My guests from Brazil are heading down the highway in a snowstorm to go sightseeing. And I’m feeling a bit anxious about it. I don’t know why - it’s not really my problem to figure out if they know how to drive in snow or if they are aware of black ice. It’s not really my problem that the winter clothing they have seems inadequate (not dangerous just going to be uncomfortably cold). But I feel uneasy. Do you think it’s my responsibility to knock on their door and talk to them before they go or is that overstepping?
Not your responsibility! Concern, yes. Responsibility No.
That said, I would go knock on the door and explain the “facts of life in winter” wherever it is you live. I’m in Florida, and always remind “snowbirds” to wear sunscreen and be aware of the tide state “because I want to make sure you have a good stay.”
Responsibility as a host? Probably not, but it’s wise. It’s no more overstepping than giving advice about sights to see or restaurants to patronize. It’s in your best interest as well because if they do get stuck or in an accident they are probably going to contact you. So yes, I’d advise they stay in but they will do what they want.
Last night I noticed my guest had gone in their room and left the car door wide open. Looking at my ring alerts it had been like that over an hour. I texted them but they didn’t reply right away so I went out and pushed it closed, but it wasn’t latched. More than theft, my concern was one of our many feral cats getting in unnoticed for a ride tomorrow or spraying in the vehicle. After about 10 minutes they replied and went out and finished up and shut the truck. She said she was just extremely tired. It was all very worrying and I wouldn’t have been able to sleep if she hadn’t texted back.
I would stop by with donuts and say “I’m checking in to make sure everything in the space is as expected.” I then would say “Oh, it’s going to snow, please be careful of slippery and icy roads.” This way it doesn’t seem like you’re telling them what to do. Some folks don’t like.
Not overstepping at all. It’s what we are paid for - making sure that guests have a good (and safe) time.
Like @KenH I supply sunscreen, aftersun stuff, mosquito repellent etc. Also beachy things like sun umbrella, cooler, beach chairs and so on.
I have a ‘guest happiness kit’ in my house in case guests have forgotten anything.
It’s the words ‘host’ and ‘guest’ that say it all.
I warn my guests all the time if I get an extreme weather alert.
It happens a decent amount of time here. Conditions change on a dime and we have nasty rain, wind, lightning & hail at times. The saying is “If you don’t like the weather, wait 30 min.”
We also get a lot of frozen streets (over bridges) and flooded crossings.
Maybe mention they should leave you with an emergency contact in case something happens. That’ll communicate your genuine concern and maybe they’ll reconsider!
Turn around, don’t drown
(I get particularly homesick this time of year )
And I can’t forget Pets, Pipes and Plants.
When I first moved to NY, the first time they said that it was going to freeze (like in Sep or something, lol), I was out on our terrace looking around frantically when my now-husband said, “what’s up” and then cackled for 30 minutes when I told him that I couldn’t find the pipes to wrap them.
Regardless of the host/guest relationship, it just seems like a human “responsibility” to warn someone of a danger you have reason to believe they may be unaware of.
For instance, I warn my young single female guests that there are bars in this town where girls have been known to have rohipnal slipped into their drinks and caution them to watch to see that their beer is opened in front of them, as well as watching closely at the bar if they order a mixed drink.
While this is something women should be on guard about anywhere, people often let their guard down when they’re on vacation.
Side note about Mexico… years ago I always ordered beer or shots of tequila in MX. No drinks with ice because the blocks of ice were dropped off out front on the street. I was told there was ice for the ice coolers and different ice for the drinks but I didn’t trust it. Once I was sitting in a bar in the afternoon and a cat came in, jumped on the counter and licked the straws sitting in the holder there on the bar, where the napkins and limes were. Anyway, no ice or straws for me. The beer bottle tops always seemed safest.
I’m on board with caring for the guest.
I’ve called guests when they were going to be driving through a tropical storm (ok to check-in late; take breaks & let bands of storm pass, use Waze to avoid flooding) & I’ve texted screen shots of the NOAA rip tide warnings.
Like others, I supply bug spray & SPF 50 sunscreen.
It’s a human kindness, not a responsibility. I haven’t had the exact same situation, but I have had storms brewing that were expected to disrupt power and I always give guests a heads up and instructions on emergency lights, etc. I also tell them not to park under trees in my yard when high winds are expected. They can always layer their clothes but if they still plan to go out you might offer a blanket to borrow keep in the car in case they have any problem.
I even warn my guests about the Covid rates, vaccination rates and pro-Covid attitudes and behaviors in my county. I point them to the NYT Covid tracker to familiarize themselves with them data, so they can make an informed decision.
While it isn’t a situation of danger, I’ve had young female guests prance off to town for the evening, dressed in some cute little outfit that I know they are going to be uncomfortably chilly in by a couple hours after sunset, as while it can be quite warm during the day here in the winter, it can get quite chilly at night.
So I’ve done the mom thing on occasion, suggesting they bring a long sleeve something along for later. One who said she’d be fine told me the next day she wished she’d heeded my advice, she was freezing.
If you view yourself as an Airbnb landlord, and nothing more, than maybe it isn’t your responsibility. However if you view yourself as a host – paid or not – then you do have a responsibility to warn guests if their blind spots and unfamiliarity with local conditions puts them in danger… or even puts them at risk of haveing a horrible day.
I grew up in Quebec, and have worked high in the Rockies during winter, and I know full well that black ice is lethal – especially if you’ve never navigated it. How would you feel if you didn’t give them a heads up and one of their kids died in a crash… or they slid head-on into an oncoming car driven by someone in your own family. Honestly, I cannot fathom why this is even up for debate.
I’ve repeatedly vacationed on a remote Bahamas island for decades. Very rural, no doctor, just got electricity & phones 25 years ago. If I told my (non-Airbnb) host I was going swimming with my grandkids at a remote beach I saw on google earth I would expect him to warn me if it was known for dangerous undertow or shark attacks. If he didn’t warn me and I found out later he knew the dangers but kept quiet, I’d think “What an asshat!” and he would forever lose my goodwill.
If you do not have the social skills to offer guests a gentle “heads up” about lethal danger without appearing “intrusive” or feeling uncomfortable, maybe hosting tourists isn’t a good fit, because these really are core skills when strangers put themselves in your hands. As hosts, guests put themselves in our care, and part of “care” is speaking up if you see them blindly headed into danger (or even into non-lethal horrible experience).
I also don’t understand why it’s up for debate. It’s like seeing someone about to step off the curb when you see a car about to hit them and what, not shout out, because it’s none of your business?
I’ve read posts before where hosts are wondering what they should do if a guest has basically disappeared. One host said her young male guest had said he was going for a day hike and hadn’t shown back up for three days and wasn’t answering his phone. She was worried about him.
I was shocked at some of the responses- that he’s a grown up, not your problem, why worry? Meantime, he could have been lying in a ravine somewhere with broken legs, praying someone would come along and hear his cries for help.
That guest did eventually show up after 3 days and sincerely apologized when he found out how worried she’d been. He was young and independent and it had never occurred to him that his host would be concerned.
Well I didn’t mean to have a debate lol. I was just doing some reflecting on where the responsibilities begin and end. Is a host meant to do the “mom thing” like the poster up thread who told the young woman to wear more clothes to the bar? Do I tell a guest they shouldn’t go hang gliding because it’s too dangerous? Do I tell a guest they’re eating too many frozen pizzas and not enough veggies? How on earth do I give a crash course in winter driving anyway? Just little thoughts rolling around in my head and now @Sparky_O_Reilly says I need to quit lol
I did offer the guests gloves, hats and scarves. They weren’t interested. I gave them a quick rundown on safe winter driving which boiled down to “If you see snow, go slow.” (And no, it was not a major snow storm. I personally would have driven without a consideration. But I had sudden visions of the news stories about the unexpected snow in Texas with cars scattered across the highways).
Just to clarify, I didn’t actually tell her to wear more clothes to the bar
I just let her know that although it was warm when she arrived, that it had been getting quite chilly by a couple hours after dark, so I always bring along something warmer if I go out for the evening.
There are always people who think they know better and don’t heed advice (like they’re still teenagers- “Yeah, yeah, Mon, I know, you don’t have to tell me, I’m not a little kid anymore”) but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t let someone know about something they are likely not aware of. People who have no experience with weather in a certain area and might have zero idea how to drive safely in snow and ice should at least be offered a bit of concern and info. Whether they accept it or not is up to them. Sharing information, or offering some extra winter clothing if they don’t seem dressed for the weather isn’t the same as telling someone what to do.
And that’s nothing like telling them they should eat more vegetables, or that bungee jumping is too dangerous, but I assume you were being tongue-in-cheek about that.
Back in the heady days of megacruise ships, I was called to the visitor center on a rainy day to pick up a young honeymoon couple who wanted take a taxi to a trailhead to hike a very difficult trail to where they could walk on a glacier.
It was raining, and would rain all day. Temp was 45F/8C, so at the glacier air temp would be several degrees above freezing. They were wearing Teva sandals, no socks, shorts, and cotton tee shirts, covered with a $3.99 transparent plastic poncho. They had bottled water, but no food for a minimum 4 hour hike IF they were lucky.
I warned them about the hypothermia danger they were putting themselves into. They insisted that they had survived 2 years of missionary service and could live through anything. I refused the trip and advised the visitor center staff why it was unsafe, and asked dispatcher to not send another cab.
Hypothermia is the biggest killer of tourists in Alaska, not the wildlife.
They should pray for working brains.
You’re asking me? Who wants to warn guests of the dangerous roundabout 100 metres up from the house? (I bite my tongue).
I do have a sign on the pool saying “no diving” to avoid paraplegia/quadriplegia.
People can be in another world while travelling. This is a good thing and is part of the travelling experience, however if I am in a dream like state, I don’t want to end up dead because my host didn’t want to be impolite or “overprotective”. I love some of the formulas hosts have suggested as a way to broach the subject!
Please warn guests of potential dangers ! In Australia that will include snakes at this time of year. Hypothermia in the Blue mountains (NsW, Australia) is a possibility although heat stroke is probably more likely.
Imagine if the Thai soccer team had been talked out of the cave trip! A person died trying to save them.
Happy Christmas to all who celebrate it!