A guide to accommodation etiquette

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Whether you’re staying in an Airbnb close to home or holidaying in a hotel across the ocean, thoughtful travellers are universally appreciated. Kindness costs nothing when it comes to accommodation etiquette, but to workers doing their best to please it can mean an awful lot.

Checking in

It can be a welcome relief to get to your hotel when you’ve endured a long flight and navigated taxis or public transport with luggage in tow. When you arrive to find there’s a line of people waiting to check in or out at reception, it can really test your patience.

Before you pat yourself on the back for not complaining or pushing to the front of the line, check your body language. If you’re looking repeatedly at your watch or phone, tapping your foot impatiently or muttering to your travel companion, you may as well be shouting at hotel staff that you’re in no mood to wait around and that you wish they’d hurry the heck up.

Instead, take a breath, be grateful you made it and get excited about the days ahead. You’re here! You’re on holidays! Refocusing on the positive means that by the time you get to the front of the line, you’ll find yourself greeting staff with a smile. A little good cheer might mean the difference in them having a good day, and one they go home complaining about.

During your stay

By all means enjoy your hotel room during your stay – you’ve paid for it, after all. But if your hotel offers a turn-down service and you’re heading out for dinner, try not to leave your clothes and toiletries strewn about. Hotel workers who can come in, turn down your bed, and leave a mint on your pillow have a far easier time of it if that’s all they have to do. And remember how many rooms they have to attend to in a short window of time – the more cleaning up they have to do, the more stressful and rushed their shift.

When you leave the next day to go off and explore, do a quick tidy up before you go. Putting rubbish in the bin, hanging up towels that don’t need washing, and corralling all your things back into your suitcase (or at least the closet) shows housekeeping staff you’ve thought of them, and you respect their time. We’re all equals, after all, and how you treat others says a lot about you. What kind of traveller would you like to be?

Have a smile and a thank you ready for everyone who helps you during your stay, from the bartender to the pool cleaner to the person carrying your bags. If you run into housekeeping staff as you’re coming or going from the pool or breakfast buffet (life is rough!), you’ve just been presented with a prime opportunity to show a little kindness.

Credit where credit’s due

Asking a staff member’s name and thanking them for looking after you is a great first step. The second is to jot down their name in your phone so you don’t forget it. Fill out the hotel questionnaire on checkout and mention their good work, along with any other staff members who’ve shown you great service. Really impressed? Go one step further and mention them by name in a glowing online review.

Leave a tip in your room with a note to say thanks when you leave your room for the last time, and return everything to its rightful place (TV remote, I’m looking at you).

Airbnb etiquette

Renting an Airbnb can not only save you money, it’s also a good way of staying in a place that feels like a home away from home. If the host lives on site, be mindful that they may hope guests keep to themselves. Read the property description and any emails you’ve received carefully for clues on how the host would like to engage. Some may enjoy the company of guests, but for others it’s the opposite – they may prefer to be texted or emailed if any issues arise.

If you forgot your toothbrush, be mindful that you’re not staying in a hotel. Few hosts would appreciate a late-night knock on the door asking if they have a spare.

Look after the property as if it were your own and follow the rules when it comes to guests, parties and pets. If they do allow pets, resist having Fido sit on the furniture or sleep with you. Pet-friendly doesn’t mean living as you might back home.

Remove all rubbish when you go, wash any dishes, and wipe down the benches. If you enjoyed your experience, be sure to take the time to write a review. The more five-star reviews a host receives, the more often their property is likely to be occupied – and that’s a fine way of saying thanks.


Travel Insurance

 Something unexpected happen and you can’t make it to your accommodation? Unfortunately, this may happen and it’s important to know what is and isn’t covered.

Some of the reasons TID may cover you after you purchase travel insurance is when:

  • You, or a travel buddy, are struck by illness (or worse) before  your trip or while you’re overseas
  • A close relative or business partner suffers a serious illness or injury
  • A natural disaster hits the place you’re travelling to
  • A natural disaster or fire destroys your home in Australia
  • You’re made redundant or your employer cancels your pre-approved leave

Cover may be provided for:

  • The cost of unused pre-paid travel and accommodation.
  • Costs of return travel, accommodation, and meals if you have to cut your trip short
  • The cost of rearranging your trip before you travel
  • Travel agent cancellation fees – depending on the policy or if the full cost or deposit has already been paid
  • Value of airline points you may have lost due to the cancellation

More details of the cover available can be found here. For full terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions read the PDS and consider if the product suits your needs.


I grew up in the US, Germany and Australia, so it feels more foreign for me to stay in one place than to move around. Since then, I’ve called Boston, London, Seattle, Brisbane, Madison and Sydney home for study and work as a journalist, travel writer and photographer. I specialize in adventure travel, social issues and interiors/architecture. Home is now an 1890s cottage in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. I traveled to my seventh continent last year – an action-packed expedition to Antarctica – and have memories galore of my travels. Snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies, galloping with gauchos in Chilean Patagonia, trekking through Japan, and camel riding in Jordan are among the most memorable. My least favourite travel hiccup was being stranded in Cameroon when I should have been winging my way to Paris for a little me-time. You win some, you lose some.

We have temporarily given our travel insurance plans a break. These include The Works, The Basics, Annual Multi Trip and Domestic plans.

Keep an eye on the TID website for when our products will be available and we’ll do our best to alert all of our travellers.


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