I have been an Airbnb host since last December. It is seriously such an amazing platform. The sharing economy totally blows my mind. I’m all for it. The human connection it enables is so valuable. But it sounds so weird when you first think about it.
Hey, stranger whom I’ve never met. You’re cool with me staying in your home? Okay, sweet. But please don’t be a psychopathic serial killer and murder me in my sleep, ya hear? Okay, cool.
That was seriously the first thing that ran through my head several years ago when my friend Yasmin introduced the idea of Airbnb to me when we were planning a trip down to NYC. She heard about it from her mom, an avid couch surfer and couch hostess (is that what they are called?). Anyway, my experience with both hosting and being a guest of the platform has been nothing but incredible. Yes, sharing your home with someone you have never met is kinda intimate and there are sometimes unspoken feelings of vulnerability on both ends. But I think we need both of those things more than ever these days. In a world where we are constantly on guard, alert, and on edge – we NEED to feel connected to each other. We mustn’t let hate win by making us skeptical, hardened, and afraid. Hospitality is the opposite of these traits. By definition, hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. By sharing our homes – our sanctuaries – with others we build trust, openness, and kindness.
We had the opportunity to be guests once again, staying in adorable Airbnbs in both Portland and Seattle. The past week reminded me of what it’s like to be on the other end of the Airbnb experience. This inspired me to write a little blog on five tip about how to be a stellar AF Airbnb guest.
- Communication is key. Check in with your host the week before your trip if you have any questions related to your stay and check-in procedure if you have any further questions AFTER reading their rules + check-in guidelines which is available to you after you book. Make sure to read the hosts’ rules and guidelines to ensure that your stay is as awesome as possible. You must communicate your check-in time. On the listing, it will state what time you may check in. You don’t want to be that guest who arrives at the door 4 hours before check-in only to surprise your host who is not done preparing your room yet. That is stressful AF for the host. Most hosts are very flexible outside of their check-in times and you may be able to check in earlier or later depending on your hosts’ schedule. Many hosts allow you to drop off your bags early so you can do some exploring sans luggage until your room is ready. A day or two before I check in, I message my host and let him/her know what my ETA to their home is as a courtesy.
- On that note, be fucking courteous. In all of my travels via Airbnb so far, I’ve had to share a bathroom with the host(s). I do not find this inconvenient whatsoever and I’ve never had to wait to use the bathroom. Just don’t be a freaking bathroom hog. Shower as quickly as possible, clean up any hair (I shed like CRAZY), and be on your way so no one has to wait on you. One of my Airbnb hosts in Portland told me about a guest they had who would walk around in their underwear in the open. Before you leave, throw out the garbage if you have access to their trash cans outside. If not, gather all your garbage into one space so it makes it easier to clean up. Hosts only have 2-3 hours to flip the room and bathroom entirely before the next guest checks in, so anything you can do to help keep this task as simple as possible is much appreciated. I never expect my guests to strip the sheets, but when we are guests, we try our best to do so before we leave (if we have time) to help our host out.
- To shoe or not to shoe. Ask your host if it’s not stated in the rules if they prefer you to leave your shoes on or off. We’ve had guests track muddy shoes down our carpeted stairs and it takes a lot of work and time to clean. Tip: Most Canadian homes prefer guests to remove their shoes at the door.
- Leave a personal touch. If you wish, you may leave your host a thoughtful little reminder of your stay! (Optional) Our guests have left us the neatest little keepsakes that make us smile. We’ve received momentos like Polaroid selfies that guests have tucked into our guestbook and little confectionaries from their hometown. During our most recent trip, we left our hosts raw Drizzle Honey which is local to Alberta as well as a cute postcard designed in Calgary by my friendAlison of PaperLoverCo. to thank our hosts for their hospitality. We prefer to leave consumables so our hosts don’t have to feel burden with additional clutter in their homes.
- Leave a review, yo! Be sure to leave your host a detailed, honest review. It is also important to leave comments regarding the neighbourhood and amenities as well. It is an important part of the role you play in the Airbnb community. It’s super helpful for the next person interested in booking the same listing and the feedback is essential for Airbnb hosts looking to improve their hospitality skills.
Hope these tips are helpful to anyone planning an upcoming Airbnb stay. Safe travels 🙂
Send me an email if you have any other tips you would be willing to share for fellow Airbnb travellers!
P.s. How cute are these yellow stairs in front of our Airbnb rental in Portland?