image3Whether you’re relaxing in the peaceful Midwestern countryside or cruising into the heart of cosmopolitan New York City, with over 640,000 hosts in 57,000 cities, there’s likely an Airbnb residence ready to welcome you during your travels. AirBnB has become a trademark of the sharing economy, allowing travelers to find alternative, low-priced lodging and earning locals extra cash. As simple as the concept sounds, this trend comes with its own set of manners. Here are five quick tips to help both you and your host have a great Airbnb experience.

  1. Don’t go at a glance: Some hosts note stipulations such as specific check-in times or guest limitations, so verify that the lodging suits your travel plans. Look closely at the accommodations as well. A room listed for two or more travelers may have just one bed, so be sure to look at pictures or ask the host if you’re unsure about what amenities are included. During one awry adventure in Lyon, France, my brother and I took turns sleeping on the couch because we made the mistake of not verifying that there really was enough room for two.
San Francisco: Photography by Chloe Ropner
  1. Keep an eye on time: Your hosts probably have their own weekend plans, so be courteous by arriving as close to the check-in time as possible. If the listing doesn’t include a specific time, contact your host in advance with your itinerary so that they can be there to welcome you when you arrive. If you aren’t familiar with the area, determine directions to the residence at least 24 hours in advance.
  1. Tidy up: Airbnb is just like everything else in life – leave your space cleaner than it was when you found it! Keep in mind that you’re staying in someone’s home, so remember to rinse your toothpaste out of the sink, clean up your trash, and make your bed before you leave. Airbnb hosts clean the rooms and bedsheets between stays, and they will appreciate your efforts to tidy up (which may result in better reviews)!
  1. Be considerate: In the excitement of discoveries in a new city, it’s easy to forget simple courtesies like entering the residency discreetly, turning down your music, or refraining from using the kitchen late at night. Always remember that you are a guest in someone else’s home, and strive to be as gracious and amicable as possible.
  1. Say goodbye with grace: Writing a great review of a stellar experience is one way to express appreciation for a warm welcome. When staying for an extended period of time, or if you have become friendly with your hosts, consider leaving a little something before you drop the key in the mailbox. A small treat from the local bakery or thank-you note written on a postcard from your hometown are memorable ways to show your gratitude.

Sharon Schweitzer and Amanda Alden co-wrote this article. Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural consultant, an international protocol expert and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She is accredited in intercultural management, is the resident etiquette expert for CBS Austin’s We Are Austin, regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, The New York Times, and numerous other media. She is the best-selling, international award-winning author of Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, named to Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2015.

Amanda Alden is a cross-cultural communications intern with Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She is currently a senior at St. Edward’s University, majoring in Global Studies with concentrations in Europe and International Business, and minoring in French. Feel free to connect with Amanda on LinkedIn