Airbnb Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts: How To Be a Good Guest and Get Glowing Reviews Every Stay

Airbnb Etiquette Guide For Guests
Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

Our hot take on Airbnb etiquette: things we do as considerate guests and what we skip altogether. 

Airbnb is one of the favored short and long-term homestay companies travelers and renters use when looking for a place to stay while traveling. It’s a great platform that connects hosts to individuals looking for accommodation in different locales around the globe.

With 6.6 million listings worldwide, Airbnb offers unique stays like beachfront villas, log cabins, catamarans, castles, and more. Also, it’s often cost-effective, especially if traveling as a large group. 

Though some people have horror stories to share, regarding Airbnb etiquette for guests, it all comes down to how you’d behave when staying in someone’s home; Airbnbs are not hotels. At least, this is our approach, anyway. You could approach these stays like hotels, but there are subtle differences.

With nine years of experience and 18 glowing reviews, we’ll cover Airbnb guest cleaning expectations, Airbnb tips for guests, Airbnb checkout etiquette, and more.

This blog post is written by Victoria Jean-Louis.

Airbnb Etiquette For Guests: How To Be a Good Airbnb Guest

Despite Airbnb’s cleaning fees being excessive lately, we believe as guests, being courteous is important and fair. 

So, what is Airbnb etiquette? 

Airbnb guest etiquette is manners or “house rules” guests adhere to when booking a rental. 

Hosts provide basic amenities such as toilet paper, towels, soap, linens, pillows, and more. Hosts should be responsive and avoid canceling reservations. Optional amenities include coffee, tea, kitchen essentials, wine openers, books, board games, and more.

Guests expect the home to be clean, the listing accurate, and timely support during their stay. 

These are all expectations. However, Airbnb etiquette exceeds expectations, leaning more toward common courtesy.

While debatable, we believe in treating Airbnbs like you’d want someone to treat your home or personal space. That means tidying up and leaving the rental in decent condition upon departure. 

Hotels vs Airbnbs: What’s the difference?

Staying at an Airbnb or equivalent isn’t for everyone. For those who don’t want to do “chores,” stay at a hotel or resort with housekeeping. But then again, some hotels limit housekeeping to every few days, while some offer none. 

At a hotel, you can be as sloppy as you want — unless stated otherwise, room service will clean your room daily: make your bed, take out the trash, and scrub the bathroom. 

But this isn’t the case with Airbnb, where traditionally, your accommodation is cleaned before check-in and after checkout. Essentially, you are responsible for tidying up your accommodation. 

Although there’s a cleaning fee built into each reservation, it doesn’t take too much effort to tidy up. Right? 

Airbnb guest etiquette gets you a pleasant stay and, if it matters, a great review from the host.

Here are 11 things guests who appreciate Airbnb etiquette should take into consideration.

1. Hosts love when you communicate: give the host a heads-up when you’ve arrived.

Ask questions as needed, set expectations, and keep your host updated. 

Being punctual is probably the most respectful thing you can do when using Airbnb. 

If you come across any issues with your arrival time, communicate with your host. Send a quick note via the Airbnb app with an estimated arrival time (ETA). This way, they can accommodate your needs to the best of their ability.

2. Don’t ask hosts for a crazy deep discount without a good reason. If you’re in the military, definitely ask.

The last thing you want to do is overwhelm a host or make them feel their property isn’t worth their listed price. If you’d like to ask for a discount, be reasonable. And if you’re in the military, law enforcement, or a school teacher, definitely ask. The worst thing they can say is ‘No.’ 

3. Wash dishes or at least place them in the dishwasher or sink.

What about Airbnb cleaning etiquette? 

We believe the rental you’ll be staying in should be treated as your own. While some rentals are second homes and rental properties, remember that many Airbnb hosts rent out their personal space.

The average person appreciates a clean kitchen, so pay it forward after use.

Washing the dishes or at least putting them in the dishwasher is an easy task. We typically leave what we used out, even if washed, on the counter so the host is aware – they just might want to take a second pass at it.

Whatever you do, do not put dish soap in the dishwasher — it will be a disaster!

4. Follow trash instructions like putting trash outside in a bin.

Cleaning up trash you’ve collected during your stay is the sanitary thing to do. This prevents a smelly and dirty home. Though the host may not require this, it’s common courtesy. 

Be mindful that some hosts may have specific instructions about putting trash in specific bins, like recycling or composting, or outside of the home. 

Before checking out, refer to any instructions in the manual to ensure compliance. 

5. Leave dirty towels and linen in a pile.

Stripping the beds and running the washer is optional. The host will take care of that; however, you’d do them a favor by putting all dirty linen, towels, and sheets in a pile. This way, they’ll know what’s been used and what hasn’t.

6. Check-out on time or ask for an extension ahead of time.

How about Airbnb etiquette when leaving?

Once you book an Airbnb, you must meet the check-in and check-out times assigned by the host.

Checking out later than scheduled wastes hosts’ time. They have a responsibility to clean the home for the next guest, so don’t be the reason they are unable to do so. 

If you come across an issue with your departure, ask for an extension ahead of time so your host can consider and prepare. Or simply keep communication open throughout your stay. 

Hosts are not required to accommodate you outside check-in/out hours. If they do, it’s a courtesy. Your request may get denied, don’t take it personally.

7. Turn off lights when you leave or when not in use.

If you’re not using a light, turn it off.

If you’re getting ready to leave, and all the lights are on, turn them off. This conserves energy and simultaneously reduces energy costs.

8. Make bed (optional). 

When you book an Airbnb, that’s your space for that time. If you want to make your bed every day, this is optional. There’s no requirement or expectation. 

Regardless, the host will clean all sheets after your stay. 

In all honesty, we don’t always get to do this, but we try our best.  

9. Turn down the heat or AC when checking out — follow instructions. 

When it comes to the heat or AC, if a host has specific instructions on how to operate the system, follow them. If not, just make sure you leave the system the same way it was set up when you arrived. 

 10. If you break something, say something.

As a guest, try your best to leave everything the same way you found it.

Accidents happen, so if you’re in a situation where something ends up damaged or broken, tell the host. 

You shouldn’t hide it; disclose the fact that something is damaged so they can replace it. 

As per Airbnb’s damage policy, your host is allowed to request reimbursement from you or contact Airbnb for a damage claim. Either way, you’ll be charged.

Communicating with your host about the damaged item could save you a lot of trouble.

 11. If you don’t know, ask.

As Airbnb guests, it’s so important to ask questions. There can be appliances you don’t know how to use or spaces on the property you may not know if you have access to. If you’re not sure, the best thing to do is ask. This prevents any problems or confusion. 

 12. Leave an honest review after your stay.

Reviews help other travelers considering staying at the property determine if it’s a right fit. If something happens during your stay, give the host an opportunity to make things right before leaving them a bad review. Everyone can see these reviews, good and bad, so reserve bad reviews for the properties that really deserve them.

 13. Read the listing description thoroughly

All Airbnb hosts share house rules, expectations and anything you should know right on the listing. Before booking a reservation, read the listing thoroughly. Some hosts may even have their house rules detailed on the property so you can quickly reference them.

 14. No parties, and be mindful of noise — there are neighbors.

The cops can be called. Let your host know if you will have extra guests. Most Airbnb hosts do not allow parties or large gatherings.

 15. No smoking on property.

 Don’t assume you can smoke in the residence, ask your host before doing so. 

 16. Follow the rules for extra guests.

There may be a charge for additional guests, so check the listing, and if you have any questions, communicate with the host via the Airbnb app. 

Read Next: How To Plan Your Trip From Scratch

Airbnb Guests Do Not Have To Worry About…

Though we believe Airbnb guest etiquette is important, there are certain things guests should not do (or should not have to).

1. Sweep, dust, mop, or vacuum.

These specific chores aren’t mandatory. As long as the rooms are neat, going out of your way to do these chores isn’t necessary.

2. Deep clean.

A light clean is the polite thing to do but you shouldn’t be deep cleaning the home. Hosts are required to clean before every guest arrives so that is their job. It is not your responsibility. 

3. Scrub pots and pans.

This is another “chore” that isn’t mandatory. Pots and pans can be put in the dishwasher or left neatly in the sink but scrubbing them is not something guests are expected to do. 

4. Shovel snow.

If you plan on staying in an area with a snowy climate, you should discuss the snow removal process with your host beforehand. Even though you’re staying on their property, you shouldn’t have to take the time out of your stay to shovel snow. Shoveling may also be a liability for hosts (cause injury), so avoid this altogether.

5. Leave a tip.

Should you tip Airbnb hosts?

Hosts provide a service. They choose their prices and rates, including whatever extra fees they want to add. So tipping isn’t needed.

Writing a nice letter to show your appreciation will suffice. Or leave them a small gift like a box of chocolate or a bottle of wine. Some hosts have a guest book; write a note that will make them smile. 

In summary, do Airbnb guests have to clean or do chores? There’s no definitive rule, but we aim to leave the property as we found it. As courteous guests, the most important thing you can do is communicate in a timely fashion and respect the house rules. 

Hosts look at your reviews, so good ones are necessary for you to be able to rent in the future. If you want a good review like this, “Victoria was a kind and wonderful guest and is welcomed back anytime!” mind your manners.

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