By Miles P. Murray
Summer is almost here and people are gearing up for a season of fun, adventure, and lots of travel. Instead of reserving cookie cutter hotels, AirBnbs offer cheap and unique housing for travelers around the world. But just because you’re staying in someone’s home doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things you should look at before settling in. Let’s take a look at five things you should check before settling into your AirBnb stay.
No one likes to experience plumbing problems—especially during a vacation. Before unpacking, check out the plumbing in your rental to make sure it’s working properly. Flush the toilets, turn the shower on, and run all the sinks. You’ll want to make sure there aren’t any clogged drains and that you’re getting hot water. If you’re traveling to a foreign country, the last thing you want to deal with while battling “Montezuma’s Revenge” is a non-functioning toilet and unreachable host. Checking the plumbing beforehand will give the landlord or host enough time to fix any issues so you can spend your entire vacation focused on other things.
If you’re traveling alone, working and trustworthy locks are essential. When you check into hotels, you can expect the locks to be in working order—but with AirBnbs, you never know who actually has access to the place. Check every door and window to see if there are locks and if they’re in working condition. If you suspect there are problems with the locks, tell your AirBnb host immediately. Since it’s their own home in most cases, they’ll be just as concerned about security and will take measures to make you feel safer and keep the building secure.
If you have some extra room in your suitcase, there are lots of compact personal security devices that can help you feel safer while staying at your AirBnb. Portable door jams and personal alarm systems can improve your Airbnb’s security and give you peace of mind if you aren’t sure the locks are effective enough.
Bed bugs can be a big problem whether you stay at a hotel or in an AirBnb. Since a lot of hosts use housekeeping for their rentals, there can sometimes be cleanliness issues that fall through the cracks. Make sure your pillows, blankets, and sheets have been cleaned before getting ready for bed at night. If you travel often, it might be a good idea to carry your own blanket or travel sheet with you if the bedding looks a little questionable.
Just like you do when moving into a new home or apartment, you want to take a good look and see if there is any existing damage in your AirBnb. If you document these damages and report them at the beginning of the stay, you’re ensuring you won’t get blamed for these damages after you leave your AirBnb. Not doing this pre-check could mean hosts giving you a poor guest rating—making it difficult for you to book future AirBnb since hosts look at those reviews and ratings before approving a stay.
If you see any damage or appliances that aren’t working properly, take a picture or record a walkthrough video of the AirBnb to share with your host so there is hard proof any damage was pre-existing and not your fault.
Travelers rely on their phones for almost everything nowadays. If your AirBnb’s outlets don’t work, you want to know that before you wake up in the morning to a dead phone. Checking all of the outlets at the beginning of your AirBnb stay will give you time to find alternate charging areas if needed.
The Bottom Line
AirBnb hosts have to walk a thin line between being homeowners and members of the hospitality industry. Unlike hotels, motels, or hostels, AirBnbs are often someone’s actual home. Sure, the customer is always right, but at the end of the day it’s still their house. But as a paying customer, you want to get the best experience possible for your money and still be good houseguests. Checking these things in your AirBnb will help you get the most out of your vacation and make the experience even better for their next guests.
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