Guests who disappear during long-term stay

I have had several long-term guests (30-90 days) since I started hosting a room in my home. Almost all of them have disappeared for a couple days at a time and when they come back, they tell me that they went on a short weekend sightseeing trip. I always tend to worry if I don’t see any sign of my guests after a day or so, and I worry that something has happened to them. I guess it’s just in my nature to care about my guests. So now it has happened again, although the strange thing is that my guest just got back from a trip prior to checking in, then left again after only being here 3 nights (she’s scheduled to stay a little over a month). Her stuff is still here, so I know she didn’t check out.

Anyway, in the future would it be rude to ask guests to inform me if they’ll be out of town during their stay or to send a message if I don’t see them after a couple days? I don’t want people to think I’m monitoring them, but I also don’t know if I should be filing missing persons reports or just let it be and assume their families would file a report if they were concerned. I typically am fairly hands off once a guest checks in and interact only as much as the guest seems to want. I’m not sitting around worrying all day, but it does seem odd to me to pay for accommodations and then leave for days at a time.

Well, that is an odd one… I’m not sure what I would do either. Maybe you could request in your listing that they notify you if they plan to be gone more than a day or two so you can "monitor the safety of their and your property?

I would think it’s common. For years, my wife and I have been renting whole houses for our vacations in Europe. They are always 7-10 day rentals and we usually plan at least one overnight stay that is several hours drive away.

I don’t know about most guests, but I wouldn’t be put off if you asked me to let you know if I was going to be away for more than 24 hours, or even if you sent me a message to make sure I was OK after being gone that long.


I don’t think it’s at all odd for a guest with a long-term booking to go off for a few days to visit other areas. If they only booked for 3 days and weren’t there for 2 of them, that might seem strange.
There’s nothing wrong with asking guests to please inform you if they are planning to disappear for a few days. Everyone should always tell someone else where they are planning to go and when they plan to be back, it’s just common sense safety. Ever see the movie “127 Hours?”
I’m a home share host who only hosts one guest at a time. I get a lot of single women, of all ages, and as it’s a 20 minute walk to town and the beach, I’ll ask them to text me when they are heading back. All have been grateful for the extra care. I raised three daughters and have a “mom” brain, and I would worry if a guest just didn’t show back up.
I also ask my guests for emergency contact info.


Yes, I agree with this. I live in a place with tons of attractions within a day’s drive, so I’m not surprised this keeps happening. I sent my guest a message just making sure she’s settled into her room and whether she needs anything, so we’ll see if I get a response.

I have the same issue. Hubs thinks I am out of my mind at times. I can go from “oh, I wonder where she’s gone to” to “should we call police and hospitals? Who was that fellow she said she was talking to last night? OMG, she’s decapitated in the ravine nearby! We have to do something!” within a 30 minute period.

Then the guest comes sauntering in an hour later and my guy is mouthing " You are a nutter" to me from across the room.


This whole topic is one of several reasons I would never allow guests to stay more than a few days – certainly not more than 29…

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Are we talking whole home type rentals?

My husband and I yearly go on an extended vacation overseas. We like to book a home base (whole apartment) for a month or so, and from there we will be taking a few one or two night trips to neighboring places. We can just pack overnight bags for our short trips, and not drag our large suitcases and all our stuff on the trains.

The way the world works now, my extended family back home can track me while on my travels. I don’t need hosts to track me for my safety.

The homes I host tend to be a month or more in the high season. I expect folks will take a few days in the middle to explore other areas of the state.

It never occurred to me a host would care if I stayed elsewhere a night or two as long as I was not staying in a shared space.

If you’re worried I would message them to say you were concerned that you hadn’t seen them for a few days and you were just checking everything was ok.

I’ve had plenty of guests disappear for the night and I honestly don’t think it’s any of my business. If I put myself in their shoes, I wouldn’t want a host to be so interfering. The guest rents the place for x number of days and it’s up to them whether they stay there all those nights or not.

My maximum stay is 21 days and for guests who are staying for that time, it’s not unusual for them to go on a trip for a couple of days. With shorter term guests, staying out overnight is sometimes, I assume, a hook up but I don’t know of course.

Your place, your rules! I think that if you do it in a caring way, that’s fine. Example - “hey, can you do me a favour? Sometimes I’ve had guests who haven’t come home for a couple of nights and I know this is silly of me, but I go into mother mode and start to worry about them. I know it’s silly but if you’re going to do that, could you let me know? I’m such a fuss pot about my guests and I get concerned that they’re okay…”

However, if you get a guest who goes out for the evening, finds a charming and delightful person and decides to go home with them for the night, they won’t be able to give you advance warning. :wink:

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I am about to host my first long term guests, (7 weeks). They are “winter Texans” from Canada. Our rental is a whole house next door to where we live. So I would know if they were gone. I think I will ask them to let me know if they are leaving for a few days, so that I can make sure the heat/AC is set appropriately and certain lights are left on. I would not have thought about this until yesterday when I had guests check out and left the heat set at 73. It was an oven in there. (And no I don’t have a smart thermostat or lights.) So my thought is I will just mention to them when we meet about leaving the property for a few days. Thanks for bringing it up!

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My first reaction is that I don’t want any host asking me to report my plans to them. But I also see the other side, but more from the management perspective – a time to get in the space and either change linens or just generally check on things. Maybe they are doing their own linens/cleaning so that’s not an issue. Still, I would tread lightly because it’s not your job to mother them, even if you are one. If I were staying in someone’s house, I would tell the host as a courtesy, but that’s me. Obviously your guests don’t feel that way and like someone else said, most people are already sharing their plans with family members/friends who will report an issue.

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Haha, nor would they want to stop and say “hold on, my host wants to know where I am before we go any further.”

It really is none of my business what guests do which is why I posted this topic in the first place. The last thing I want is for guests to feel watched or tethered down, and they deserve to be independent. I’ll try to not worry so much, because I think I would feel weird asking guests to let me know if they’re leaving.

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i understand that you do though and it’s hard not to. I had a girl in a wheelchair and I was fussing over her like a mother hen. I just had to explain to her that I’d gone onto ‘mum-mode’. I don’t see anything wrong in that. :slight_smile:

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I don’t have that happen but I would worry if I were in your situation. When guests arrive much later than I expected I always worry that they have been in a car accident. But I don’t message them and ask for an update. I wouldn’t be asking the guest to tell me their business. I’d hope that I have enough of a connection with them that they would tell me but if they didn’t, I’d suck it up. I figure when the police come around to interview me I’ll know something bad happened.


And our “Mum Modes” don’t have an off switch!!

I try and phrase it as polite interest “What adventures are you going on today? Oh, overnight with your sister in Naples? I love Naples! Have fun.” Then I make sure they’ve closed the blinds, turned off lights and ceiling fan, and empty wastebaskets, and give the loo a swipe.

They come back and they’re thrilled that all is tidy for their arrival.

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I’d love to do that if we were a home share. Because our rentals are separate apartments, I never go in during the stay unless invited. I don’t want to be accused if their laptop or camera has gone missing. Although next time I have guests who tell me that they’ll be away, I might offer to do a clean up and linen change for them - good idea. :slight_smile:

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Sticky situation that I have been in many times. For my Long Term Stayers I have always asked them to let me know if they are going to be away from the property for more than a couple of days for security reasons. You can always say this way you can clean change sheets etc when they are not here so you are not in their way.

I think most of us are talking here about a home-share situation. In my case, I only host solo guests, so it’s not like they are in a family or group who are all looking out for each other. But a single guest could have an accident or get really sick and not even be able to answer the phone if they got a call from family who was concerned because they hadn’t heard from them in several days. In that case, I should think both the guest and the family would be grateful if the host had an emergency number and got in touch with someone. I can’t imagine asking guests to give an account of their whereabouts if they’re staying in an entire house rental.

Exactly. I had a guest arrive, then go off into town (20 minute walk each way) to meet up for dinner and drinks with some friends who were also in town. She didn’t come back that first night. My assumption was that they’d had a few too many and she just decided to stay with them for the night. But I was still a little concerned- if she had actually walked back by herself in the dark, late at night, and had run into trouble, who would know? I texted her in the morning “You okay?” She texted right back, saying all fine. When she came back to the house, I apologized for checking up on her, saying I raised 3 daughters and just had a “Mom Brain”. She said she totally appreciated the mom brain, and thanked me for being concerned. She always texted me when she was ready to head back to my place for rest of her stay, so if she didn’t show up within 20-30 minues, I’d know something wasn’t right.