Houseguest Horror Stories: Worst Nightmares from Our Readers!
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days. – Benjamin Franklin
Whether you’re crashing on Aunt Edna’s floral couch or hosting your in-laws for a week, the holidays are about bonding with loved ones in cramped quarters. We asked our readers to send us their most hair-raising tales of guests gone bad. Here are your houseguest horror stories!
I hate to say it, but my own brother is the worse houseguest I’ve ever hosted–but it wasn’t his fault. When you live in San Francisco, you get used to having people crash on your couch. That weekend, my brother had come up to the city to see a concert and planned to sleep in my living room. At the time, I lived in a two-bedroom with a roommate (a girl) I met on Craigslist and we were still getting to know one another.
My brother and I went to the show, came home, and fell asleep–but my roommate wasn’t home yet. A few hours later, I awoke to a loud commotion in the living room. “He punched me!” my roommate sputtered, pointing at my brother, who was shaking his head in confusion.
Quickly it became apparent that she had come home in the wee hours of the morning and my brother had been sleepwalking. He’s a notorious sleepwalker so this didn’t surprise me too much. Not being awake or knowing what he was doing, he weakly punched her in the stomach. After she started screaming, he finally woke up. My brother is a very kind and gentle guy and to this day he blushes beet-red at the mention of her name.
My husband’s cousin came to visit this last summer. It was the 1st time to meet her, even though they are adults. I was excited because she was our 1st guest in the brand new house we built. Well after 30 minutes I was not so excited. She implied that the neighborhood isn’t safe (it is one of the safest cities in North Texas), then she took out her red nail polish and started painting her toe nails on our new leather sofa, over our brand new carpet. When I asked if she could take the nail polish to the bathroom, because I didn’t want red nail polish in my living room, and it was giving me a migraine, she was insulted and had the biggest attitude. I woke up to make breakfast for my guest, to find my pantry smelling like cigarette smoke. None of us smoke, and the smell is a fast track to a migraine. She had been smoking all night and throwing the butts into the kitchen trash. My pantry and food smelled like cigarette butts for days. Let’s just say she is not welcome back to our home….family or not.
We had the dishonor of allowing the 18-year-old niece to stay with us. Right before her visit, we found out she got knocked up, so she couldn’t eat a lot of things because it made her sick. Fish and meat was one of them! Her diet consists of processed foods, so when we got a basket of fresh berries she held one up and said “What’s this? Hmm. Interesting”. We found out that she loves fresh strawberries, as she ate the entire basket and left 2 whole berries for my husband and I to share! On day 3 she was not feeling well, so we gave her the house key, the cell phone, and instructions to call us if she was going out. She did not leave the house, but instead went to the master bed room, cranked up the stereo, watched tv, and ate a crumbly baguette in our bed. When I went to bed for the night, some un-godly noise came out of the stereo and I had to change the sheets because they were full of crumbs. When I asked her if she was in our room or ate in our bed, she innocently replied “no”. By day 4, we were ready to toss the “houseguest” out. Fortunately, the remainder of the trip became more mundane, and we survived the 10-day visit, vowing not to do it again.
Presidential Pain the Butt
Oh gosh, this is horrible. I live in a studio apartment in downtown, Washington, DC. A family member invited herself to my place during President Obama’s inauguration, explaining she “Wanted to get away from the craziness.” I explained that we were expecting several millions of people to come to town that week — for perspective, we have a population of 600,000. “Too late!” she said, “I booked the flight!” [...]
I met her at National Airport, took the metro into the city, and when we got to my apartment, she immediately sneered, “This place is SO SMALL! How can ANYONE live here!” I think she used the word “Rat-hole” somewhere in there too. [...]
On her second day in DC, we went out to Georgetown. She refused to wear any warm weather clothing and insisted on the windbreaker she brought in her carry-on. It was about 17 degrees outside (I’m fairly certain that was the coldest week of the year). I had plenty of things I’d never worn before, and offered them in case she was iffy about wearing used clothing. Nope. None of it. It’s as though she wanted to be cold and miserable. So of course, she whined and moaned the whole way. She wanted to walk to Georgetown from my place in Dupont — about a half-hour commute — rather than take a cab. Ok, I can do that, I’m used to it. She wasn’t. She complained about the restaurant, how weird the food was (Italian), how crowded Georgetown was, how far away it was from Dupont, how boring it was, blah blah blah. Each day, she asked, “So what do you have planned for us today?”
What the…hey! I don’t remember her ever making an itinerary whenever I visited! Fortunately, I knew plenty of the museums and stores and restaurants, how to get there, when they were open, etc. No, she didn’t want to go to any of them. “That’s boring”, “Why would I want to go there?”, “Umm, no.”
Anyway, the whole trip was like this. She had not one positive thing to say about Washington — I kept track. Everything out of her mouth was some kind of insult about my lifestyle (20-something professional?), how cold the city was, how confusing it was (refused to take my tiny little fold-out map of the city/metro — in fact made fun of me for having one, saying “What, you don’t even know your own city?” — well no, the map is for guests). I paid for her food, her SmarTrip metro farecard, everything. I opened up my place during the busiest and most expensive week in Washington, DC since I’ve ever lived here, and didn’t get a single kind word from her, from beginning to end. It’s not that I expected a thank-you, but my god, at least don’t be such a snot.
The Idle Imposter (Courtesy of IgoUgo)
I was 22 and had just moved to San Diego. My dad told me that a young guy who works for him might come out, and would I mind if he stayed with me for a week or so? I said no, but a week later, Vince arrived. He arrived with little money, and soon, my food and beer disappeared. I restocked everything once, and when it disappeared again, I didn’t need to learn any more lessons. When he got too much sun and started to peel, Vince left his dead skin on my table in the living room. And he was extremely messy: his clothes were all over the living room, and then he started wearing my clothes.
I eventually called my dad and said, “What are you doing to me? This Vince guy is a nightmare.” My Dad said, “Vince? Who’s Vince?” I told him the guy’s full name, and he said, “He’s the janitor here, but he’s not the guy I was talking about. Vince must have overheard me talking to the other guy.” Vince promptly left my house after I hung up the phone.
My name: Alison Presley
Nickname: Presbo, because I'm good police.
How I earn my keep: I'm the manager of Travelocity's Travel for Good program. Visit Travel for Good to learn more about our green travel and voluntourism initiatives!
What kind of traveler am I: I'm an intrepid food explorer. I usually starve myself on the plane (not that that's too hard to do) so that the moment my toes touch foreign soil I'm ready to sample new and exciting cuisine. I like to dine everywhere from hole-in-the-wall local secrets to Michelin Guide gems. Cannelés, poi, boiled peanuts, oxtail soup, poutine--there's no stopping this adventurous palate.
Greatest travel lesson I've learned: It doesn't cost a lot of money to do good. Offsetting your carbon impact only adds a few bucks to your trip, green hotels are very affordable, and volunteering locally during your vacation is a great way to give back and learn about the culture.