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INSIDE: When you’re renting an Airbnb during Covid, there are some important things to know beforehand. You’ll learn those things here, as well as some alternative options.

Renting an Airbnb or other short-term rental was already growing in popularity before COVID-19 became a thing, but it’s only become even more popular. The ability to practice social distancing and be on your own is something many families are looking for. Staying in a hotel is something that many people are not quite ready to do yet.

(SEE ALSO: Hotels vs Airbnb during Coronavirus)

(SEE ALSO: The best Airbnb in Athens Greece)

Tips for Renting an Airbnb During Covid

When we were looking to go on a road trip to Michigan last summer, we opted for an Airbnb where we could spread out and social distance during the pandemic. We didn’t see our Airbnb host or property manager even once (even when we accidentally locked ourselves out). Of course, I’m pretty good at locking myself out of Airbnbs…

(SEE ALSO: I may be the dumbest Airbnb guest ever)

Enhanced Cleaning Protocols

Airbnbs, like many short-term rental properties, have added enhanced cleaning protocols. One negative that I’ve felt about a vacation rental property is that with a hotel you (in theory) have a bit more of a consistent experience, while with an Airbnb there is a lot more variance. Airbnb’s enhanced cleaning protocols are an attempt to standardize at least the cleaning and sanitization across Airbnb listings. The cleaning protocols are mostly common-sense cleaning and sanitization procedures, including:

  • Sanitizing all high-touch areas and frequently touched surfaces with an EPA approved disinfectant
  • Providing hand sanitizer stations where appropriate
  • Disinfecting all high-touch surfaces

How do you know if an Airbnb listing participates in the cleaning policies?

To know if an Airbnb host is participating in the enhanced cleaning protocol, look for Enhanced Clean at the top of their listing. The enhanced cleaning protocol was optional at first for Airbnb, but as of November 2020, if a host declines to participate, their account may be suspended.

Social Distancing at an Airbnb

One of the biggest perks about renting a vacation rental like an Airbnb is the ability to participate in social distancing measures. Along with Airbnb’s enhanced cleaning protocol, they have introduced a social distancing protocol for hosts and guests. Even if you are not showing COVID 19 symptoms, you are required to follow Airbnb’s social distancing guidelines, including wearing personal protective equipment like a mask if you have to interact with other people not in your household and maintaining physical distancing.

(SEE ALSO: These were the social distancing and mask rules I encountered on my road trip)

We have always preferred to rent Airbnbs that are the whole house / apartment. In those cases, we very rarely if ever see our Airbnb host or any other person (which is how we like it!). I know that there are other short-term rental options where you can rent a room or a particular space, with a more bed-and-breakfast model. In those cases, hopefully your host won’t try to charge you an extra $410 like mine did.

Airbnb’s updated cancellation policy

When we canceled our Hawaii Airbnb back in March 2020 (right when COVID was first starting), we were able to cancel 4 days before our scheduled arrival date and get a full refund. Since COVID became more of a thing, Airbnb updated its cancellation policy to allow more flexibility for people who were showing COVID 19 symptoms or whose travel plans were affected by the outbreak. 

By now, everyone has heard of COVID-19 (right??!?!), and it is kind of “baked into” everyone’s travel plans. That means that there aren’t as many unique cancellation policies when booking a short-term Airbnb rental. So just be aware of the cancellation policy of the Airbnb listing that you are looking at booking, and make sure to follow those guidelines. My advice would be to look for a listing with a flexible cancellation policy since you never know what might happen, especially if you are booking several months out.

Other options besides renting an Airbnb during COVID

There are several alternatives you have besides renting an Airbnb during COVID-19. One option that many people are doing is considering a virtual travel vacation instead — lots of museums, parks and other historical sites are offering virtual tours.

While a virtual vacation appointment isn’t the same as actually traveling, it might scratch some of the same itch.

You also have the option to stay in a hotel if you feel comfortable with that. Many hotels are incorporating some of the same cleaning and social distancing measures as Airbnb, so it is still an option. I stayed in several different hotels during a fall road trip to Oregon and felt pretty safe with the procedures they had put in place.

What do you guys think?

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