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I am about to embark on my first Airbnb experience for a little over a week. I was wondering if it is customary or expected to tip the host upon departure or perhaps along the way, as it seems like they will be at the house while I'm staying there.

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    Although tipping customs have gotten crazy in the last few decades in America, this is a situation in which you don't need to tip. The people are letting you use their house for a previously agreed upon fee; if the fee wasn't enough, then they wouldn't let you stay. However, if you want to show appreciation to you hosts for treating you well, then you can offer to take them out to dinner. – Chris Mueller Feb 12 '15 at 17:54
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    I have hosted many Airbnb guests, and nobody ever left a tip. To be honest, I'd find it very weird. However, about half of the guest left me something like home-made jam, chocolate, a nice cookie, a note, etc. – Adi Feb 12 '15 at 20:22
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    @ChrisMueller "if the fee wasn't enough, then they wouldn't let you stay" this can be extended to any situation. If the fee is not enough, then taxi driver would not drive me. If the fee is not enough, the restaurant would not bring me food. And so on. No idea why people think that they should tip everyone. – Salvador Dali Feb 12 '15 at 20:25
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    @SalvadorDali Those situations are slightly different since the transactions involve a business (admittedly not always for taxis) while the tip is given to the person who actually helped you. I personally enjoy tipping helpful people, but I hate situations in which I'm expected to do so. – Chris Mueller Feb 12 '15 at 20:35
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    One common rule of thumb when tipping is that you don't tip the owner or proprietor of the business. Since your AirBNB host can be considered the 'owner' of the 'hotel' in which you sought accommodation, a tip would be inappropriate. – LessPop_MoreFizz Feb 13 '15 at 4:24
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In my opinion Airbnb is nothing but a short-let provider. Yes people do rent out their spare rooms, and thus welcome you in their house. But they do so in exchange for money, very much like a hotel, or a bed-and-breakfast, would do. In that sense I don't think tipping is necessary.

If you want to show appreciation to an excellent host, the best way to do so is to bring a gift. Once again, this is not mandatory.

Now, Airbnb does not seem to mention tipping on their website ("why would they?", you might ask). However I did find an independent blogger stating that you shouldn't tip your host:

Bonus Tip: Should I tip my Airbnb host?

This question that has cropped up repeatedly since we published this original post. The short answer is no, you should not tip your Airbnb host. Tipping is a way of showing appreciation for good service, but Airbnb hosts don’t see what they’re doing as a service as such – rather, they’re sharing their home with you as an equal. You and they co-exist in the same space; they do not ‘serve’ you in the same way that hotel staff might do. As such, there is no need to tip them. If you want to show your appreciation, a small gift such as a box of chocolates or even just a note would be more appropriate.

This other article on Inc seems to share this opinion:

Accommodations

Leaving a tip for your Airbnb or HomeAway host is not necessary, and may in fact counter the communal spirit of home-sharing. Instead leave the hosts a gift to thank them for the stay, a nice bottle of wine or even fresh flowers.

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In general, you don't tip the owner of anything, let alone a landlord.

I have a Airbnb unit. You want to be nice to me?

  • don't damage the unit or the furnishings
  • if you have any problem, bring it up with me immediately. I had a guest last week who left his bicycle chained up in the pouring rain overnight rather than ask me for the combination to the garage.
  • leave an accurate and complete review on the website.

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