Please rent responsibly.

By Maggie Seaver
July 17, 2020

Need to upgrade your quarantine quarters? If you’re thinking of renting an Airbnb at some point in the near future, you’re in good company. As people try their best to keep their distance from others during the pandemic, renting a private house with close friends, family, or solo has become a preferred alternative to staying at a hotel or crashing at a friend’s. Vacation rental sites like Airbnb and Vrbo have seen an uptick in bookings over the last few months as people look for safe, isolated vacation spots or a change of scenery while they work remotely. And people need a change of scenery. 

Wherever you plan to rent these days, remember to proceed with an extra layer of caution to make sure this dang virus doesn’t spoil all the fun. (Travel is possible, but it's technically still a risk.) Here are a few key ways to keep yourself safe, your stuff clean, and your reputation as an A-plus renter in tact.

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1 Allow enough time for proper cleaning

Jeanne Breen, MD, an infectious disease physician and researcher, says it’s wise to make sure the property you’re looking at isn’t rented 24 hours before you check. This aligns with official CDC guidelines to allow enough time for a solid for cleaning and disinfecting between the previous renters’ departure and your stay.

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2 Go contactless

Most Airbnb hosts aren’t around when guests arrive, but you never know, especially if you’re renting independently. If you can, Dr. Breen says to “choose a rental that allows you to check-in and check-out without being face to face with the owner.” Limiting person-to-person contact is a simple way to keep you both safe.

3 Have a health plan

“Always know what medical assistance is available (whether it's a pandemic or not),” advises Charles Richardson, MD. Part of planning any trip, he says, should include locating the nearest medical center or hospital to your destination.

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Another no-brainer is to arrive at your rental in a face covering (at the very least), and wear gloves if you have them. Pack extra face masks, hand sanitizer and gloves for the remainder of your stay, too. It’s also wise to tote your own cleaning supplies. “Pack your own disinfectant,” Dr. Breen says. “It should be one that's EPA approved for use against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of Covid-19.” She likes Force of Nature’s effective all-natural cleaner, which comes in a travel-size bottle for disinfecting on the go.

5 Clean when you get there

We know, the last thing you want to do when you get to your vacation house is sanitize—but these are exceptional times. Before you even take those gloves off, “disinfect high-touch surfaces like the doorknobs, faucet handles, light switches, remotes, counters, lamp switches, appliance handles, and any children's toys,” Dr. Breen says. When everything’s clean, toss the gloves straight into the trash and wash your hands with soap and water. Lastly, if you’re not sure if the laundry’s been done, it doesn’t hurt to run a load quickly, just in case.

6 Choose your company wisely

Wherever you’re headed, be smart about who you’re exposing yourself to. “Travel with people only in your close circle or that you know haven’t been exposed to large crowds lately,” says Dr. Richardson.

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