5 Things Vacation Rental Guests Should Always Do (and 3 They Don't Have To)

5 Things Vacation Rental Guests Should Always Do (and 3 They Don't Have To)

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Sarah Coffey
Jul 6, 2016

Renting a vacation home (or cabin or apartment) can be a great way to get a sense of what it's like to live somewhere else, but sharing personal space comes with a little extra responsibility for both hosts and guests. Think of it like a cross between your aunt's house and a hotel: A little etiquette goes a long way, but you don't have to go overboard. Here's our cheat sheet to being a good guest.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

5 Things Good Guests Always Do

1. Arrive and leave on time.

Unlike a hotel, your vacation rental doesn't have a 24-hour concierge — just a host who's probably organizing their day around your check-in schedule. Be mindful of the listing's check-in and check-out times, and send your host a message if you're running late. If the place is booked after you leave, they'll need a few hours to clean before their next guests arrive.

2. Strip the bed and group dirty linens together.

It's a nice gesture to strip the bed before you go, and pile your dirty sheets and towels by the washing machine. However, it's not necessary to make the bed or fold any linens, since your host will throw them all in the wash anyway.

3. Load and run the dishwasher before you go.

Respect your host and their time by washing any dishes you've dirtied. It's also a good idea to wipe down counters and leave the kitchen as you found it.

4. Empty the fridge and take out the trash.

Don't leave any of your own stuff in the fridge, unless it's a thank-you gift like a bottle of wine (in which case, leave a note letting them know it's in there). It's also common courtesy to dump all of the trash into one garbage bag and, if possible, take it out when you leave. Different hosts have different rules about trash, and you can always check their guidelines or ask for details if you're not sure what to do.

5. Write a note to say thanks or leave a review.

It's a big deal to share your home with someone, so it's nice to let your host know you appreciated their hospitality. A handwritten note is great, but it's possibly even better to leave a positive review to help boost their business. And unless you have serious reasons for posting a negative review publicly (like a no-show host or a dangerous environment), use Airbnb's private messenger to inform your host of any minor details about the stay that bothered you (like a burner on the stove that wouldn't light).

(Image credit: Monica Wang)

3 Things You Don't Have to Do

1. Vacuum, mop, or deep-clean.

If the microwave was dirty when you arrived, it's not your responsibility to deep-clean it for your host. You also don't need to worry about cleaning floors, unless you've spilled something. Many hosts post "House Rules" setting cleaning expectations, and there's no need to go above and beyond. You're on vacation, after all — and a cleaning fee is often included in the cost of your reservation.

2. Hang out with your host.

It's nice to meet your host when you check in, but you shouldn't feel any obligations beyond being communicative and friendly. There's no need to chat for an hour. If you're jet-lagged and the conversation's dragging on, politely excuse yourself. Just say, "Thanks so much for the warm welcome; I'm tired and think I'll turn in."

3. Leave a tip.

Airbnb hosts are service providers. They set their own rates and they can build in or add any extra charges they need covered, so tipping is unnecessary. If you want to show your gratitude for an exceptional stay, write a note or consider giving a small gift.

Hosts and guests: Any tips you've learned to keep everything copacetic on vacation?

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