How to Be the Best Airbnb Host EVER

We’re back for the third installment of our Airbnb series! If you missed the first two weeks you catch up on the Airbnb tips we’ve already talked about including whether Airbnb is right for you and How to Be the Best Airbnb Guest Ever. This week we’re going to talk about how to be the best Airbnb host EVER! Because let’s be honest if you’re trying to make money with Airbnb you want to be the best host possible so you can book your house more than once.

My sister and I have worked really hard to be the best possible hosts and our bookings/reviews are a reflection of this…we are on track to become Superhosts on the next assessment!  So I wanted to pass along a few things we’ve learned about being great hosts.

Airbnb Tips: Getting Started as a Host

It might seem a little overwhelming to get started as an Airbnb host so here are a few tips as you get started…

  1. Kick things with a $40 travel credit when you sign up
  2. As you are creating your listing be sure to represent your home accurately. If you are misleading in your listing you are going to get poor reviews, making it more difficult to get additional bookings.
  3. When you’re setting your check-in and check-out times, make sure you give yourself sufficient time between guests to clean up. I’d say more than half the time we have people request early check-in so keep that in mind when you’re setting your times…don’t leave yourself too small of a cleaning window
  4. Upload quality pictures that give guests a visual idea of what it will be like to stay in your home…and if you offer special amenities, make sure to include pictures of those!
  5. When you’re first getting started I would set your nightly price a little lower than you’d like. Remember that you don’t yet have any reviews so potential guests can’t read what other guests have to say about you. Once you’ve hosted a couple of guests and have reviews on your listing than you can start raising your nightly price.

Tweet: If you are an Airbnb host, or thinking about hosting, @jmdenouden shares how to be the best host EVER! http://bit.ly/1MCcyHZ

Airbnb Tips: Booking Guests

  1. Respond to every request and in a timely fashion…often times when people are searching for somewhere to stay they will send inquiries to multiple listings. If you take 12+ hours to respond, chances are they’ve already booked someplace else.
  2. Read their profile before you accept them and don’t be afraid to say no to people. If you really don’t want someone with four children staying with it’s okay to say no. This is your house and you need to feel comfortable with who is staying there.
  3. Go with your gut. If your gut tells you not to have someone stay with you, go with your gut. Remember this is your home so if you’re not sure you’re going to be comfortable having those particular guests in your home, you don’t have to accept them.
  4. It’s okay to ask questions before you book a guest. We’ve learned the hard way that it’s important to ask exactly how many friends they’ll have with them when they say, “I’m looking for a place for me and some friends.” If you need more information about the potential guest or their stay, just ask!

If you're looking to make extra money these Airbnb tips will help you be the best host ever so you fill your booking calendar and make money!

Airbnb Tips: Hosting Guests

  1. Be patient with travelers….remember your guests are probably new to the area and unsure of where things are located so they may ask questions you’ve already heard 100 times. Answer them graciously as if it’s the first time you’ve been asked that particular question.
  2. If you live near public transportation try providing a reloadable card for them to borrow…one thing we’ve learned is that the little touches can make a big difference. So even though this might not seem like a big deal, for the guests, this can be quite helpful
  3. Provide information about some of your favorite local spots that the might not otherwise know about as tourists…we keep a guide on our front entry table with frequently asked questions about our condo and a local map starred with some of our favorite places.
  4. I truly believe that doing anything really well means paying attention to the little details. We have a chalkboard in our entryway where we write a welcome message for each guest, we provide beach toys since we live near the beach, and provide some toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, etc) in the bathroom. None of these take us very much time but they are great touches for your guests.

I’d love to hear from you!  In the comments below I’d love to hear if you’ve hosted through Airbnb, what tips you have for first-timers? If you’re an Airbnb host, what tips do you have for guests? If you’ve never used Airbnb, what questions do you have about being a host?

More Posts in the Airbnb Series

Is Airbnb right for you?

How to be the best Airbnb guest ever

Top ten reasons to try Airbnb

If you have any questions about Airbnb feel free to leave a comment or send me an email at girlonthemoveblog01 {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Be Inspired: Jeff and Jennifer

Last Fall I came across this amazing story of a traveling wedding dress (and for the life of me I can’t remember how I came across this blog…probably Pinterest!)  There are several reasons why I find Jeff and Jennifer’s story so incredibly inspiring but it boils down to this…they truly live a life where they don’t just dream big, but they chase those dreams to the ends of the earth…literally!  One of the reasons my blog is called Girl on the Move is because I love traveling…so you better believe I fell in love with their story and project filled with travel!  I would strongly encourage you to check out their book When It Clicks or their photography book filled absolutely gorgeous photographs…it’ll be time and money well spent!

You can connect with Jeff and Jennifer on their website where you’ll be amazed to learn the adventurous wedding dress has traveled more than 200,000 miles!!!

It is my hope that you leave this blog feeling inspired.  Whether you spend 2 minutes reading the blog every month or check the blog on a daily basis, it is my hope that when you click away from my site you leave inspired.  Inspired to try something new.  Inspired to step out of your comfort zone.  Inspired to embrace a new challenge.  Inspired to make a difference.  Inspired to dream big and chase those dreams.  Inspired to live life a little bit different.  Inspired to be the best you possible.  This series introduces you to people and stories that inspire me and it is my hope that they will inspire you as well.

Meet Jeff and Jennifer…

Be Inspired by Jeff and Jennifer and the traveling wedding dress

Here are a few questions I asked Jennifer…

What dream are you currently pursuing? 

I am currently pursuing a long standing dream to write a book!

What is your biggest dream? 

My biggest dream would be to inspire others to explore and delight in nature whether close to home or far away.

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your life? 

That is a tough one because it feels like bragging but I am proud of thru-hiking the IAT (International Appalachian Trail) by myself because it was precarious and dangerous in places.

Who has been an inspiration to you and how have they inspired you? 

My pop-pop was an inspiration to me.  His musical skill and can-do attitude allowed him to pay for med school (for his brothers too) by playing the piano in the silent movies.   He practiced medicine and made house calls until he was 80!  Helen (my adopted grandmother) inspired me with her beautiful marriage and her ability to give everyone what they need in the moment.  She was everyone’s beloved friend who lived her life to the fullest right up to her 93rd birthday.  The last time I visited her she was slinging huge cast iron pans around making homemade meatloaf, brussel sprouts wrapped in bacon and homemade brownies.  I actually don’t eat any of those things but I cleaned my plate!  Also, my husband inspires me daily.  He lives his life with discipline and honesty.  He also lives in the moment and has a happy disposition.  He is a great son to his parents and a perfect partner for me.

How do you handle obstacles that arise as you pursue your dreams? 

In general, I try to plow through obstacles with grit.  If I give it my all and fail it is better than not trying or worse quitting.  Also, I take my chocolate lab for a long walk and lean on my husband for a good hug and support.

Can you share five interesting facts about yourself? 

I am a General Hospital junkie- sad but true, I have watched since high school.

I am a crazy dog lover, there is nothing like chocolate lab kisses

I am a crier- show me a sad show, movie, (commercial even – I can’t watch the SPCA ones) and I will need lots of tissues.

My favorite snack that I shouldn’t eat is cheese (pretty much any kind and the stronger the better) for a healthy choice I love Honeycrisp apples.

I am a hot sauce hound- the natives in Thailand could not believe what I could tolerate!  We go through hot sauce the way some houses go through milk.

I hope Jeff and Jennifer’s travel adventures inspire you!  Where is your dream travel destination?

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Stratford at the Harbor

Y’all I have some exciting news…I’m back with new travel posts! The last couple of months I’ve had the opportunity for some fun adventures (if you want to follow along in real time head over to my Instagram account!) and I’m excited to share them with you!   If you’re looking for more of my travel recommendations, check out the travel map I created with all of my reviews!

Last week I headed to Oceanside, CA for a girls brunch with my sister, mom, and aunts at Stratford at the Harbor. I’d recommend a visit to Stratford at the Harbor if you are visiting or live in the San Diego or Orange County area in California. Here are a few reasons why…

1. They serve fresh coffee cake that is out of this world AMAZING! Like there are hardly words to describe the yumminess of this coffee cake…moist, perfectly sweet, and just fabulous!

Stratford at the Harbor Coffee Cake

2. The location is phenomenal! Nestled in the harbor in Oceanside you have gorgeous water views while you eat breakfast or lunch.  And since the weather in Southern California is perfect nearly all year-round this is a great brunch spot any time of year! Stratford at the Harbor nestled in the Oceanside harbor

3. The details. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while then you know that I love the extra details and believe they take things from good to great. And Stratford at the Harbor nailed the little details! From the baskets organizing the coffee supplies in the server station to the mirror in the bathroom that completes the nautical themed décor in the bathroom. Stratford at the Harbor Bathroom

If you have the chance to enjoy breakfast or lunch at Stratford at the Harbor, let me know!

Also, I’ve been working on updating my travel bucket list so I’m looking for your suggestions…what places and events do I need to make sure I visit in the US and internationally?

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Looking Ahead to 2015

I can hardly believe we are over half way through January!  It seems as though it was just yesterday we were unwrapping Christmas presents and now we are less than a month away from Valentine’s Day.  I have sat down to write a post about the upcoming year more times than I can count and each time I just get stuck and walk away from the computer.  For the first time in quite a few years I have been unable to write up a specific list of my goals for the upcoming year. I have been unable to settle on a word for 2015 and while I am still dreaming big I have struggled to articulate a plan for the year that would help me reach my dreams.

So while many other bloggers shared their plans and goals for 2015 weeks ago I am just now sharing this post with you.  I still don’t have all of my plans worked out but at last I finally have a better idea of what I want Girl on the Move to look like in 2015. Looking Ahead to 2015

During the past year I have had the chance to discover what areas I am most passionate about and how those fit (or in some cases don’t fit!) with the mission behind Girl on the Move.  So this year I will be focusing on fitness, travel, blogging, and inspiration.

As I focus on those four categories, my goal is to create a place where you feel encouraged to live your life just a step outside of your comfort zone and where you can meet other people to create community where you feel inspired and encouraged to try new things.

I’d love for you to stay connected with what is happening here in the Girl on the Move community through my weekly email and I’d love to know what goals and plans you have for 2015 in the comments below!

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Let’s Talk Training Thursday: Racecation Tips

Y’all I have been waiting to do this post since we first created the Training Thursday schedule! If you follow me on my blog or via social media then you’ll know two things about me…I love running and travel! So racecations are a match made in heaven for me! But racecations require some planning, so here a few tips to make the most of your racecation!

Racecation Tips #runchat

Racecation Tips

Tip #1…I can’t stress this first tip enough…Make sure your training matches the conditions where you’ll be going!

This summer I spent a couple weeks in Denver and let’s just say that running in Denver is VERY different than running in Huntington Beach (by a few thousand feet!) If I had tried to run a half-marathon my first weekend there, there is no way I would have made it to the finish line! So be aware of that when you pick a racecation! If you can only train at sea level, don’t pick a race in the mountains. If you can only train with no humidity, don’t pick a race in Florida in July!

Tip #2…Don’t save your new equipment for race day!

This doesn’t just apply to shoes and clothes…it also applies to things like sunscreen! My preferred running time is before 6am…when you don’t need sunscreen. If you arrive on race day and realize you’re going to need sunscreen you have two options…lather up and hope it doesn’t impact your running (it probably will) or skip the sunscreen and risk this…

Racecation Tip #1 #runchat
This picture is from five years ago..I’ve learned my lesson since then!

So test out what you’ll need ahead of time!  Train with the equipment (fuel, water, sunscreen, hat, etc) you’ll be using come race day.

Tip #3…Bring at least one friend or family member!

There will be lots of fans cheering for you along the race course, but trust me, there is something really encouraging about seeing a familiar face. And hey, whoever you recruit to be your cheering squad gets to visit an awesome destination so it’s a win for them as well! Racecation Tip #3 #runchat

My Dream Racecations

The Kaua’I Half-Marathon – I’ve only been to Hawaii once and it was only for a long weekend, so I’d love to go back…and this course looks absolutely beautiful!

Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Dublin – What an amazing way to see this city in Ireland!

Safaricom Half-Marathon – Race with cheetahs in Kenya…sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Swiss City Half-Marathon – Surely you don’t need a translator for running!

Detroit Half-Marathon – Because you get to run in TWO countries in ONE race!

Route 66 Half-Marathon – Usually when you think of Route 66 you think of driving, but what a fun chance to see the scenery!

And call me crazy, but I don’t have a Disney run on my list of dream racecations. This doesn’t mean I woudn’t run one if the opportunity presented itself, just that there are other races I want to run first!

What racecation tips do you have? Where would you want to travel to run a race? Or if you’re not a runner, where would you want to travel to watch a race? Training Thursday | Girl on the Move

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Favorite U.S. Cities: Philadelphia

I don’t know about y’all, but I am absolutely loving this tour of my favorite U.S. cities!  Makes me want to book some flights and check out the new recommendations in San Diego, Nashville, Chicago, and Denver!  Today we head to Philadelphia, my second home!  I moved to Philadelphia after college and the City of Brotherly Love stole my heart!  I am so excited to explore Philadelphia today with Emily from Her Philly!  Her Philly is a lifestyle blog for young women living in Philadelphia.  She is a full-time social media and marketing specialist and enjoys Philly sports, shopping in the Anthropolgie sale room, and searching for the city’s best pizza.

Philadelphia, I believe, is quite an underrated city. We’ve got art, music, festivals, shopping, beautiful buildings, and so. much. history! Growing up in New Jersey, I always knew Philly would be “my city” and moved here immediately after college. After over three years of exploring and taking advantage of everything I can get my hands on, I’ve come up with a list of things I think anyone should do while visiting my fair city. Here goes…

1. Attend a Festival

Philly is big on festivals, and we’ve got a lot of them. There are block parties, concerts in the park, the ever-popular Night Markets, and so much more. Some of the most popular events are 2nd Street FestivalSouth Street FestivalCrafty BalboaItalian Market FestivalBlocktoberfest, and the PIFA Street Fair. Fave Cities Philadelphia Attend a Festival

2. Eat at a Jose Garces Restaurant

I love all dining in my city, really I do. But for a hands-down uniquely amazing meal, no matter what, I go Jose Garces. Garces is an Iron Chef and a James Beard Foundation award winner, and lucky for us, the majority of his restaurants are in Philly. From Village Whiskey to Tinto, Volvér (if you’re looking for fancy) to Amada (my personal favorite!), give one of his spots a try.

3. People Watch in Rittenhouse Park

This really should be called people/baby/puppy watch in Rittenhouse Park, because that’s what you’re going to get. Smack dab in the middle of a bustling district, Rittenhouse Park is one of my favorite places in the city. You can’t beat sitting on a blanket or a bench and taking in the different types of people around you. If you need a little additional stimulation, on the weekends, there is a year round farmers market with fresh flowers, food, and great gifts.

4. Try a New Beer

Philly has some amazing options for beer lovers. I started my journey into learning about craft beer at Monk’s Cafe, but Euology has been a mainstay as well (It doesn’t hurt that you can get amazing mussels and french fries at these establishments, too). We have a ton of breweries that you can tour and obviously, sample. The past few summers, our city has also been exploding with pop-up beer gardens. They are primarily only open in the summer and early fall, but they are a great place to enjoy a nice night with some friends and a cold brew.

5. Explore a New Neighborhood

In addition to its great walkability, Philly is known for its neighborhoods. I spend the majority of my time in Rittenhouse Square, but from the Italian Market to Chinatown, we’ve got amazing things to do pocketed all over our city. I love Queen Village for a walk (the homes are gorgeous!), Passyunk Square for dinner, and Northern Liberties for its unique shopping. Fave Cities Philadelphia Exploring a Neighborhood

If you’re looking for more fun things to do in Philly, check out my blog! I’d love to hear some of your favorite things to do around my city or just say Hi. xx

What’d y’all think of my five favorite cities?  What are your five favorite cities?


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