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6 Things You Should Never Do in a Vacation Rental

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woman entering vacation rental.
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6 Things You Should Never Do in a Vacation Rental


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Vacation rentals are supposed to feel like your home away from home—but that doesn’t mean you can treat your Airbnb like your own house. 

Making any of these common vacation rental mistakes could cost you dearly and ruin your trip.

Use the Dishes Without Washing Them

Close up of person cleaning dishes in sink
Drobot Dean | Adobe Stock

Having a fully-stocked kitchen is a huge perk of staying in a vacation rental instead of a hotel. However, unlike at a hotel, vacation rentals don’t have a strict cleaning protocol to follow. Generally, dishes are expected to be hand-washed by the previous guest (or loaded into the dishwasher if there is one). And if the vacation rental didn’t provide dishwashing soap? That last guest might have just given everything a quick rinse and called it a day. 

Most times that I’ve stayed at a vacation rental, the dishes in the cabinets have been visibly dirty, so I don’t even want to think about what germs are lurking on them. 

Pack some dishwashing detergent (or dish soap and a clean sponge) and thoroughly wash a bunch of dishes that you can use during your stay, to guarantee cleanliness. 

Forget to Read Any Instructions

In the excitement over arriving, it’s easy to skip over the printed sheet of instructions that your host has left you, but that would be a mistake. In addition to detailing important information (like your check-out time), a note can save you time and frustration over trying to figure out how to work light switches or the heating system.

I once stayed in an Airbnb where the host’s note mentioned a security camera in the (studio) apartment that needed to be unplugged once guests arrived—definitely the kind of thing you want to learn about sooner than later. 

Not Save Your Host’s Contact Information Offline

Close up of woman's hands writing in notebook with pen
lovelyday12 | Adobe Stock

Figure you’ll just look up the code for the door when you get to your vacation rental? If you lose service, you might wind up stranded. Always save offline the following important details:

  • The address of your vacation rental (and directions)
  • Your host’s contact information (preferably a phone number and email)
  • The code to the door, or where you can find the keys

Throw a Party

Having more than the number of guests in your reservation on property can cause you to lose your security deposit or face a big fine from the vacation rental agency. 

If the owner lives offsite, you might think there’s no way you’ll get caught, but a noise complaint or report from a neighbor could easily make its way back to your host. 

Lose a Key

Silver key in lock
Fabio Balbi | Adobe Stock

Although most vacation rentals use a lockbox code these days, if you stay in one using an old-fashioned key, make sure you have it with you at all times. If you’re given more than one key, make sure each member of your party has one, to reduce the chance that you’ll lock yourselves out. 

Otherwise, if the owner doesn’t live nearby, you might find yourself having to pay for a locksmith to get back in. 

Forget About Your Deposit

It’s becoming more common for vacation rentals to charge hefty deposits to make sure you don’t damage their property. Since you generally pay the deposit at the time of booking, it can be easy to forget about—and you might not notice if you don’t get it back after you check out. Set a reminder in your calendar to check your bank account/credit card to make sure that your funds have been returned and that there were no additional, unexpected charges from the vacation rental.

Looking for a vacation rental? We’ve found the 9 Best Vacation Rental Booking Sites to save you money and time.

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