Recently I wrote a post entitled ‘What To Expect From The Perfect Airbnb Experience‘. I had just come back from a birthday weekend away in Edinburgh, in the most beautiful Airbnb I had ever slept in, and couldn’t stop myself from documenting the experience. My flat had pristine white sheets, gorgeous furnishings, spotless surfaces and every utility I could ever ask for in accommodation – I loved it. The wonderful woman who owned the flat even sent me a small birthday present as a token of thanks for keeping the flat so tidy after we left, and it made our little Scottish adventure even more enjoyable.
The adventures you have on your holidays are only one small part of the trip. For a home bird like me, who struggles with alien cities and long haul travel, the comfort and security of my accommodation are a crucial part of my overall impression of a place, and can help me make a firm judgement on how much I’ll enjoy my stay there.
But I’ve always wondered what it must be like to host an Airbnb guest. To allow strangers into your home or property, with little information on them beyond a profile picture and small online biography. You take their money, and in many cases, never even see their faces – yet they sleep in your bed, use your bathroom, watch TV in your living room…It must be so strange to think that someone else will be calling your house ‘home’, even if only for the short amount of time they stay there.
Which is why at every Airbnb I stay at, I do several key things to help my hosts feel respected after letting me stay. I can’t imagine the effort that goes into to making a home feel ‘guest-ready’, and I really do appreciate the work that goes into it. So here are my top tips on how to be the perfect Airbnb guest:
Communicate With Your Host
It’s always a little nerve-wracking staying in an unfamiliar home for the first time. Without the security and customer service of a hotel, your Airbnb is your responsibility alone for every day that you stay there. So if you have any questions – don’t be afraid of communicating with your host before your stay. If you want to know the wifi password, how the door locks, what the area is like – do all possible prep before your stay, not once you’ve arrived, as it gives your host time to get everything perfectly ready for your arrival in advance.
Highlight Issues Early
Similarly, if you do arrive and there’s an issue, alert your host to this straight away to give them enough time to fix it. When you first step through the door, make sure that everything you were promised is there – kettle, TV, locks, keys, electricity, bedding, etc… If anything is missing, the more time you give your host to deal with the issue, the better for both of you!
Keep It Tidy
Whilst there, your host might need to pop in and out for various reasons (sidenote: they should only do this with your permission, and if they do come in without asking and make you feel uncomfortable, this is something you should report to Airbnb/leave on your review as soon as possible), so keep it clean. Whilst your host should be ok with you making yourself at home in their property, it’s always difficult popping in to find clothes everywhere, piles of dishes, dirty kitchens and general chaos in your living room. So when you get a spare five minutes, make the bed, hide your dirty pants, and put your mug in the sink. Small touches can make a difference to a nervous host.
One of the touches I leave behind when staying in an Airbnb (as opposed to a hotel) is leave a ‘thank you’ card somewhere obvious for my host to find. I’ve yet to have a bad stay in an Airbnb, so every card I’ve left has been fully waranted, and I’m always happy to show my gratitude to a good host. If your Airbnb has any small extras, such as milk in the fridge or a hamper of local food in the kitchen, this is great to include in your thank you card. But even if they don’t, this is still a person who has opened their home up to you, left it in a cared for state, and provided you with shelter for your stay in a new city – it’s always nice to show your appreciation.
Leave A Great Review
Whilst my list of reviews on Amazon might be a little on the short side, my Airbnb reviews are so important to my trip, and to my host, that I always leave one. Perhaps it’s a travellers anxiety thing, but I religously read the reviews of Airbnb accommodations before I book them. If there’s a mention of intrusive hosts, un-safe areas, faulty locks or worrysome neighbours, I actively avoid – but reviews citing beautiful views, friendly hosts, central locations and attractive decor instantly draw me in. Which is why, when you leave a review, you should be as honest as possible about your host – to boost their profile and status on the site, and to help them do well in their Airbnb experience.
Finish Off The Job
As our stay in Edinburgh was one of my first Airbnb experiences, on the day we left, we made sure to clean up every inch of our flat. This might have been a little more neccesary for us, as Stephen had pretty much covered the living room in balloons and banners for my birthday (adorable, right?), which all had to come down without a trace. But our Airbnb host was so grateful, as it made her job a lot easier when expecting the next guests after us. So make sure you know your check out time, strip the beds, do the washing up, wipe the surfaces, pack up everything, don’t accidentally pack anything that isn’t yours (we might have been chased down by an Airbnb host once for somehow packing their hairdryer instead of ours), and make it look as good as it did when you first stepped inside.
Airbnb is one of my favourite ways to travel, and although hotels can be fun, there’s nothing like the indepedence of your own mini-home in a new city to help you relax. So be the best guest you can be, and you’ll be helping your friendly host to do an even better job of hosting you!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s post – I’m currently doing Instatober this month, which means a carefully curated Instagram post every day in October over at ‘nikkismccaig’! I’m using these posts as a form of online diary, so make sure to check out my captions as well to find out what I’ve been up to that day as well! Have a great week!
P.S – if anyone is looking to stay in this gorgeous Airbnb from the photographs, I would highly recommend it. This beautifully decorated one bed in Cardiff is owned by Bec, who was a wonderful host, and inspired me to write this post!