The First Thing You Need to Do When You Check In to an Airbnb

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When you arrive at your Airbnb or another vacation rental after a long day of travel, you might be tempted to hit the hay or maybe head out for a nice, quiet dinner to relax.

But money expert Clark Howard says there’s one very important thing you need to do before you get started with the rest of your vacation!

Take This Step to Avoid Unnecessary Charges From Your Vacation Rental

“The very first thing I want you to do when you check into your Airbnb,” Clark says, “is to take video and photos of everything. Pay special attention if it looks like anything in your rental is damaged or there might be something missing. Then do the same thing right before you check out.”

By documenting the state of your vacation rental the moment you check in and again just prior to your departure, you’re protecting yourself in case the owner accuses you of stealing from or of damaging the unit.

It’s the same advice Clark has been giving for years when it comes to renting a car.

And while it might seem like an extreme step to take, it could save you a great deal of time and heartache down the road.

Take, for example, the story of Renata Lambert, which is recounted on the consumer help site Elliott Advocacy.

Lambert, who lives in California, was accused by an Airbnb host of stealing a 42-inch television from a rental apartment in Warsaw, Poland.

“I was wrongly accused by my host of taking a TV set from his rental,” she told the site. “Airbnb took the host’s accusation at face value and passed judgment without hearing my side of the story. Airbnb has charged my card on file for damages. How can I prove my innocence?”

While taking video of the apartment as she checked in and checked out might not have proven Lambert’s innocence beyond the shadow of a doubt, it certainly could have helped — especially if the TV had been removed prior to her stay.

The same goes for damage that you might be accused of doing to a vacation rental, according to Clark.


“A lot of these hosts on Airbnb and other rental sites don’t keep close tabs on their properties,” he says. “They might only check in on them every few weeks or months. If they find that there’s been damage done or items have gone missing, they may default to blaming the last renter. Having a video showing what the condition of the property was when you arrived and left could be key to proving that you didn’t do it.”

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