Alix Earle, a beauty and lifestyle influencer with 5.3 million followers on TikTok, recently shared a harrowing tale about how she and her group of friends got stranded in Italy. In Earle’s own words, “The girls’ trip took a turn” — and it was certainly an unexpected one.
According to Earle, they showed up for the vacation they had planned together and discovered the “scenic villa” they had allegedly booked didn’t exist, and their car service canceled. They walked out of the airport without their luggage, and security wouldn’t let them back in, stranding her group of 11 at midnight in a completely foreign city.
“We literally don’t know where to go,” Earle told the camera. “Eleven girls stranded in Positano.”
She also posted a full video breakdown of the entire saga with more details and explained they eventually found a tiny hotel room to share.
If you have to end up stranded with 10 girls, Positano might be exactly where you’d like that to happen. According to the city’s tourism guide, the cliffside village is “the most famous and iconic village on the Amalfi Coast” and features romantic winding streets filled with charming boutiques and bakeries, breathtaking views and beaches and beloved historical sights.
The commenters on Earle’s video seemed to feel similarly. While they were sympathetic — because everyone knows how stressful traveling can be, especially when things go wrong — it certainly makes things better if you are a widely popular influencer stranded in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
“Good thing you’re alix earle,” one commenter wrote.
“This is where your influencer money comes in to save the day,” remarked another.
Influencer or not, Earle’s TikTok is also a good reminder to triple-check any vacation housing you’re staying in. She said their booked house was “literally a scam,” and if a mega-influencer can fall victim to a housing scam, it’s probably safe to say anyone can.
Earle confirmed in the comments that they had used Booking.com to book their housing, but she didn’t specify how it resolved the situation.
“The fact that they messed up with the IT girl of the moment,” remarked one commenter. “Someone is about to get fired lol.”
A spokesperson for Booking.com told In The Know that Earle’s experience was a “very rare instance of an issue such as this.” The representative also alleged that Earle may have used a fake website.
“Upon investigation, we can now confirm that this fake villa listing was not booked via Booking.com, but instead found on a fake copycat website,” the Booking.com rep said. “We have subsequently been successful in requesting the website to be taken down. To ensure travel is legitimately and securely being booked through our platform, we recommend using the official Booking.com app.”
In The Know reached out to Earle about the allegations she used a copycat website and did not hear back.
Many commenters chimed in with similar experiences of housing scams while traveling. Others shared their tips for avoiding falling prey to scams.
For instance, some suggested looking at reviews online outside of the booking site, using Google Earth to confirm the house exists, sticking with a reputable site and, if you’re traveling internationally, using a travel agent who can verify everything for you.
Another solution? Be an influencer who can attract the attention of Airbnb itself because the very top comment on the TikTok was from the booking site, assuring Earle their people would be calling her.
But when all is said and done, part of the excitement of traveling is the unexpected twists and turns that make the best memories.
As one commenter put it, Earle’s saga was “great for the plot tho tbh,” to which the influencer agreed, replying: “That’s what I said.”
Then, on May 24, Earle posted an update and thanked Airbnb in her caption for “saving the day.”
“THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE,” she wrote alongside the footage of the group’s new lodging.
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