’ lol


First off, I resent the accusation I’m somehow racist. Please. If I were, I would not have allowed anyone from another country into my home. Yes, we did explain everything to both families-repeatedly. Their command of the English language was quite good. If I were to spend time in another country, I would be expected to understand their culture, customs and language at least in some level. I lived in Europe for 8 years, so I can tell you I’m qualified to say this.
They were very nice guests, but I felt there were some oddities others might like to know: it might help with guests you may have from other countries. Be prepared for anything and everything. Be ready to explain things and know that they might not understand even then.
I welcome guests from other countries. We enjoy the diversity. I’m Not living under a rock, like some of you suggest. Take your accusations elsewhere. My post was meant to inform, not stir up WWIII!


Oh please @TotalAirHead. Just because there is a lack of indoor sanitation in some rural and poorer areas in India doesn’t mean that the majority of Indians aren’t acquainted with indoor plumbing. How patronising.

Time for you to get up to speed with how life is for wealthy Indians who can afford to travel to the U.S.

It is a great shame that India’s government doesn’t do more to address the issue of a lack of sanitation and clean drinking water for its poorer population.


You talking to yourself @Helsi?

I never said the majority of Indians aren’t acquainted with indoor plumbing.

Just for you:

Wikipedia: Straw man argument


Oh dear @TotalAirHead now you are just making yourself look rather silly.

Why would you make a post that was mainly made up of a quote about lack of indoor sanitation in India unless you were trying to trying to link that to the OPs original post?


Rude, and champion of the Straw Man


I’m a bit confused here:

And then:

Which? All guests from America or guests from other countries?



To me, this is like saying ‘some of my best friends are [insert minority of your choice here].’

Under Airbnb’s anti-discrimination rules, you aren’t permitted to have that attitude and use the platform.

About what exactly?


I’ve made something of a study of toilets. Even flush ones tend to differ a lot country to country. Traditional American ones are huge and when you flush them they fill almost to the top before suddenly emptying out. In Australia we have mostly dual flush toilets these days due to droughts and water restrictions which are very efficient. As India has been installing a lot of flush toilets recently they are probably fascinated by how much American toilets fill up. At my old work in Melbourne where we had a lot of visiting Indians there were signs on the back of the door showing that they were not to be used as squat toilets (by standing and squatting on the seat!). i thought this patronising and unnecessary until one day I went in and someone had tried to use it as a squat toilet and missed.

My “favourite” toilet was in India, not a squat toilet but a pig toilet at a restaurant in Goa. You climbed a little set of stairs to where you sat on the throne, did your business and if you looked down you could see one of the yard pigs happily cleaning up after you. After that I didn’t order the pork on the restaurant menu.


The cleanest public toilet I have ever been in, bar none, is the one on the foreshore at Mumbai. Just saying.

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