Over the weekend we checked in to a sprawling Airbnb in Amarillo, Texas. With its big bright windows, chic decor, and decked out kitchen, our host had pulled out all the stops to make this a welcoming home for our month-long stay. And while there are so many things a host can do to make a fabulous first impression, we’ve also found that there are also plenty of tricks guests can use to settle into an Airbnb when they arrive. Here are the 10 steps we use to make a new Airbnb feel like home.
STEP 1: Understand Your Host
If you meet your host in person at check in, ask a few questions. How did they get into Airbnb? What do they love most about their space? If you’ve got a self check-in situation going on, then take a look at the host’s Airbnb profile. We’ve learned so much about our hosts through these short descriptions: how long they’ve been part of the Airbnb community, how they like to spend time with their kids, their travel experiences, even their own entrepreneurial ventures. The more you know about the person behind the space, the more connected you’ll feel to the home they’ve created. It will prime you to appreciate the thoughtful touches they’ve left behind and the places where their personality really shines through.
STEP 2: Explore Your New Home
As soon as we’re alone in a new Airbnb, we go exploring. These first few moments in a new space are big highlights during full-time travel. We love soaking in the place we so carefully picked out months ago online. So often, the pictures don’t do it justice. So take the time to relish these first minutes discovering everything the space has to offer. Open the kitchen drawers, peak under the bathroom sink, take a look in each closet. We’ve been surprised time and again by all sorts of amenities hosts have hidden throughout their space, from cookbooks and spices in the kitchen to playing cards and magazines in the nightstand drawers.
Open the kitchen drawers, peak under the bathroom sink, take a look in each closet. We’ve been surprised time and again by all sorts of amenities hosts have hidden throughout their space.
STEP 3: Unpack Your Stuff
Do this sooner rather than later. This is such an easy step to delay, especially after a full day of travel, but the moment you unpack, you claim the space as your own. Even if you’ll only be in the Airbnb for a few days, placing all of your belongings in intuitive spots throughout the space will streamline your entire stay and make the space feel like home. Plug in you phone charger by the nightstand, hang up your clothes up in the closet, put your toothbrush in a cup in the bathroom, and throw your empty suitcase under the bed. We even unpack all of Odin’s gear, from his leash to his treats, so that everything we need for his routine is in place.
STEP 4: Walk Around the Neighborhood
Once you’re all moved into the space itself, it’s time to place it in the context of the neighborhood. Nothing can get you settled into a new neighborhood faster than exploring it on foot. Whether we’re visiting an itty bitty town or a cosmopolitan mecca, we take a half-hour stroll around our new home and see what there is to see. At our second ever Airbnb, this walk turned up a stunning, tree-lined street of mansions, a river front walkway, and two different ice cream parlors. Plus, if you’re traveling with a pup like us, this initial walk squashes any excuses that might bubble up about not knowing where to walk him during your stay.
At our second ever Airbnb, this walk turned up a stunning, tree-lined street of mansions, a river front walkway, and two different ice cream parlors.
STEP 5: Go Downtown for Dinner
There are three goals behind going downtown for dinner. First, you’ll find out where downtown is in relation to your Airbnb and what downtown means where you’re visiting. Whether you find yourself in the middle of a sea of people or at an intersection where the town’s three businesses converge, more often than not, this downtown will be a place you’ll return to during your stay. The second goal is to find somewhere local to eat! We’ve found great takeaway pizza joints, cute coffee shops, buzzing sports bars, and a local brewery that happened to be next to a yoga studio I showed up the next day to join for a month. The third goal is to leave your Airbnb so that you can have the sense of returning. You’ll come back to the space where you now know where to park, what’s on the other side of the door, and find all your stuff already unpacked. It’s the easiest way to feel at home before you hit the hay.
STEP 6: Make the Bed
When you wake up after your first night in a new Airbnb, make the bed. If you weren’t raised by bed-making parents, this might be the time to give it a go. The purpose here is to invest in the space. The simple act of tidying up has this funny way of making an Airbnb feel more like your own place. This is also a great time to adjust anything that might make you feel more at home. For us, that often means simple things like scooching a table a bit in one direction, relocating the box of Kleenex, or opening up the windows to let in some fresh air.
STEP 7: Go Out for Breakfast
Time to see the town in the daylight! Just like with dinner the night before, the goal for breakfast is something local, whether its a cafe, pancake house, or donut shop. We always look for somewhere with good coffee and a place to sit down. If you’re in a bigger city, find a different neighborhood than you explored last night. If you’re in a tiny town, no worries. It will often look different after a good night’s sleep!
You never know what you’ll find. Apparently there are some graffiti-covered Cadillacs stuck upside down in the ground here in Amarillo.
STEP 8: Make a List of Things to See
Over breakfast, we pull out our phones and start compiling our list of what must-see places in the surrounding area. You never know what you’ll find. Apparently there are some graffiti-covered Cadillacs stuck upside down in the ground here in Amarillo. Keep an open mind as you look through the local stops: wacky tourist destinations, state parks, beaches, main drags, good museums. Making this list with fresh eyes ramps up excitement for your stay, whether you’ve got several weeks at this Airbnb or just a few days.
STEP 9: Get Groceries
If you’re staying at an Airbnb long enough to do any amount of cooking, get this step out of the way. You’ll find the grocery store, avoid unintentional meals out, and pick up anything you might have forgotten to bring or anything your host has forgotten to provide. Plus, unpacking your groceries in the kitchen has a similar effect to unpacking the belongings you brought: the more you unpack, the more it feels like your own home.
Plus, unpacking your groceries in the kitchen has a similar effect to unpacking the belongings you brought: the more you unpack, the more it feels like your own home.
STEP 10: Join the Community
For any stay lasting longer than a week, this last step is essential: find a way to join the community. Go online and search for community events. Any festivals happening during your stay? Any concerts or local sporting events? What about a place to volunteer? My favorite approach is to find some sort of local workout place, whether it’s a yoga studio, small gym, or community group workouts. This type of daily participation in the community has transformed each of our month-long stays into something much more meaningful than it would have otherwise been.
Thanks so much for reading about our routine when we settle into new Airbnbs. What are your tricks? How do you make a new place feel like home? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below, and until next time, happy travels!