Our dreamy, island hopping Greece trip was coming to an end. I could have stayed at any one of our five star beach front Airbnbs forever. All packed up, my four best friends and I headed to the little island airport to find that the storm prevented any island exits. Stranded and our vacation fund were depleted.


Our five star vacation came to a screeching halt as we scrambled to find an ultra affordable Airbnb. Cheap! I found the cheapest house on the island that slept the five of us. The tiny one bedroom farm house had cots for beds, a non descriptor bathroom, and no beach in sight. This ended up being our favorite stay with the highest rating, and most glowing review.


So it wasn’t the beds, bathroom, or location. Yes, it was clean. Waiting for us on the antique kitchen table was a homemade olives, fig jelly, and fresh pomegranates. Totally unexpected. We felt so welcome and taken care of. Two days into our stranded state, the grandmother of the farm delivered stuffed peppers. Again, surprised!


From each of my stays, I gather ideas to make my guests have a better experience.

 

1. Cover the Basics:

  • Good Cleaning Practices

  • Quality Sheets and Towels

  • Enough toiletries and paper products

  • Quick, kind communication


2. Welcome Basket

First impressions are worth a thousand words (or something like that). Homemade olives and fresh pomegranates are unrealistic for me, so I created a welcome basket for under $7.00: bottle of wine (best cheap bottle I can find), small bags of chips, oatmeal, and some chocolate.


3. Pick Me Ups

One very plain Airbnb in San Antonio left water, beer and Hershey’s Kisses in the fridge! I was in heaven. We make it a practice to leave some small chocolate treats, sparkling water, or filtered water. We also love to leave a few local beers.

One very plain Airbnb in San Antonio left water, beer and Hershey’s Kisses in the fridge! I was in heaven. We make it a practice to leave some small chocolate treats, sparkling water, or filtered water. We also love to leave a few local beers.


4. Aromatics

Not everyone loves smells, but some lavender by the bedside makes going to bed a spa experience for those who love fragrance. I mix essential oil with witch hazel in a small spray bottle to set by each bed. One of those surprises guests are not expecting!


5. Local Tips

You know how it is being in a new town and wanting to know where the locals go? We put a book of all of the favorite coffee shops, happy hour deals, brunch spots, and local restaurants. Most of our review include a mention of the guidebook.


6. Surprise Baked Goods

Surprise your guests with some fresh cookies or muffins. If baking isn’t your thing, just keep some


7. Real Plants

Bobby, from QueerEye, was stranded in an Austin Airbnb during Covid and gave a fantastic tour on Instagram. His favorite part of the house was the real plants. I gasped! I always have live plants and love taking care of them. They make the space feel alive and cared for.


8. Spice it Up

Keep enough spices and condiments so that they have what they will need but NOT that like someone lives in the house. Take away the ‘almost empties’, dirty bottles, and duplicates.

9. Just In Case

We have all been on a trip and wished a CVS was close by for those items you have forgotten. We filled the drawer with office supplies, creams, and toiletries. The funniest thing its that guests tend to leave items to the point that the content in the drawer grows.


10. Setting the Stage

When guests walk into my Airbnb, I leave a light on and try to have sweet music playing. In fact, I love to have a small bedroom light on so each room is inviting. I have an Alexa so I leave classical music playing. Again, first impressions!

 

...except for one at of our homes