Follow These 6 Unwritten Rules for Taking a Room in a Shared Rental (So It Doesn’t Get Weird)

It's one thing to be a good guest when it's just you and yours — but it's a little different in a shared house.

Airbnb and other share-economy booking engines provide great platforms for seeing new places like a local: Instead of staying in a generic and perhaps cloistered hotel room, you can share someone's actual home and feel a bit more like you actually live in the destination.

With a hotel, you get your room cleaned daily and leave a bad review on TripAdvisor if you don't like the experience, but with Airbnb, no one cleans up your mess and YOU get a review when you leave (so does the host). 

It's not too hard when you book a whole house, right? You just pay the cleaning fee through the site, take the whole house as your own, just taking care to follow your host's set of rules, which might include such simple instructions as, "put dirty dishes in the dishwasher."

But, when you choose an Airbnb "room" and not the whole house, here are some unwritten rules on how you can get that "excellent" guest review from your host — and help everyone involved feel as comfortable as possible.

1.  Don't have parties or guests.

Since you are there as a paying guest and have to say on Airbnb how many people are staying, you cannot bring extra people over even for a "little bit" like you can in a hotel or an Airbnb when you rent a whole house. 

2.  Keep respectful hours.

Since you are sharing with the host(s), you should keep in mind that although you are on vacation, they might have work tomorrow. You should keep the noise level down after 11 p.m.

3.  Clean up after you use the bathroom.

No wet towels on the floor, obvi, but there is more. You need to think of it as your own home. You should turn the fan on before you shower, wipe down the shower if a squegee is provided, keep your wet towel in your own room, and keep your shower products in your room — not on their shower ledge. Basically, leave no trace. 

4.  And tidy all other shared spaces, too.

If you are allowed to use the kitchen and living room (which are you with most shared house scenarios), then you should also leave no trace here. The exception is that you can leave your food in the fridge — but don't forget to throw anything leftover out before you go. Don't leave your computer charger out in the living room or fall asleep on the couch. By 11, you should be out of the shared spaces unless of course others are awake, too.

5.  Don't ask for late checkouts.

They aren't operating a hotel! You cannot expect late checkouts. You should ask about this before you book in case they can make an exception. If they do, they'll likely want you to pack up and be out of the room by the original checkout time but let you leave your luggage while you sightsee.

6.  Don't ask your host to be your concierge.

Most hotels have incredible concierges who give great advice about where to eat and drink or what top attractions to see — and they earn and expect tips. You definitely shouldn't be tipping your Airbnb host though, which means that you shouldn't bother them for advice on where to go unless they offer it. (And if you needed a concierge, it would have been a sounder idea to book a hotel with one.)

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