What are your vacation plans for this summer? Are you among the millions who will rent vacation homes for a week or two? If so, you should know there is proper etiquette for vacation home rentals. You and your family should follow those rules of etiquette closely – for both your own benefit and that of the property owner and manager.
These rules of etiquette can be divided into three categories: before you arrive, while you are there, and preparing to leave. Below is a selection of the most important things you need to know in each category. As you read, remember this: observing proper etiquette in any situation demonstrates that you care about the needs of other people.
Before You Arrive
At some point prior to your arrival you will be interacting with either the property owner or a management company to arrange for things like check-in and making payment. At some point during those interactions, ask your contact what is expected of you and your family during the rental term. For example, will you be expected to take trash bins to the curb and, if so, on what day?
If check-in requires that you meet with the host, be absolutely sure to arrive on time. Send a message if you are running late. Do not waste your host’s time by not arriving when you said you would.
While You’re There
Remember that your vacation rental is likely someone else’s secondary living space. Treat it with respect. A vacation home is not a free-for-all playground with no rules attached. More specifically:
- Be respectful of furniture, decorations, electronics, etc.
- Do not allow children to jump on the beds, sit on the pool table, etc.
- If you make a mess, clean up.
- If you break something, replace it
- Anything you take from the cupboards, closets, etc. should be put back in the same place you got it from.
Next, be respectful of your neighbors. Do not assume that everyone renting houses in the same neighborhood enjoys the same kind of lifestyle you do. You might be a party family, and that’s fine, just keep the party indoors and at a reasonable level. Don’t assume you have the right to disturb the neighbors just because you’re on vacation.
Preparing to Leave
On checkout day, there will be plenty of things to do in addition to packing your car. The general rule is to leave a vacation home broom clean, which is fine if you and your family are not messy people. But you may have to go above and beyond depending on the condition of the home.
Be sure to sweep the floors and vacuum the carpets. Give the kitchen and bathrooms a quick cleaning, and definitely put away dishes. Do not leave anything in the sink or dishwasher. On the way out the door, take out the trash too. Your host likely has a cleaning company coming after you leave, but they only have an hour or two to get the home ready for the next group of guests. You need to leave them as little to do as possible.
Lastly, leave on time. Every minute your departure is delayed is another minute the cleaning crew cannot do what it needs to do. That’s not fair to them or the next set of guests on their way to the house.
Concierge services like ours often take work cleaning vacation homes. It’s been our experience that some guests take very good care of the properties they rent while others do not. Don’t be part of the latter group. If you are planning to rent a vacation home this year, treat it better than you would your own home. It is the right thing to do.