By now most people in the social and travel communities have heard about the woman who rented her place out via Airbnb and returned to her worst nightmare. Since going viral, her story is a telling account of the endless list of possible scenarios that can occur when you let your guard down. a 19-year old woman, Faith Clifton, was arrested in connection with the ongoing investigation.
1. Require the guest to send you a message. Rather than just allowing any person to freely temporarily set up shop in your abode, you should have them send you an intro and try to gauge the person there. For sites like Couchsurfing, be sure to detail how the ‘surfer’ should contact you and what they should include in their request.
2. Read their references/reviews. This is definitely an quick and easy way to get a feel for someone. If there is a questionable reference or review you can easily contact the person that left it. If the person doesn’t have any references/reviews you should request more information.
3. Leave references/reviews for guests. Consider this your way of paying it forward for future hosts. I know that I would love to know if someone stayed at your place and cleaned out your kitchen just before leaving. The same way, you should leave a reference/review for the wonderful person that stayed with you and left you a great bottle of wine as a gift.
4. Have someone stop by. This is especially important if you are going to be away for a while. This could be a neighbor that can walk by or a family member/friend that has your spare set of keys. It’s a little comforting to know that your home and the contents of it are safe even if that means there are those five awkward minutes that Scott stops by ‘to pick up a dvd.’
5. Protect your belongings. If it’s something that you would consider irreplaceable, you may want to consider putting it somewhere safe. Granted, you should not need to hide anything because people should know to not encroach on your privacy but since we know this is not possible in today’s society. Things like passports, birth certificates, and jewelry should definitely be safely tucked away. Consider getting a standard safe to store items in or checking out something more creative like a wall clock with a hidden safe. These inexpensive options are little ways that you can further safeguard your belongings.
In the end there is no way to truly know how a guest plans to spend their time in your home, you can only try your best to make sure your belongings and well-being are your top priorities. This is not to say that you should background check every person that wants to stay with you. There are tons of amazing people to meet and things to learn from them, unfortunately you can’t trust any person that asks you to open your door for them.