If you’re new to using Airbnb for accommodation, you might have some questions like whether you can eat the food at your Airbnb or what the checkout etiquette is. After staying at over 30 Airbnbs and being an Airbnb host myself, I can ease your anticipation with some simple Airbnb etiquette guidelines. Here are tips for staying at an Airbnb along with answers to frequently asked questions.
Related Post: If you’re new to Airbnb and want to know what it is or why it’s better than a hotel before jumping into Airbnb etiquette, check out this post.
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Most Important Airbnb Etiquette Tips
Tip 1: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Communication is the most important aspect in Airbnb etiquette. It helps with quite a few situations.
Before booking the Airbnb – If you’ve got your eye on an Airbnb but have a hesitancy about it, then reach out to the owner and talk it out. If they’re a good host, they’ll usually get back to you as soon as they can and answer whatever questions you have that aren’t on the listing.
After booking / before arrival – This is the most crucial time for communication between the host and you. During this time, your host and you will talk out when you will be arriving and when you need to check out.
The arrival part is quite important because unlike a hotel, there won’t be a concierge to check you in, and you may not have cell service to get in touch with the host at arrival. So talking out when and where to meet before you get there will make the start of your trip much smoother.
Pro Tip: Write their address and number down on paper just in case your phone stops working, and you get lost on the way to their place.
At arrival – When you arrive, the host will show you the house rules and around the apartment. Ask all the questions you want and need to make yourself at home!
During your stay – There’s really not much need for communication here, but sometimes hosts like to know how you’re doing and check in. When or if you have time, just reply with a simple, “Great. Thanks.” or if there’s an issue, make sure to let them know.
They would much rather make your stay pleasant and fix the problem ASAP instead of getting a sorry review later on that they can’t do anything about.
At checkout – Let your host know when you leave just like you would at a hotel. A simple text or message on the app is good enough!
View from our Airbnb of the Mediterranean Sea above Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy
Tip 2: Read the House Manual
If there’s a house manual, cuddle up on the couch with that baby… if there’s a couch.
First of all, there’ll probably be the wifi network and password on it, and if you’re like me, you’ll be fiending for the internet to find the best restaurant near you to cure your jetlag.
Tip: Don’t forget to use a VPN while traveling to keep your info from possibly getting hacked.
Second, it’ll outline some simple house rules letting you know what’s ok and not ok to do. The rules are generally fairly simple, and at most, involve you putting your dishes in the dishwasher when you leave and taking out the garbage.
Also, if you’re looking to invite some newly found local friends over for a party but not sure if it’s ok, this is where you usually find out if they have neighbors who care about you blasting loud music, and basically, having fun after a certain time.
If they do have a quiet time, please respect it! If the neighbors start meddling into the host’s Airbnb affairs, then their awesome rental might not be available to anyone else in the future. #dontf*ckthisup
Lastly, sometimes if you have an Airbnb superhost, they’ll definitely throw in their manual local insights on what to do and where to eat in the area.
Yaaaas to the sweet bonus you get from booking with Airbnb– all the local goodies!
Tip 3: Respect the Airbnb
Fun at our Airbnb in Tuscany, Italy
Have your fair share of fun, but definitely respect the place. Most of the time, you’re either vacationing in someone’s rental apartment or straight up in someone’s home that they left just for the weekend and rented to you ’cause they needed some extra cash.
Either way, respect the place! This is someone’s livelihood we’re talking about.
- Keep it clean.
- Put things back where they belong.
- Turn off the lights when you leave the apartment.
- Turn down the heat or the AC up a degree or two (if you want to be extra green and conscious of the owner’s bills).
In terms of food and drink in the Airbnb’s cabinets and refrigerator, here’s my general rule of thumb. If it’s purely a rental home, which you can tell by the lack of personal items in their place, then really anything goes.
Usually previous Airbnb’ers leave small things behind like pasta, rice, olive oil, and garlic so as long as it’s not rotting, feel free to dive in.
Also, generous hosts will let you know if they’ve left food for you. At one Airbnb, I got champagne and mozzarella balls while at another, I got eggs, fresh butter, muffins, bread, crackers, cookies, and SO many other things. #jackpot #nomnomnom
If it’s actually someone’s home, which you can tell about how much stuff there is everywhere (photos of their significant other, all their clothes in the closet, etc.), then unless they told you to indulge in their food and drink, try limiting yourself to the spices in their cabinet, and go grocery shopping for yourself. Checking out local markets and ingredients is the best!
If you HAVE to drink their alcohol or eat their food, make sure it’s not the good wine, and replace what you can.
Tip 4: Write A Review
After your stay, put the cherry on top of your Airbnb etiquette by writing a review. This will largely help the host by drawing more people in to stay there or letting them know what you liked or disliked so they can keep on improving the Airbnb experience.
Get $20 off your first Airbnb with my referral code!
Specific Airbnb Etiquette Questions
Can you eat the food at Airbnb?
Generally yes but it depends on whether it’s purely a rental home or someone’s home they’re renting out while they’re away. If it’s purely a rental home, I usually eat whatever’s there because they’re probably leftover from previous guests.
If it’s someone’s home they’re renting out while they’re away, then I use spices and basic foods but won’t touch the expensive stuff.
For more details, check out tip #3 above.
What’s an Airbnb check out like?
Checking out of an Airbnb is fairly simple. Most of the time, all you have to do is leave the key designated by the host. Rarely, the host will come meet you himself and get the key from you. Simply ask your Airbnb host how to check out of your Airbnb when you arrive and meet them, or read the manual to find out.
Airbnb check out etiquette is not usually a big deal and can actually be better than a hotel’s policy where you need to go to the front desk, which your Airbnb doesn’t have!
Do you have to do anything with the sheets at an Airbnb?
Generally no, but occasionally a host might want you to strip the sheets right before leaving an Airbnb. They should tell you this explicitly in the manual or word of mouth. If they don’t, assume you don’t have to.
Do you have to wash my dishes at an Airbnb?
Generally yes, but most Airbnbs I’ve stayed at have a dishwasher so I’ve put my dishes in the dishwasher and let the host run it after I left.
Do you tip Airbnb?
This is simple! You do not need to leave a tip at your Airbnb. Of course, if your host went above and beyond, you could leave one if you really wanted to, but you don’t have to.
Do you need to pack anything special for an Airbnb?
Read the listing and manual (if the host gives it to you) before you go to the Airbnb. I’ve never had to pack anything extra for an Airbnb, but at the next Airbnb I’m going to, they have an additional charge for sheets. Since I’m going to be driving there, I’m going to pack my own sheets to avoid the charge. This is a rare occurrence.
At one mediocre Airbnb I stayed at, there was no shampoo, but I only went for a night so it didn’t matter. You might want to check if your host provides basics that you would get in a hotel, but most likely you do get the same toiletries as a hotel and sometimes more!
If you think you can handle Airbnb etiquette and want to try out this cool way of traveling, get $20 off your first Airbnb with my referral code!
To learn more about an Airbnb vs. hotel, check out this post on what Airbnb is and why it’s better than a hotel. Also, Passport & Plate can help you pick the perfect Airbnb.
Thanks for stopping by! xo.
I’d love to know if you made it this far down into the post. It’d actually make me quite happy if you reached out on Instagram and said hello!
Monday 8th of March 2021
Hi Sarah, thanks so much for the info! It is very helpful.
Tuesday 12th of September 2017
Thanks for the info. I wish I could get lucky with a nice Airbnb. I'll be on the lookout for good ones the future!
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Wednesday 31st of August 2016
Very helpful and Great information, we appreciate advise especially coming from a professional. Thanks again and keep up the great work! Read more at http://vibrantwave.com/cheap-hotels-in-new-york/
Monday 11th of July 2016
I haven't seen this addressed: should I bring my own sheets? The host we will be staying with is leaving for the week, and a friend is letting us in. Someone may or may not be there the week before. Is it bad manners to ask what size sheets to bring and if they smoke to leave windows open to air it out. I don't want to come across as rude, but I don't want to sleep on dirty sheets and have our first experience end smelling like a cigarette.
Monday 11th of July 2016
Hi Kelli. If a friend is letting you into their apartment, it shouldn't affect the cleanliness of your place. No matter what they should have it in tip top shape. I've never had to bring sheets anywhere but it doesn't hurt to ask. You could ask 1) if you should bring sheets and 2) if people have previously smoked apartment. Then if she says yes to the latter, you can then ask about the window thing! Good luck. Tell me how your airbnb stay is!
Thursday 26th of May 2016
Once again you have written another brilliant post. I cannot wait to use these tips when I stay in an Airbnb this upcoming July. Thanks for such great insight, I truly enjoy all of your writing!
Thursday 26th of May 2016
Thanks so much! Enjoy your Airbnb!