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One thing you must do before you leave an Airbnb

What do a beachfront hut in Bali, a private room in Marrakesh and a loft in Florence have in common? Airbnb, the purveyor of unforgettable trips. Each distinctive location is available through the online platform that has ruled the short-term rental industry for more than a decade.

While you may find the experience of a lifetime during your travels, there is one thing you must do before you check out. Forget this and your amazing trip could quickly turn into your worst nightmare. Speaking of nightmares, tap or click here to avoid the latest rental scam.

It’s not easy to think beyond the relaxing days and fun-filled nights before you. Nevertheless, don’t skip this essential step when you’re a guest with any short-term rental company, including Airbnb’s competitors HomeAway and VRBO. Here’s what you need to know.

Check our list

Airbnb doesn’t provide a comprehensive checkout policy for all its listed properties. This is understandable considering they have more than six million listings worldwide.

This lack of a corporate checkout list leaves the property hosts to create their own, which guests need to follow or they could face additional fees determined by the host.

To give you an idea of what to expect on your to-do list when checking out, here are a few standard elements that appear across all rental properties. This list is by no means exhaustive and may vary according to your host(s):

  • Place any dirty towels and linens in the designated area.
  • Take out trash to a specified location.
  • Check to make sure you left nothing behind.
  • Lock property and return keys.
  • Leave a review.

After researching checkout list examples, templates, suggestions and recommendations from other rental property hosts, nowhere could we find a list that included a warning that the guest must log out of any online or streaming service accounts before checking out.

RELATED: People hate cameras in Airbnbs but a trashed home shows why they’re needed

Things to consider before logging in to your online accounts

Although you may not think logging out of your accounts is a big deal, consider the privacy concerns. When you use the Wi-Fi at your Airbnb, there’s a good chance the network isn’t secure. This means anyone can access your accounts.

What do you keep on your accounts? Passwords, your name and credit card information. Previous guests could have modified the router to redirect web traffic to their own computers, which can be done without leaving visible evidence.

The last thing you want after a nice relaxing trip is to return home and discover your bank accounts have been cleaned out and you’ve been locked out of all your accounts.

RELATED: The Uber (really Airbnb) for boats

Sign out before you check out

Logging in to your online accounts for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and other sites and services during your stay could open up your information to hackers; however, signing out of all devices under each account upon checkout will help minimize further exposure.

Note: It is recommended you review your accounts after your trip and change your password as soon as possible after logging out.

Ways to protect your data

Of course, there are a few ways to protect your information while at a short-term rental. You can go off the grid and avoid using the internet during your stay. Or you can use your smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, though this will come at the expense of your cellular data.

Another option is to utilize a VPN or Virtual Private Network. One significant advantage of using a VPN, such as ExpressVPN, is all communications are encrypted and indecipherable by cybercriminals. Learn more in the video below.

Protect your privacy with the VPN Kim trusts: ExpressVPN. Get three months free when you sign up for one year at

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