Airbnb etiquette tips for hosts and guests

Airbnb: It seems like everyone you know is doing it, whether hosting or staying at one. One of your buddies claims she pulls in an extra G a month just renting out her spare room; you, yourself, are traveling soon, and you’re too cheap for a hotel, too old for a hostel and not exactly stoked on sleeping on a couch.

But is there a code of ethics or some universal rules and regs the Airbnb community lives by? Indeed, there are. The following tips for both hosts and guests will guarantee you a pleasant stay and (hopefully) rave reviews.

Host tips

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Keep it clean
There’s an old saying: Cleanliness is next to godliness. Staying in a complete stranger’s house is already a hurdle for some guests, and an unclean stranger’s house? Yikes.

So, if you don’t hire a cleaner, scrub that bathroom, keep the room for rent minimal, sweep/hot-mop the floors — the works. Many amenities your Airbnb might lack when sized up to others in the area can be overlooked for a spotless, sparkling clean vibe. Oh, and dust, too!

Communicate
Don’t go radio silent on a guest. That’s just annoying. Be readily available to answer any and all q’s; that surely gives your guests peace of mind, especially when they’ve been planning this stay for months.

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Be transparent
The great Colombian dance prophet Shakira once said, “My hips don’t lie.” But you know what do? Photos.

As a host, don’t fudge on your Airbnb unit/room/home’s photos. No guest likes a bait and switch; they like to know exactly what they’re getting themselves into. On top of that, be completely honest with them if you have finicky neighbors, a shower that might take 45 seconds for the hot water to show, etc. Never surprise a guest with withheld details.

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Give them a tour
Don’t just leave them a key under the mat and say, “Good luck.” Welcome them in, show them around, tell them where the lights are, if the plumbing has any issues, etc. Go over any rules/requests and let them know you’re available (and how to get in touch).

If you can’t be there, message them on Airbnb’s site and give them directions or introduce yourself when you get home. Out of town? Appoint a trusted friend to play host for you.

Leave a list of recommendations
Let your guests know about the cool restaurants, bars, cafes, farmer’s markets, hikes, common happenings, beaches and more in the area (with distances if they’re driving/walking). You’d be surprised how little visitors know about their destination, so take the extra step to inform them. They greatly appreciate it.

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Provide welcome beers
Or waters. It’s just a nice, gracious touch; usually, no one’s in the best mood after a five-hour plane ride or rental-car-office runaround. A small peace offering goes a long way toward easing any travel tension.

Guest tips

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Treat your Airbnb as you would want your home to be treated
This should go without saying. Don’t break stuff, keep the joint clean, put trash in the bins and wash your dishes.

Ask the hosts for dining/entertainment recommendations
Because local knowledge is the best knowledge. (If I had a nickel for every amazing tip a local host has given me along the way …) Locals also usually know where the cheaper eats/drinks are — essential for budget travelers. Speak up if they haven’t left you a list already.

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Don’t be too needy
Communicate with your host, but don’t overdo it, bud. No need to show up on their doorstep each day with a new concern, request or complaint. You’re a big boy/girl; figure it out.

Guests: Leave the room how you found it. Photo: Beau Flemister

Follow any house rules
If they say no smoking, then don’t do it on the patio; go off-property, down the street, etc. Asked to keep the noise down? Then get rowdy at a bar, not in their home. Causing friction with the neighbors is a sure way to get a hell of a bad rating (not to mention bad karma).