1. Give a gift, but keep it simple
You don’t need spend a lot to make a big impression. Bring something small (the more personalized, the better), like a specialty from your hometown. When you depart, leave a handwritten note, a picture, a photo—anything created during your trip.
2. Share schedules
You may be on vacation, but most hosts are in their day-to-day routine. They still have to get to work, feed the family, and run errands. Ask about their schedule so you don’t accidentally step on any toes, and let them know if you have any important time constraints as well.
3. Stay in contact
One of the most common problems we hear from hosts is lack of communication from guests at key moments. When staying in a home, there’s no 24-hour check-in desk. Everyone understands that travel can be a bit unpredictable, but a quick email or phone call can help the host prepare for a change of plans (or rustle up a last-minute supper!)
4. Be a host to your host
If you have a talent, offer your services to reflect the favor back onto your host: Cook a meal, play a song, teach a skill. Host your host and, if you didn't already know him or her personally, you might just come away with a lifelong friend.
5. Set yourself up for success
A perfect space doesn’t always have a perfectly compatible host. If you don’t know your host on a very personal level, be sure to ask questions not just about the amenities but also the experience of staying with him or her, and set your expectations appropriately. Remember: It’s not your permanent space, and the best trait of any guest is gratitude.