For those who love to travel but hate staying in hotel rooms, the online private vacation rental market has been a boon. With the click of a mouse, travelers could suddenly rent apartments, condos, or houses to enjoy while on trips for business or vacation.
Airbnb upped the private rental ante, allowing people to rent out all of the usual abodes while expanding the options to a single room or even a couch. This was exciting for people traveling on the cheap, as well as those hoping to make a little extra cash from their unused spaces. Along with the rave reviews of Airbnb, however, came horror stories about hosts returning to find their property stolen or homes trashed, as well as renters dealing with having unexpected people dwelling in what they thought would be a private rental.
This doesn’t mean that the service isn’t worth using. By using a few basic Airbnb safety tips, you can help ensure that your travels — or your rental side gig — go exactly as planned.
The Pros and Cons of Using Airbnb
First, it’s important for people to understand some of the benefits and drawbacks of using the rental site. Renters who are used to staying in hotels often show up at an Airbnb expecting the same types of amenities. They are also often surprised to discover that their rental may not be completely private: they may be taken aback when they find that they’ll be staying in one bedroom of an apartment and have use of the common areas while the owner will be in the other bedroom and will be home throughout the stay.
Similarly, it can be an adjustment for a homeowner to have people staying in their home. Some owners have complained about private renters throwing wild parties and leaving the property badly damaged. For people renting out a single room in their homes, guests who come and go at all hours, play loud music, or engage in illicit activity can be problematic.
Airbnb Safety Tips for Guests
That’s why it’s important that guests shop for rentals very carefully to find a place that fits their expectations and personality type. You’ll likely need to sift through listings and read very carefully to narrow your selection down to the type of rental you want. If you have questions, be sure to message the owner and ask. An owner that’s unresponsive or rude when you reach out to them with questions is a giant red flag to look elsewhere to rent.
Before you arrive, make sure you know the rules and once you’re there, follow them. Be considerate — after all, you’re a guest in someone else’s home, even if you’re a paying guest.
Airbnb Safety Tips for Hosts
For hosts, be as clear as possible in your listing about what kind of rental you have and what will be expected of your guests. If you require quiet by a certain time, don’t allow smoking, or have other rules, spell them out. Be responsive to guests when they reach out with questions.
Additional steps hosts can take to protect their property is making sure they have insurance and installing a complete home security system. The insurance should be a policy that covers rentals and will take care of the cost of any property damage, as well as liability if someone gets hurt.
A home security system for an Airbnb rental should cover all the basics such as monitoring for break-ins, fire, and carbon monoxide. It’s also helpful to install access control so you can remotely assign passcodes to allow entry and delete those codes when someone’s stay is over. Video surveillance is another useful home security tool, as it allows you to check on the property from afar, as well as review what happened if damage occurs.
These Airbnb safety tips take a bit of thought and preparation, but they can be the difference between your rental experience being a dream or an absolute nightmare.
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