Nowadays, before trying to book a hotel room for my travels, I first jump onto AirBnB to see if I can find a comparable and cost effective option there. With the booming sharing economy, there’s no doubt services like AirBnb are thriving and I am probably one of their big fans. While I do enjoy the hotel stay experience, sometimes factors like cost, availability, distance and additional amenities all make the AirBnB experience a much more enticing proposition. So here are some inputs on being a good AirBnb guest, wherever it is you decide to opt for that experience.
Before the stay: Read clearly what the description says for the space available to rent. Hosts are usually very specific about the terms and conditions of renting out their space. After all, it is usually a part of their home or a space they own that they are sharing with you. Be mindful of check in/out times, number of guests allowed, size of room or beds, where the bathroom is located, if parking nearby is available, and ask questions through the messaging service on the site if possible. Look at the images clearly and ask for more if there are spaces not covered. For example, if the host mentions a Jacuzzi and you don’t see an image, you can request to see one if you think you will be using that amenity. No plans in particular for where you are visiting? Ask your hosts! When I stayed with these AirBnB hosts in North Park, San Diego for a weekend visit, they were insightful in giving us us some great suggestions for local dining and sight seeing during our stay.
On the day of arrival: Stay in touch with your host about when you plan to arrive. If you will be earlier or later, give them a heads-up. Maybe they have plans for the day – you shouldn’t be the reason their plans are derailed. Much as technology is an aid, sometimes services like Google Maps or Waze can lead you to the wrong address so always double check on a few landmarks on how to get to your host’s location before you begin your journey. If you are flying in real late into the night or early morning, check with your hosts if you can still check in at that hour. They understand that flight and bus or train schedules are not in your control.
During your stay: When you check in, take a minute to make a mental note of how the space looks when it was handed to you. You want the space to look as close to that when you leave. I’ve even taken pictures sometimes so if I happen to move a table this way or make room for my bags then I can put furniture back where it was. Make the bed when you can, leave the bathrooms clean and treat the space you rent like you would like if guests were at your home. Hosts appreciate when you take care of their space like it is your own.
Treat the host and their space with gratitude: Be good, be kind, be caring. You are living in someone else’s personal space so be nice to them while you use their home. Don’t slam doors or talk loudly, keep your TV and music volumes low, clean up after yourself if you use a common space like their living, dining rooms or kitchen areas, and clean out the refrigerator if you use it to stock food and drink for yourself. If you do find that your hosts and you are home the same time, enjoy a meal together and get to know them. Most hosts love meeting new people and building friendships this way – its one of the best parts of the AirBnb experience that you will not find staying at a hotel or even a Bed and Breakfast. When a tropical storm had us homebound at our hosts' in Amelia Island, Florida, our hosts enjoyed some wine and conversation with us one evening and we shared some good old desi chai and biscuits with them!
After your stay: When you leave, make sure you have read any check out procedure and followed it as specified. Let your hosts know when you are leaving, especially if they are not around when you head out. Take one final look at the room or rental area to ensure nothing is amiss. I once dropped some makeup on the bed covers and let the host know right away, which they were appreciative of. And definitely leave them a good review once you are back home – AirBnB depends on reviews and star ratings for hosts and guests to know that the people they are hosting are well-behaved, courteous and kind. One of the homes we stayed in Echo Park, California for an extended period of time while apartment hunting, we ended up befriending the hosts and now visit them every few months for Sunday brunch!
I've never had a horrible AirBnb experience and as you can see, I've done it a few times! Hosts are very respectful and polite if you are as well. If you've experienced an AirBnB stay, I'd love to hear your recommendations and feedback in the comments below! If you'd like to try an AirBnB rental, try using the discount code link on the side bar on the right - you get a lower rate and I get a referral fee :)
This post is entirely my own opinion and experience. Neither the hosts nor AirBnb have sponsored this post in any way. None of the links to the specific properties are affiliate links. They are simply my recommendations should you choose to consider staying there.