13 Little Etiquette Rules to Always Follow in Vacation Rentals
Check these out before you check in.
The popularity of vacation rentals
Whether looking for a more authentic local experience or to save money by having the option of cooking their own meals, people are turning to vacation rental properties in increasing numbers. In fact, according to a 2019 report from iProperty Management, one in four Americans has used a short-term rental platform, like Airbnb or VRBO. Now that vacation rentals are becoming more mainstream, it’s time to have the discussion about what’s OK—and not OK—to do in this form of accommodation. Traveling with pals? Brush up on the 12 etiquette rules you must follow when traveling with friends.
Keep the volume down
Ideally, you’re always going to be respectful of the people around you, but this is especially the case in a vacation rental. “Usually, rentals are located in [residential] neighborhoods, and though you and your friends are there for the party, try to have to some decorum, please,” Toni Dupree, etiquette expert and coach and author of Straight Up From The Teacup tells Reader’s Digest. Keeping the noise down is important because you don’t want the homeowner’s neighbors to complain: not only because it may negatively impact your own rating, but also because you don’t want to get the owner in trouble with their own neighbors.
Don’t assume a rental is pet-friendly
If a listing doesn’t state the rental is pet-friendly, don’t assume it is. “Owners will typically mark ‘pet-friendly’ if it is, but if it’s unclear, ask before you book if you can bring your pet along and what their pet rules are,” Marco del Rosario, chief operating officer of VacationRenter, tells Reader’s Digest. Aside from pets potentially making a mess— especially if they’re in an unfamiliar environment—they can also make people with allergies sick, whether it’s the owners or future guests, not to mention that some apartment buildings don’t allow dogs. So unless the rental explicitly says pets are welcome, leave Fido at home. And either way, keep these 9 etiquette rules all dog owners should memorize in mind.
Assess the place as soon as you get there
When you arrive at your vacation rental, the first thing you should do is scan the entire house for any items that seem damaged, stained, or defective, del Rosario recommends. “Take photos with timestamps, so if the property owner tries to deduct it from your security deposit, you will have solid proof that the damages were already there when you arrived,” he explains.
Let the owners know if it’s not clean when you arrive
Hung Chung Chih/Shutterstock
“If you notice the rental wasn’t very clean when you first arrived, notify the owner,” del Rosario says. “Cleanliness should be of utmost importance to owners, and all feedback is helpful, so they can improve next time around.” Plus, this way you give the owners a chance to rectify the situation by sending a cleaner as soon as you get there, so you can enjoy a tidy rental during your stay.
Don’t trash the place
PR Image Factory/Shutterstock
While most vacation rentals have built-in cleaning fees, you definitely don’t want to leave the place in disarray, Dupree says. “Always treat the rental like you would want someone to treat your home, but better,” she explains. As a side benefit, staying tidy helps keep cleaning costs down for the owner—and future guests—but it also benefits you by allowing you to keep track of your belongings. Looking for more tips on good manners? Here are 50 little etiquette rules you should always practice.
Strip the beds
As a rule of thumb, remove all bedding and put it in the laundry room before you leave, del Rosario says. If there’s not a laundry room, place the bedding on top of each bed. “This process will make it easier for housekeeping and ensure all items get cleaned,” he explains.
Let the owner know if something breaks
If you accidentally break something while you’re staying in a vacation rental, don’t try and cover it up. Instead, Dupree recommends that you call the owner of the property to let them know what happened. It’ll be better coming from you than having them find something broken after you check out. Along the same lines, Dupree says that you should never take it upon yourself to fix something in the house unless you’ve already discussed it with the owner. You, as a guest, are probably not covered by their insurance, so do everyone a favor and leave the repairs to the pros.
Don’t leave wet or dirty towels on the floor
Not only is this about respecting someone else’s property, but it’s also a cleanliness issue. “Place all used towels in the laundry room or in a pile on the bathroom floor,” del Rosario notes. If a few days pass between when you check out and when the home is cleaned, the towels could get moldy or musty, ruining them for the owners and future guests. Not only that, but wet towels could potentially warp a wood floor.
Replace anything you use from of the cabinets
Sure, the kitchen cupboards may be filled with food, but unless the rental agreement specifically says that you’re welcome to eat the food provided, Dupree says that you should replace anything you ate. Not only will this help the owners keep the rental costs down, but it means less work for them—in the form of grocery shopping—between guests. Good manners are essential at the dinner table—these are 10 table etiquette mistakes you really need to stop making.