Design People & Places

10 Things You Should Always Do When You Stay in an Airbnb

Staying in a stranger’s home on your next trip? To ensure a snag-free visit, follow these 10 rules gathered from seasoned travelers as well as Airbnb. With all that good behavior, you may wind up making a few new friends—or at least snagging a five-star rating.

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Follow the Three R’s

Are you and your host compatible? Find out by following the three R’s. First, read your host’s profile as well as the listing’s fine print. Second, research all reviews. Finally, help hosts learn a little about you by relating your story in the bio section of your profile.

Related: Have You Been to the Most Popular Vacation Spots in the United States?


Honest, respectful communication is the basis of any great relationship, including with your Airbnb host. The official Airbnb blog suggests contacting hosts directly with any questions that are not fully answered in their listing or profile.

Be Timely and Thorough

Be on time for both check-in and checkout. If you’re running late, contact your host immediately with your estimated time of arrival. Once you arrive, look over the space to make sure everything’s in order—and take photos of anything broken or unclean.

Follow the Rules

According to Jamie Ditaranto of Smarter Travel, you should always look for a booklet of house rules upon entering an Airbnb property. Not only will this booklet outline your host’s expectations, but it may also include local places of interest and restaurant recommendations.

Know How (and If) to Socialize

Some hosts live on-site and are ready and willing to be friendly with guests. Other hosts prefer “ghost guests” (unseen and unheard). Follow your host’s lead in terms of socializing. If you’d prefer minimal contact—or have a busy or unorthodox schedule—make that clear before booking.

Prepare Yourself

Airbnb’s success rests on trust, but be prepared for worst-case scenarios. Katie Genter has written an in-depth guide to dealing with shoddy living situations. Her tips: (1) contact the host; (2) know Airbnb’s refund policy; (3) follow up with Airbnb customer service immediately if the host doesn’t help you out.

Explore the Area (Virtually)

Before you arrive and definitely before you venture out into an unfamiliar neighborhood, use the internet to scope out your Airbnb’s surroundings. Make sure Wi-Fi is included in your booking, as this will make your stay infinitely easier.

Related: 12 Things to Do As Soon As You Check Into a Hotel

Tidy Up

A cleaning fee is often included in the total price of your Airbnb, but that doesn’t mean you should leave a mess. Hosts have the chance to rate guests, too, and leaving a clean, tidy space is one surefire way of garnering a five-star rating.

Do a Little Extra

Beyond tidying up, Alex Schechter of Travel +Leisure recommends that you take out the garbage before you leave, make your bed, always respect no-smoking policies, and keep any scents (candles, perfume, body spray) to an absolute minimum.

Leave a Note (or Gift)

A handwritten note has a bigger impact than a virtual thank-you. Also consider a small, house-appropriate gift. Though flowers are pretty, it’s better to choose gifts that are nonperishable. For instance, if you used up the host’s favorite artisanal coffee, replenish the supply.