There are many reasons to love and utilize an Airbnb when traveling: They’re frequently much cheaper than hotels, you can have access to things like kitchens or laundry facilities, and you’re able to see the city you’re visiting through a local lens (just to name a few!).
And an integral part of your Airbnb experience is, of course, the interaction you’ll have with your host. This communication can have a hugely positive experience on your stay and how you enjoy where you’re visiting. So before your next Airbnb booking, follow these five easy rules to ensure you’re being the best guest possible.
1. Communicate thoroughly.
Source: Nordic Design
It sounds simple enough, but the single most important thing to do as an Airbnb guest is to communicate. From the moment you inquire about a listing, make sure your communication game is strong. Be clear about the dates you’re looking at, don’t leave out any details, and ask any (and all!) questions you may have. If you’re wondering about when the listing is available, how many people the rental accommodates, or if kitchen supplies are included, it’s best to ask upfront to avoid any issues down the road.
Once you’ve booked, be clear with your host about when you’ll arrive and your estimated departure time. They’ll be able to do a better job hosting if they get clear information from you about the details of your stay from the get go. This is especially important if you’ll be sharing a space with your host versus renting an entire unit. You want to be respectful of your host’s time and space, and communication is the best way to ensure that happens.
Clear communication will also allow you to establish a good relationship with your host. One of the best parts of travel is the opportunity to meet new people in the city or town you’re visiting, so why not start with your host?
2. Respect house rules.
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In addition to general Airbnb rules, each listing has individual rules you should read carefully prior to your stay, and be ready to follow. The rules vary from listing to listing, but they’re always there for good reason and as a good guest, it’s paramount to respect them. Though they may be simple (such as “no noise after 11 p.m.” or “no extra guests or visitors”), take the extra two minutes to review them. Your host will appreciate it, and you’ll likely get a lot of the questions you have about your rental answered as result.
In general, try to pay your host as soon as you decide to book, pay in the appropriate manner (through the Airbnb site directly instead of asking to pay separately via cash or other payment service to avoid the Airbnb fee), and be honest about your stay (including the number of people you’ll be staying with).
3. Review the details.
Source: A House in the Hills
Before committing to an Airbnb rental, be sure you’ve read the listing from top to bottom. While hotels tend to go out of their way to assist guests, this may not always be possible when renting a space, so more responsibility is on you to understand what you’re getting into. For example, if you plan to cook in your space regularly, a studio with nothing more than a microwave may not cut it. Think about what’s most important to you during your stay, and look out for those details in the listing.
You’ll also want to pay close attention to reviews and be sure that you’re well aware of any issues that other renters have dealt with. Problems within the apartment (like plumbing issues), difficulty contacting the hosts, and issues with the neighborhood are some of the big ones to look out for. Reviews aren’t the be all, end all when it comes to a listing, but they can be very telling (in good ways too!) so be sure to read before booking.
Once you’ve arrived at your Airbnb, you’ll likely find a document (like a house guide) that contains answers to questions you may have. These vary from one-page sheets to multiple-paged binders, but it is the single most helpful thing as you get acquainted with your rental. It should include instructions on how to work the TV, where the air conditioning controls are, what areas are off-limits, etc. This will help you avoid calling your host at 1 a.m. for the WIFI password.
4.Leave your rental in the same (or better!) condition.
Source: Digital Trends
This one should be a given, but you should always leave your rental in pristine condition. Take the trash out before you leave, pick up after yourself, and remember, this is someone’s home you’re staying in! Treat their belongings with respect, and if you accidentally did damage property during your stay, be honest and upfront with your hosts. Accidents happen, and your host knows that. Because you’re staying in a home, there may be rooms or closets that are restricted during your stay. Respect your host’s privacy, and be sure to only stay in the areas of the rental that are available to you.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to stay with an extra-special host that’s gone above and beyond to help, consider leaving a gesture of appreciation. Something small like a handwritten card, some chocolates, or wine can go a long way in making a host know how much you’ve appreciated them.
5. Don’t expect a hotel.
Free toiletries daily, turndown service, and a housekeeper cleaning up after your mess are all things we love about hotels, but it’s important to remember that an Airbnb is very different from a hotel. Nowadays, it’s fairly common for hosts leave toiletries or snacks for guests, but this shouldn’t be expected (or required). Be sure to bring all essentials so you aren’t scrambling to find shampoo or a hair dryer while traveling. Each listing will include a list of items that the rental will have available to you (such as towels, WIFI, kitchen utensils, etc.) so you can plan your packing list accordingly.