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What time is check in?


Every time I get the question ‘what time is check in’, invariably the day before arrival, I know what is coming next, after have explained my check in time and asked them to go over everything in the itinerary (funnily they aren’t asking for the address or other pertinent info that is easily found). You see, I have my check in times clearly stated in three different places, and I say I am firm due to commitments. What comes next is always the same, varying slightly. Today it went like this:

Hi sandy! Hope you’re well. What time is check-in?

Then the inevitable:

Not a problem-- we’re going to be in the area fairly early. We’ll hang around town until 4, but if anything changes I’ll let you know. See you then!

You see, they want to tell me every time that they are hoping to check in early, but they don’t want to ask to check in early. I am meant to feel sorry that these poor souls will have to ‘hang around in town until 4 from fairly early’. Ugh. I hate this manipulation game. We are in one of the most beautiful and renowned areas in the US. Why would you hang around town waiting to check in to my boring room?. So this was my response:

No need to hang around town unless that’s what you would like to do (it is cool for cafes, antique and book/ record shops). There are so many things to do in the area and places to visit. Please let me know if you need some ideas for your day. Safe travels!

These days I never fall prey to being manipulated like I did for the first couple of years. It only ever put me out and stressed me by having to rearrange my schedule, and there was never any appreciation for the extra work and inconvenience involved. When people book they can see my check in times, and they essentially sign a contract knowing this. I find the guests that try to push my boundaries to be the annoying ones.


BTW, I am just an hour and a half from NYC, so I am not making people from plane flights with luggage hang around or anything. It’s people up for a drive for the day Ina gorgeous area. And, I’m not so unkind. I always give an hour or so concession so as to not seem mean. One thing I have always noticed though is that my great guests never ask, and my demanding guests always do.


i can only think about, that after a long plane flight, probably they want to drop their bags, and rest for a while, and go out later. i always let them check-in early, if the previous guest already left. but its easy for me, i live in the neighborhood, and just put the keys to the letterbox (in case i cant go that early), so they can go in. the letter box look locked, but its not. and since there are no valuable stuff in the apartment (computer, TV, etc), its not problem. somehow my guests appriciates this, they always happy when i tell them this option.


Yeah, they ask because they are hoping you will say, Oh anytime! The room is clean! Just come on in!


I am very clear on my instructions about check in…but occasionally I do get the clod who wants to come early. Never a good sign when they press it. Late check out is the same. Spells trouble.

I never let guests push me around like in the early days. We are not a hotel with 50 free rooms so if you come early you can get a room early. We have to train them out of even asking!

Yes, it is funny how they never ask about the address!!!


Kona, I am more agreeable with early check ins as a guest I used it many many times. Sometimes my flight lasted 15 hours, when I arrive in a morning I am exhausted. I picked hosts based on how flexible they are with check in time. Imagine not to sleep for 24 hours.
Check out time for me was not important at all, if they let me leave luggage. Some hosts didnt let me to even leave the luggage.
As a host I never had guests who asked for early check ins, usualy they are asking for late check outs… During spring breaki was booked back to back. I asked next guests what time they arrive and based on that I allowed couple hours for late check outs.
But it takes me half an hour to clean a room, so it was never a problem.
I will see how it will be this season, may be I will find it difficult, and then I will stick to the exact times


i sometimes allow early checkin. i only work 4 days a week so if the room is ready i’m ok with it. my ex-husband and i share custody with two of my 3 dogs. when the dogs are with him, i’ll leave a key for early guests while i’m working. if my dogs are home there’s no option for early check in. my dogs are lovely with people they’ve been introduced to. not so much strangers popping in on them. don’t want any of my guests eaten… i’m actually crankier about really late check in when i have to work the next day.


Zsuzsanna, you didn’t read both my posts regarding my set up. I am not in a major city where guests are flying in and needing to leave bags and rest. I am catering to guests from Manhattan and Brooklyn, who have driven just 1 1/2 hours, specifically to stay with me, and if they come up early, there are a million wonderful things to do in the area and enjoy a few hours before checking in and bothering me. Yes, it really does bother me. I have 6000 sq feet of home to clean, and every extra hour I have counts. Guests do expect cleanliness, and one little spiderweb (and those suckers do work overtime in a historic home) could have someone thinking I don’t clean.

The people that want to arrive in the morning instead of my stated check in time are trying to get an extra day out of staying in my home. That might be nice for them, but personally as I LIVE IN MY HOME with my guests, and host SIX AT A TIME, I prefer to only surrender my space, privacy, peace, possibility of damage, and everything else that comes with hosting, for the hours in the contract I made with the guests that they agreed they were paying for. Guests that try to push for extra time, just because they want to (which is the only reason around here as you don’t have to arrive early), are trying to get more out of it than we agreed to, as I am the one giving up my time for cleaning by having to run around and prepare things much earlier, and space, I don’t find its worth it, especially as there is no extra thanks involved, because the kinds of guests that ask are inclined to always push their luck everywhere they go anyway.

Now, if I had a different circumstance, such as others above describe where they don’t live in their home to be bothered by the guests being around, perhaps I’d reconsider, if I’d already got the small apartment cleaned. But then, I traveled the world without airbnb, and waited to check in to my hotels at the usual hour - oh no, there were no early check ins in my many trips to France and Europe/Asia. I left my bags at the train station, where you can hire a locker, too. You don’t have to bother people, you know. People traveled Europe and the world long before airbnb and people allowing early check ins. Yes, some hotels allow you to leave your luggage, and you might get a slightly early check in (one hour) if you’re very lucky.



I know exactly what you mean. I get the same thing. All of my guests know when check in time is. They would not have booked if they hadn’t have looked. And with other listings sites these guests sign an official contract stating the check in/out time - so it is in their face.

I used to ask guests the day before arrival if they knew their ETA - that way I could be sure they are greeted on time for the quick tour and key. Then I noticed more and more would almost not respond or I would still be hunting them down for a response the morning of arrival. In reality people just hoped they could show up and make their way in. But I was always able to hunt them down. But they wasted my time since I was busy cleaning for them that day.

So I moved it to two days out to ask - that way there were no excuses or pretending to not receive my message. Then people would say “Oh - we’ll be there at 1 or we’ll be there at 3” - NO! The questions was what is your ETA based on the check in time - a friend told me I might be indicating that they can come early by not restating the check in time. I thought about that opinion for about a minute- but then I knew in my gut it was just a way to try to be manipulative.

Oh, and then when I would reply back - BTW check in isn’t till 4 then it would be crickets. So then I would contact them the next day because I didn’t receive a response. So then it would be “well we’re going to be in the area around noon so if we could get in early that would be great” - So then I would have to text back and say my current guests are not leaving till 11 this morning and my turn around is so tight that it is not possible to check in earlier than 4. - Sigh…

So now I have to tell every single guest two days before that I have guests checking out 11 on the day they are arriving - I don’t care if they question my calendar because they don’t know if a friend is staying there. Anyway, I also suggest the nice park down the street, or the nice grocery store down the street to kill time. If it’s someone I sense who will show up early anyway…I tell them no vehicles are allowed on the property before that time.

I recently emailed one guest after telling him guests were checking out same day and he told me he would be there at 3:30. He said “we are always early.” - and he asked me for the address. I emailed back within the hour and let him know not to arrive on the property early. I also noted the address in this email. I even closed the front gate at 3 p.m. the next day because I had a feeling he was going to barge his way in. Well he opened the gate (there’s no lock) and his entire family is jumping out of the car and walking around the front yard at 3:20. They were asked to leave and return at check in. Then he asked permission to walk around the property. He was told no and they left. When they returned at 4 all hell broke loose. He pretended not to receive my email, and says he found the address by looking up pictures on Flipkey - all a lie.

Another guest who lives an hour or so away said they would be having lunch in the area and wanted early check in. I told him if it was ready early then I would text (back in my nicer days). Well I happened to get finished early and just as I pulled out of the driveway they pull in. What they did was drive from their lunch area, park at the grocery store, and called my partner and asked him if he minded if they went over. He was caught off guard at work and just said “I don’t care.” He was NOT thinking about if I was even done cleaning. My partner knows never to ever again give permission to a guest asking him for early check in. The guest needs to go through me. So, yes most of the early check in is just a ploy to try and get in early.

I will only try to accommodate a guest if there is no same day check in AND they are traveling overnight with no sleep. Sorry but leaving Florida to hop on your plane late morning is not an inconvenience.

I used to sit there and wonder why so many people would just arrive to an area 4 hours early and almost whine like they are stuck. Like Sandy, there are plenty of things to do in my area. And many of guests are not traveling far. They are making the decision to hop in their car at 9 a.m. knowing they are arriving at noon - and will have 4 hours to kill. Then I realized it’s always been a ploy.

I hear horror stories on other sites about guests trying to get in during the morning and walking in on guests who haven’t checked out. Or they drive all night and show up at 5 a.m. and wonder why they can’t get in and other cars are parked in the driveway. Unreal!


And I forgot about the couple who was visiting another couple who only lived 40 minutes away. He said he would arrive at 4. Then sometime before 3 p.m. he texts me and says “we will be there about half an hour early, let me know if this is an issue.” Well it was and I just happened to be near my phone (while cleaning) to hear the text. So I saw it right away and called him immediately to let him know it was not okay. As if his friends living 40 minutes away were incapable of timing their arrival.

And several guests ago, the guy was told the place absolutely would not be ready before 4 and where he could kill time. What do you know? He is knocking at the front door at 3:42 and was asked to return at the proper time. So now a chain is definitely going up on the front gate with a big sign stating not to open the gate if it is not 4 p.m. It’s really a distraction when someone shows up early and I have to stop what I am doing. Plus, I cannot even hear them pull up so someone just happens to walking around when I look out the window.


Hallelujah. I am not alone. Same here Cabinhost. I can not always hear the doorbell, so I have had people just walk right on in like its a hotel. We even had people wander around our home and find their room and settle in. I was livid.

I can’t believe it. These people say all the exact same things to you as they do to me! It is unbelievable. We’ll be there early so would appreciate an early check in. We’ll be arriving at 2:30. Wha? We’ll be arriving at 3. We’d really appreciate an early check in. It’s a huge inconvenience for me. I am always doing cleaning, and it takes a lots of time. I have five beds to make. I have to dust every surface impeccably. No, no and just no. Except I do give an hour early because I guess I am a pushover after all.


We all understand the long flight thing, and that is part of international travel. If early check ins are OK and you don’t mind them being there for several free hours, then it’s up to you. I can never have my place ready before 4 so for me it is not feasible. They are welcome to leave their bags in the carport though… Many don’t because I am an hour out on rural highways. I provide a plethora of ideas for early arrivals! Visit a park, have a mai tai, stroll through the historic town! So hardly anyone asks.

It’s mostly late check out that bothers me. They simply want free time in your place, making it a bit more stressful if you have an incoming guest. It keeps me from renting the place that night, so no. Sometimes I have granted late check out to those flying at 10:30pm or whatever, (with no benefit to me) and they’ve dinged me with a bad review! That’s the thanks I get???

But if you’re ok with it then that’s great. That’s your choice as a host!


Most will gladly take your luggage at the lobby and hold it. Some let you come in a bit early, but as Sandy says it’s usually just an hour.

Confession: I am someone who hates, abhors and declines late check out for my guests, and yet I asked for one myself at my hotel last February in Hoegi, Seoul. They kindly granted me until three and then held my luggage in their lobby until my flight time. They also gladly held my luggage for five days when I went on a side trip to Tokyo. No problem…! It was worth a shot to ask, and if they had said no I would have stored all in my son’s dorm room, a 1.00 cab drive away.

My own son called me on it: "Hey Mama – isn’t this what you hate the guests to do?"
I felt guilty for less than a minute or so. :slight_smile:


Cabin!!! OMG!!! These are the worst early arrival stories I have ever heard!!! I am wondering if you haven’et been clear enough in the documents (not just the Air one online)

I state CLEARLY IN MY GUEST PDF (an additional doc that I send when they book) exactly what the rules are! Here’s an excerpt from it…

I also have it on the driving instructions. CHECK IN TIME IS 4:00 PM

If you were to ask them their ETA in the future, Cabin, I wonder if you could say: “Hi, just wondering your ETA. Anytime after 4PM is fine.”

When I managed my friend’s beach house, I hired my BF at the time to clean. He was told to tell early arriving guests they could not come in until the house was clean. (They could complain later they were given a dirty house!) They could go to the beach (right in front of the house) or wait on the picnic table if they came. But do not let them in until the house is ready!!!

Well, he let them ply him with booze and talk him into stop cleaning and letting them in early… they told him to “bill the owner for a full day, and we won’t tell.”

So he was perfectly good with ripping us off and not following instructions! I fired him and never hired family/BFs to clean ever again!


OH!! Plus I found late check outs try to squeeze an extra beach day in and are always messy in the rush to get back and leave.


Note: this is in reply to your earlier response about your own late checkout in Seoul.
Yes, but as noted, many times it is easier for hotels to do this, with their many rooms, cleaning staff, etc etc. The problem arises when guests think our homes are decked out the same way. I guess many feel the same way, they may as well ask. I feel that in my situation, when people are just doing it to see if they can, then it’s not fair to me because I made myself very very clear, and you are now behaving like a pushy kid trying to get your way anyway, despite knowing what my wishes and needs are. You are essentially saying to me, my wants matter more than your life and schedule, so I am going to be pushy to see if I can get my way.

To be honest, I would have a different feeling about it if there were late or early planes involved, and it was a real inconvenience to guests - particularly long haul flights, but still only as I could, and within reason. I have seen many airbnb’s in Europe have their checkout set to 9am firm, some earlier! And once again, hotels may take your bags, but on my many trips to Europe, I have not always been granted an early check in, and if it happened, it was not by much. You store your bags, and you get out there and enjoy what you came there for. The shower and room can wait. Better for your jet lag anyway :wink: And as most travels doing the transatlantic flights know, you almost always arrive in Europe early in the morning!

A few things can make a big difference. Doing your own room or apartment/home turnovers, and sharing your space with the guests. If neither or one of these don’t apply, it is less likely it will be an issue for you.


Actually my early guest check in problems aren’t even a problem compared to the nightmares I read on the other forums…lol. I have never experienced a guest arriving while other guests are staying. Some people have that problem all the time!

Yeah…all of the guests who have tried to show up early had very clear instructions that the property would not be ready until 4 p.m. at the earliest. Even the guy who opened the gate was told specifically no vehicles were allowed on the property until 4. He pretended to not receive the email. But he did receive the email because in that same email I included the home address. I confronted him on this, and asked how he knew the address if he claimed to not receive the email. He said he looked at pics - he can’t find the house based on a picture. I asked why he didn’t call me for the address if he didn’t think I replied to his email. He said he just didn’t think about calling me!

And the who the hell opens a closed gate after they are told not to enter the property?? I believe the guy had groceries in the car and was going to try and push his way inside - claiming all his groceries would melt. There is no way you would show up 40 minutes early in the middle of the hottest part of the day, just so you can sit in your car. Then again - he was the one who was telling me they would be there early because they are always early. And when they came back after 40 minutes, the entire car was loaded with groceries. And they were pissed!!!

What you mentioned as an example : “Hi, just wondering your ETA. Anytime after 4PM is fine.”

  • I take it even a step further and also add that guests are leaving the same day and the cabin will not be ready any time before 4 p.m. And that’s where I insert the two suggestions if they need to kill time before 4 p.m. - So yes, they know they are not to arrive before then and that the cabin will not be ready before then.

I think that so many have gotten away with arriving early for years. Many have cleaning crews that breeze through within a couple of hours, so when their guests once in a while arrive early, they just change the key code to let them in.

And then there are the others who are used to pushing their way in and trying to run all over housekeeping staff. Oh you don’t mind if we put our groceries in do you? Or you don’t mind if we drop off our bags and use the restroom do you?

Can’t believe the story about the BF- lol! How did you find out??


Cabin…LOL! He confessed!

Wow, people are pushy, and going on the property before the appointed time through a closed gate is just not cool. The lock and chain won’t look friendly, but I would do it too! Guests push us into these things!

I heard the same food sob story from that couple who wanted to borrow the snorkel gear after checking out… pushed about it in fact!! "Our food will go bad, can’t we leave it in your fridge until we are ready to drive south? We will pick it up before 2!

No, I have to clean!!! (Thought, but didn’t say: Once you leave, you are OUT! You don’t get an extra few hours of convenience for free. Plus I have a guest coming in! ) Suggested a styrofoam cooler. You can get them anywhere.

No good (or any) reviews from them or thank yous for letting them use the snorkel gear after check out. THAT will never happen again. I was caught off guard and he was pushy.

Mind you, they reappeared with my gear, right before 4… when the next guest was due to show up. So their food would have been in my apt. that long too!



You are still being extremely nice so they should be very appreciative. If you are letting them in an hour early then that is plenty. They should be ecstatic. I cannot even believe the people who wandered in and got settled themselves. See that is exactly what I worry about and the reason the chain is going up. What if I am taking a poo poo on the toilet and all of a sudden guests start loading in their luggage? I know this is a picture everyone wanted me to paint…lol.

Guest: “Hello, hello, hello - is anyone here”?

ME: “Yes, I am here - can you hear me…I’m up here - I can’t come out because I am going to the bathroom.”

Guest: “What - I can’t hear you - I’m coming upstairs”



Yes, the people that you do favors for always seem to be the most unappreciative. Luckily I am one of the few who gets great guests who receive a discount. I know the majority have problems with those who receive a discount. I only do it for last minute openings. But thankfully they seem to treat the place better than those who pay full price…go figure!

Too bad BF talked his way out of a job…lol! I am going to private message you and Sandy and throw around some ideas of what my sign is going to say…if you both don’t mind? It won’t happen for another week at the minimum. But I think Mr. Sept 14th arrival is going to be one of the pushy ones. He was told three times to pay by E-check. Then he paid by credit card. I cannot turn that option off of one of the sites. I refunded his money and reopened his dates. He claimed he didn’t know the difference between paying by E-check and credit card. Sure! And I don’t know the difference between cash and check.

I have also had to fight the E-check thing where people will sneak to pay by credit card after the agreement is to be paid by E-check - of course stupid excuses - so now they get a refund…ha! And then they start scrambling thinking someone else will take their dates.


That’s great Cabin. I haven’t tried last minute discounts before. Maybe it’s worth a go. How do you go about it? Do you lower your price a couple of nights before?

Lol about the bathroom. It is true though. It’s the last thing you need, worrying about someone barging in. I’m happy to hear what you come up with!

Wow about the payment situation. After a while in ‘customer service’ you realize that about a quarter of people are pretty jerky and totally out for themselves in a way that makes it pretty clear that they don’t give two hoots about the next person. I never realized the world was like this. Call me naive, but before coming to the US, I really had no idea. I don’t know if it’s cultural (I do know Americans are more assertive about getting their needs met, but that doesn’t have to mean treading people’s toes), or just that I was in some blissful naivety before. Granted I was traveling the world as a songwriter on major record labels, so the lifestyle was different… Ah well, I’m adjusting.

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