Without a doubt, the sharing economy has shaken up the travel industry. Travelers are engaging with locals more than ever thanks to companies like Airbnb, which not only let you find reliable accommodations on the road, but also allow you to review the people you meet in order to praise them on their good service…or warn other travelers about misleading listings.
Though Airbnb’s user reviews empower travelers to make educated decisions, what’s not often considered is that your hosts can also review you. The feedback you get on your Airbnb page is important because if your host condemns you as a bad guest, it’s not very likely anyone else is going to want to welcome you into their home.
The most important thing to remember when using to Airbnb and other homesharing sites is that you’re not staying in a hotel. You are staying in someone’s home, and therefore the rules are different. Here are our 10 commandments for how to be the best homesharing guest you can be.
Thou Shalt Read the Whole Listing
Many hosts have done an excellent job building out their listings with all the details they could muster, so make sure to go through the whole thing before barraging the host with questions they might have already answered in the listing.
Thou Shalt Not Ask To Pay in Cash
Don’t try to go around the system and offer to pay outside the site. Airbnb’s no cash policy protects both hosts and guests. Your money is much safer when you stick to electronic payment. Even asking can make your host feel uncomfortable and start your relationship off on the wrong foot.
Thou Shalt Not Lie About How Many People are Coming
Your host might have specific reasons for limiting the number of people they allow in their homes, so it’s best you let them know the exact amount of people who plan on coming with you. Additionally, if you’re planning on bringing guests over, run it by them first.
Thou Shalt Let Your Host Know If You’re Running Late
Most likely your host isn’t sitting around all day waiting to let you in, so if you can’t keep to the arrival time, let them know. This way you’ll be able to coordinate better and make the check-in process as smooth as possible.
Thou Shalt Read the Rules and Follow Them
When you check into your Airbnb, you’ll most likely encounter a booklet of “House Rules.” You should familiarize yourself with the guidelines the host has laid out; these packets also tend to have good information about local activities and restaurant recommendations.
Thou Shalt Be Considerate of Your Neighbors
If your host is not staying in the same home as you, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the whole place to yourself. Be considerate of your host’s neighbors, especially if you’re staying in an apartment building. If you’re being loud and disruptive, your host is going to hear about it.
Thou Shalt Respect Their Pets
Staying in a homeshare with pets can be really exciting for animal lovers, but it’s important to remember that they’re not your pets. Be considerate of the host’s rules. If the dogs are not allowed on the couch, don’t invite them to sit with you. Similarly, don’t roughhouse with them or slip them extra pieces of bacon from the breakfast table without permission.
Thou Shalt Not Steal Their Stuff
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it happens. You shouldn’t steal towels from your hotel, and you definitely should not steal anything from your host.
Thou Shalt Keep Your Mess to a Minimum
Most Airbnbs have cleaning fees that are added on by the hosts, who set the price. But just because you’re paying for them to clean up after you doesn’t mean you can destroy the place. Leaving the bed unmade is one thing, but please don’t be gross and give your host a reason to complain.
Thou Shalt Show Your Appreciation with a Note
And finally if you really want to seal the deal, show your host how much you appreciated their hospitality with a handwritten note or even a small gift. It’s simply a nice thing to do and if it leads to a good review, even better!
More from SmarterTravel:
- How the Sharing Economy Opens New Doors For Travelers
- Airbnb Wants to Plan Your Whole Trip
- The Definitive Guide for Airbnb Newbies
Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer and likes to give her hosts a small Polaroid photo of their pets or home as a token of thanks. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.
(Photo: Young woman at home sitting on modern chair