5 Ways to Earn Your 5-Stars as an AirBnB Guest

Here's what you should - and shouldn't - do to be a great guest at your next AirBnB.

When my roommate proposed and moved out, we listed our spare bedroom on AirBnB. Suffice it to say, I was pretty skeptical. Strangers in my home, all the time? Is that even safe? Is it legal?

The short answer is yes, home-sharing is still legal in New York City (although operating entire AirBnB "ghost hotels" is not). And while there are many AirBnB horror stories out there, everyone we talked to seemed to have had positive experiences - I'd even rented an AirBnB myself, and had only great experiences. The allure of cheaper rent finally convinced me to give it a try, and it's honestly been a great decision.

We've met some incredible people from around the world, like the illustrator who drew a full-page Spider-Man cartoon in our guestbook. Or the German couple who became such good friends, they sent us a houseplant to say thank you. But for every handful of guests, there's always a few that just don't get it.

Don't be like them. If you're thinking of renting an AirBnB sometime soon, here's our top five ways to be a great AirBnB guest, from a seasoned host who's experienced just about everything...Yes, these examples really happened to me!

Don't use your host's personal items

If you're renting a room in someone's home, standard protocol is that you have free rein over your room, and can use the common areas. Check your AirBnB listing for specifics, but expect to be provided with towels and to have access to the fridge and basic kitchen utensils. This does not mean you can eat your host's food, use their bathroom products, or wear their clothes. No, you cannot eat my leftovers. No, you cannot borrow my grandmother's vintage fur coat in the hall closet. No, you cannot try on my shoes. You are a guest in their home, not my sister! So, use your best judgement, and if you're unsure, just ask.

Respect quiet times

Do you want to be woken up to a screaming argument at 4:30 in the morning? Neither does your host. While you may feel it necessary to celebrate the life of Avicii by blasting EDM for hours at a time (may he rest in peace), your host might not feel the same affinity for heart-thumping beats on a weeknight. All AirBnB rentals will include designated quiet hours within the listing, and usually ask that you keep the noise level down after 10 or 11 at night and before 6 or 7 in the morning. Be a respectful guest, and save your noisy activities for daylight hours, or outside the AirBnB.

Respect everyone's space (don't leave your stuff around)

Your host should have provided plenty of space for you to unpack and hang out in your room. And while you're usually welcome to relax in the common spaces, remember what mama always told you; pick up after yourself! Your host doesn't want to see your dirty retainer lounging on the bathroom sink, nor do they want to come home from work to find a pile of your clothes in the kitchen. Keep your things contained to your room and everyone will be happy.

Check out at checkout

Don't make your host hunt you down. If checkout time is 11am, that means you're expected to be out the door and on your way by 11am. If that doesn't happen, your host has the right to ask you to leave so they can clean and prepare the room for their next guest. Don't make them have that awkward conversation. Be considerate; don't take advantage of your host by overstaying your welcome. Be prepared to leave on time.

Communicate and read instructions

Life happens! Your host will usually understand if you need to use some of their toothpaste, make a phone call in the living room after quiet hours, or borrow an umbrella. The important thing is to familiarize yourself with their expectations by actually reading the house rules on the AirBnB listing. Communicate any unforeseen issues with your host. Just like borrowing your sister's clothing, it's almost always okay as long as you ask first. It can never hurt to ask!

At the end of the day, this boils down to the golden rule; treat your AirBnB the way you'd want friends to treat your apartment. Your hosts probably live in the space as their primary residence, and need to continue about their lives while you're staying there. Be a respectful guest and you just might walk away with an incredible home stay, and some new friends!

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10 Endangered Animals to Weep Over

Celebrate Endangered Species Day.

An endangered species is not a tragedy, because if a species is endangered, then they aren't yet extinct.

Sadly, there are millions of endangered species across the world, all facing threats that mostly stem from human activities. Still, it's not too late. Take a gander at these majestic animals, and then donate to a wildlife fund or environmental activism group of your choice.


Of course, nature doesn't need saving—humans do—and climate change and environmental destruction are threats to humans as well as animals, but if you need a reminder of the beauty and fragility of the natural world, check out these extraordinary species.



SPONSORED

Do Non-Melatonin Sleep Aids Really Work?

Objective makes a chocolate square.

I Can't Sleep.

I truly cannot remember the last time I had a good night's rest. Even before the stay-at-home orders, I was just a little ball of nerves.

But lately, it's been awful. I toss and turn, it's always too hot or even too cold, sometimes I make myself tea and read for a bit, but when I'm still up at 1 a.m., I reach for my phone and then I'm up until 3. My sister and I have a weekly call, and our small talk about our exhaustion turned into an hour long conversation about sleep.

I Thought I'd Tried Everything. Even Melatonin.

My sister asked why I hadn't gone for the old staple, melatonin and I reminded her about the time we traveled abroad, and it gave me the weirdest nightmares (the horrible kind where you wake up in your dream and you're still in a dream). Chamomile tea didn't work, nothing worked.

She said she had a friend who swore by something I definitely hadn't heard of.

They Were NOT Pills, Teas or Anything I'd Seen Before.

A company called Objective makes Fast Asleep, a sleep solution delivered as chocolatey treats. They're created with saffron and GABA. If going to sleep was as easy as eating a piece of these chocolatey, minty delights every night, I'd be sold.

What Exactly Was In It?

Cocoa contains caffeine, so I didn't know how this would help me sleep. After talking with my sister, I went online and saw that the calming, sleep-supporting ingredients cancel out any of the very little caffeine content.

Saffron, the spice, is apparently known to help with staying asleep, and their GABA is a fermented version of the neurotransmitter that's known to help you relax and fall asleep faster. In a study, 100% of customers saw improvement in their sleep quality thanks to saffron. One hundred percent!

Do I Try It?

A bag of 30 pieces was only $40, and they had a money-back guarantee.

They're keto-friendly and only 30 calories a piece, so not too decadent before bedtime.

They were chocolatey-minty, which is my favorite flavor, so I was sold. I ordered a bag to try.

The First Night, I Wasn't Impressed.

I took one piece (super yummy!) - 30-60 minutes before bedtime is recommended - but when I climbed in, I didn't notice a difference. I was worried I'd wasted my money.

However, once I fell asleep, I stayed asleep until my alarm went off, which hasn't always been the case for me.

I checked the site again, and noticed that many people didn't notice a real difference until the third or fourth night - it builds up in your system over time, so I decided to keep an open mind the rest of the week.

The Second Night Was Completely Different

Without doing anything differently from the first night, my second night was amazing. I felt calm and sleepy as I was getting ready for bed, and once I hit the pillow, I was out the whole night.

It had to be these sweet treats. The next day, I even felt more balanced and relaxed - Fast Asleep helps boost serotonin levels and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone), and I definitely noticed a difference in my overall mood and alertness.

I Already Ordered More.

Just In Case! There's nothing habit-forming about this product, so it's completely safe to take every night, and I honestly always want to keep it in the house. I'd also love to offer it to anyone staying over in the guest room, whenever we have guests again.

Now that I'm getting a healthy 8 hours of sleep every night, I feel more equipped during the day to tackle the things I need to do and deal with some of my daytime stressors. I finally had the energy to clean the kitchen, which had been bothering me so much for the past few weeks.

With Objective's Fast Asleep, I get real sleep and balance my levels, so I don't have to feel tired during my waking hours. Sleep in the form of chocolate squares sounds so weird, but oh my goodness, do they work.

Our partners at Objective Wellness are currently offering a 25% discount if you use the coupon code STAYHOME. Check them out here!

Food & Drink

The Best Apps for Craft Beer Delivery

Try beers from all over the world–from your phone.

With breweries and distilleries out of business for the foreseeable future, your favorite beer may feel particularly out of reach this time of year, especially with the weather changing. But don't let quarantine suck all the fun out of summer. Luckily, thanks to technology, a lot of craft beer is now deliverable straight to your door step. Here are a few of the best apps to help make sure you stay up to date on the latest trendy brews.

Tavour

Tavour

Simplistic and elegant, Tavour allows users to easily fill up a box of beer over a period of time before shipping. The app offers more than 650 different breweries both local and national and is perfect for those who like to experiment. It's easy to use, and their menu rotates regularly so you and your beer never grow stale.

TapRM

TapRM

TapRM offers a wide range of both craft beers and hard seltzers. While based almost exclusively in New York City, the app offers fast, same day delivery from some of the best beer brands in the world. They also provide a unique selection of beers to help you find your new favorite. All you need to do is download the app and place your order!

Drizly

Offering a stark variety of craft beer, Drizly allows its users to mix and match 12-packs, sixers or by the bottle. Their guarantee is that they can have whatever you order delivered to your house in less than an hour. You can even schedule your delivery for a specific time, with each delivery taking around 20-40 minutes.

Saucey

Saucey takes delivery very seriously. When you order with them they guarantee that they'll deliver in 30-minutes or less, or they guarantee two day shipping. Also, beer aside, their entire liquor cabinet is also up for grabs. From tequila and whiksey, to vodka and wine, nothing is off the table for Saucey.

Beer Menus

BeerMenus

For those who enjoy strictly local beers, BeerMenus features a tap list from local bars and a broader stock list from your neighborhood beer store. With that, you can make sure to create a list of your favorite beers in your neighborhood, so that when they're in stock you can be ready to go.