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Airport Pick Up Guide for Homestay Hosts

Filed under Advice for New Homestay Hosts. See all articles.

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Many of our hosts offer airport pick up to help their guests feel welcome. It makes a great first impression and just feels great for your guest to have someone waiting after getting off a long flight. We know it takes at least a few hours of your valuable time to meet your guest at the airport and your efforts are sure to be appreciated.

However, if you're just getting started with hosting, we recommend declining airport pick up and instead suggesting a taxi, ride sharing service, prebooked private transfer service, or perhaps public transit if it's viable.

This article covers how to pick your new guest up, a pre-arrival checklist, the logistics of meeting each other at the airport, and guidance on pricing.

How to Pick Your Guest Up

You will either pick your guests up with your personal vehicle or travel together on public transit. If you drive, you have the choice of parking and waiting in the arrivals hall or waiting in your vehicle at a safe place near the airport, such as a gas station. If you wait near the airport, ask your guest to contact you after clearing customs by calling from a pay phone or sending you a message.

Pre-Arrival Checklist

The key thing to do at least two weeks before arrival is communicate everything very clearly. Try to connect with each other on an instant messaging platform such as Hangouts, WhatsApp, or Messenger a few weeks before arrival. This way, you can contact each other quickly if your guest can only use wifi at the airport.

Ask for the following information from your guest:

  • Flight number and scheduled arrival date and time.
  • Mobile phone number (even though he or she will be roaming).
  • Email address.
  • Photo of your guest (so you know what he or she looks like).
  • Number and size of suitcases/bags (so you know if it will all fit in your car).
  • Emergency contact of someone who speaks your language.

Additionally, provide the following to your guest:

  • Mobile phone number.
  • Email address.
  • Your airport pickup fee and payment terms (more on this later).
  • Photo of yourself. You can upload a photo through your HomestayBay account.

Instructions to give your guest

Instructions will depend on your method of pickup.

If you will wait in the arrivals hall, it can be helpful to write your guest's name with a fat black marker on a piece of paper and hold it up. Tell your guest you'll be holding their name up on a piece of paper, or perhaps wear something easy to spot, such as a distinct scarf.

If you wait in your car, either advise your guest where to find a pay phone that accepts card payments after entering the arrivals hall or to connect to the airport's wifi and send you a message. Remember that he or she will probably be tired and nervous, so it's best to be very explicit on where to go to find a phone.

Also advise your guests to turn their phones on or disable flight mode after landing. It's easy to forget after a long flight.


1-2 Days In Advance

Chances are good that your guests will be very nervous and this very well could be their first experiences in your country. Send a message a few days before to let them know that you're eager to see them and reassure them that you will be waiting when they arrive, repeating the arrival instructions you previously agreed on.

Ask your guest to send you a quick message or email before boarding their plane when they start their journey and if the flight requires a stop, to advise you of any delays or unexpected changes.

The Arrival Day

Before you leave for the airport, verify the flight arrival time and ensure that your mobile device is not in silent mode – you don't want to miss a call.

Also bear in mind that if your guest must go through customs and immigration, this will add a delay of just a few minutes or possibly a few hours – you can never be sure. It might be helpful to bring your iPad/laptop or something to read.

Pricing Guidance

Some of our hosts offer this service to their guests for free, and if you're a member of that group, thank you for your generosity. However, we are also aware that you are taking your time and resources to welcome someone new and that it's fair to cover those costs.

To get an idea of what fee you should charge, consider the costs you will incur getting to and from the airport, including any parking fees and road tolls.

Consider the rough round trip distance to the airport and multiply this by your cost per km or mile. You might use the mileage rates provided by your country's tax agency for guidance:

With this rough cost in mind, add the cost of one hour of parking at the airport and consider this as the minimum amount that covers your costs. From this point, it's your choice on what fee to set.

An example is that if you work out your travel cost to be $30 and airport parking is $15 per hour, you might quote a fee of $45 plus an additional $15 if they take more than an hour to clear customs.

Another method is to consider what a taxi or ride sharing service would cost to get an idea of what is reasonable. Sometimes, it can work out to about the same amount.

We suggest asking your guest to bring cash in your currency from their point of departure and to pay you when you arrive at your home. This tends to be the easiest way and you'll likely need to collect the initial payment for staying in your home at around the same time. It's also helpful to prepare a receipt of payment to keep a written record.

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