Like any relationship, renting a vacation home is a two-way street. Being a great houseguest isn’t rocket science; it all comes down to being conscientious and respectful. For vacation rental bliss, check out these five helpful tips.

House Guest Etiquette In Your Vacation Rental

1. Communication is key.

Stay in touch with your host throughout the process. Double check their preferred method of communication, be it text, phone, or email, and make sure you will have access to that while you travel. (For example, if you’re going out of the country and won’t have phone service, let your host know.) Pay attention to check-in times and let the host know when you plan to arrive. Stick to your plan as much as possible and be sure to communicate if things change. Of course, mix-ups happen, flights get delayed, drivers get lost, but the more you communicate with your host the easier your stay will be, you them and for you. If you need flexibility with your check-in time or have a special request, be sure to run it by the host prior to arrival. Or better yet, communicate about it prior to making your reservation.

2. Look before you book.

Not every vacation rental is a good fit for every guest, and that’s ok. Just make sure the rental matches your style and needs. Most hosts are clear about their house rules and style of hosting so make sure you are comfortable with their rules. Do you want a hands-off host or someone who will be available for chatting and sharing local tips? Be aware of your host’s expectations before you make a reservation. Do they have a “no shoes on in the house” rule? Make sure you’re willing to go barefoot or contact the host to see how flexible they are on footwear. If you’re not sure about the rules, just ask. Communication is a boon here, as well. Never hesitate to reach out to a host if you have questions.

3. Respect the space.

If you’ve had friends or family stay at your house then you know there is nothing worse than a rude, messy houseguest. Keep in mind that many vacation rentals are also people’s homes so treat your rental as well as you would your own living space. (Or if you’re messy at home, treat it better than you would your own space!) Clean up after yourself, lock the doors when you leave, treat any furniture, appliances, toys, or tools with care. This goes beyond the house or room itself. Be mindful of how you use outdoor spaces like a yard or patio.

4. Be thoughtful of neighbors.

Unless you’re vacation is booked at a secluded cabin in the woods, you will probably have people living around your rental. Be conscious of your noise level so you don’t disturb nearby neighbors. If you have a car, be aware of where you park so you’re not blocking driveways. Be especially polite if you have common space with housemates neighbors (like a shared bathroom or patio.) Clean up after you use shared spaces. Renting an apartment? Don’t forget those downstairs neighbors!

5. Leave a review.

This is one of the easiest things you can do and it helps future guests as well as your host. Renters are more likely to book a rental with a host who has good reviews. Be polite and honest about your stay. (Remember that some websites also ask the host to review you as a guest, further incentive to be on your best behavior!)

This article was written by Katie Vaughan.