Bach etiquette 101: How to keep the holiday happy

27 November 2017

With summer holidays peeping over the horizon, baches, cribs and vacation homes up and down the country are looking at busy days ahead.

Whether you’re an owner, a renter or a guest, we’ve taken the unwritten rules of bach etiquette and put them on paper. 

AirBNB or renting a bach from someone you don’t know

Smart bach and holiday home owners put their properties to work when they’re not using them, which means you can enjoy a slice of Kiwi summer almost anywhere in New Zealand. Here are our tips for a good experience:

  • Before you book, read the terms and conditions attached to your stay. In particular, make sure you’re aware of the cancellation rules. Some properties are stricter than others when it comes to refunds.
  • Most properties will list the maximum number of people that are allowed to stay and whether pets are welcome. Don’t bend the rules. It’s quite possible one of the neighbours will alert the property owner to rule breaches, which could mean an early departure for you and your team.
  • If you want to have a gathering or two, make sure there are no restrictions about parties.
  • Keep strictly to checking in and checking out times. If you leave late, it means the next guests will not be able to check in on time.
  • While most places will be serviced between visitors, you can avoid extra cleaning charges if you leave the place neat and tidy. 

Staying with friends

Shared holidays can be huge fun, or not. If you want to remain friends with your hosts and avoid awkward misunderstandings, be the perfect guest by following these guidelines:

  • Ask how long they’d like you to stay, understanding that they may have family and other friends to consider as well as you.
  • Offer to bring bed linen, blankets, pillows and towels. Even if they have supplies at the bach, bringing your own reduces your hosts’ laundry load.
  • Expect to pay your way. Talk about whether you should bring food and wine, or whether a cash contribution would be better.
  • If you are bringing food, ask about food restrictions. Bringing steak to a vegan bach is not a good look.
  • Clarify the situation with pets, i.e. if you have a Newfoundland dog, don’t expect pooch to be included in the invitation.
  • Start your stay off right by arriving with a gift. It doesn’t have to be elaborate - a nice bottle of wine is often enough.
  • Contribute to the daily workload by cleaning and cooking meals.
  • Plan some trips out and about. You can invite your hosts, but they may want some time out to themselves.
  • Respect your hosts’ space and avoid public displays of affection, excess flesh and family disputes. 

Being a gracious host

If you’ve invited someone to stay at your holiday hacienda, you probably have expectations about what they’ll bring and how they’ll behave. But even if you know your guests really well, it can be awkward setting out the ground rules.  A chatty email is probably the best approach. Make sure you mention:

  • How long you’re expecting them for.
  • Whether they should bring bed linen and towels.
  • What food and drink they could contribute to the catering arrangements.
  • The sort of holiday you generally have at the bach, i.e. “We’re a pretty quiet bunch when we’re at the bach, generally in bed by 10. Don’t like to keep the neighbours awake with parties”, or “We like to cut loose when we’re on holiday, so pack your party frock/pants and bring your best jokes.”

Once your guests are installed, respect their privacy as much as possible. If they turn out to be impossible to live with, turn off the water heater and change the WiFi password!

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