How to Write a Check-Out List For Vacation Rental Guests

High electricity bills, a swarm of pesky flies, and a messy guest turnover are all things that can be avoided with a professional check-out list for vacation rentals.

Most seasoned travelers expect to tidy up before leaving their rental but without the right guidance, they might end up doing tasks that are the opposite of helpful such as making the bed instead of stripping the sheets and leaving them in the wash basket.

This article explores vacation rental check-out lists—what they are, when to send them, and how to send them for the best results. With a combination of guest communication tools, automation, and vacation rental email templates [+ SMS templates], we’ve found the perfect solution for creating customized and professional check-out lists in no time.

RueBaRue lets you quickly and easily schedule check-out messages containing your departure instructions and automatically send them to your guests. Book a demo personalized to your rentals to see the platform in action.

What is a check-out list for vacation rentals?

A check-out list for vacation rentals is a set of basic instructions that guests should follow before their departure. Although they might be overlooked or forgotten by many vacation rental owners and property managers, check-out lists are extremely valuable because they:

  • Speed up your guest turnover. A check-out list means that your cleaning staff will need less time to prep the property for the next guests, meaning that you can optimize your turnover process while also cutting down your cleaning costs.
  • Help conserve energy and reduce your impact on the environment. By asking renters to shut off lights, electronics, and heating systems before leaving the property, you can save a significant amount of energy and make positive steps towards sustainability even if you don’t have a smart thermostat that allows you to control the temperature remotely.
  • Decrease the chance of your property being damaged. You can protect your short-term rental from being broken into by reminding guests to lock all doors and windows before leaving and clearly indicating where they should leave their key.
  • Boost your guest experience. Having clear expectations and instructions helps make the check-out process run a lot more smoothly.

If you’re managing a vacation rental property remotely (or you’ve opted for a contactless check-in for your vacation rentals ), this quick guide can help set clear expectations with your guests and simplify the entire departure procedure.

It’s crucial to focus on the basics and avoid overwhelming guests with too many tasks. In most cases, your clients are already paying a cleaning fee and therefore shouldn’t feel like they have an endless list of errands to go through on the last day of their vacation.

Keep things simple by sticking to less than 10 tasks and be sure to always wholeheartedly thank visitors for their compliance.

Image of girl cleaning dishes

Credit: Cottonbro from Pexels

When should you send a check-out list to your guests?

The best time to send check-out instructions to guests is the night before their departure. Doing so ensures that the information is easily accessible and also increases the likelihood that clients will follow the list as it will be fresh in their minds.

If you already have a vacation rental welcome book with house rules that you send to guests before their arrival, you can directly add your check-out list to it and increase your efficiency.

Image of woman checking her laptop

Credit: Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

How should you send check-out instructions?

While you may be tempted to print out your check-out list and stick it on the fridge for guests to see, this option is flawed because a physical list is likely to get lost or end up in unappealing conditions.

On the other hand, going digital but deciding to send your check-out lists to guests manually can also lead to unnecessary mistakes. If you’re juggling a portfolio with several vacation rentals, chances are that you’ve got a lot on your plate and the last thing that you want is to have to set reminders for every SMS and email that needs to be sent out.

While you can get the job done through OTAs like Airbnb,, and Vrbo, vacation rental guest communication tools like RueBaRue solve this problem in an instant with automated messaging. Here’s how it works:

  • Sign in to your RueBaRue account
  • On the dashboard at the top of the page, hover over Automate
  • Click on Message Templates and then + Add a message template
  • Fill in the name, subject, folder, and desired template
  • Hit Save
  • Once that’s done, hover over Automate in the dashboard again
  • Click on Scheduler
  • Choose the template that you just saved and fill in the remaining information

Later on in this article, we’ll go over a free template for vacation rental check-out lists that you can start applying to your property management business today!

Preview of RueBaRue's scheduler

Preview of RueBaRue’s Scheduler

What should your vacation rental check-out list include?

The first thing your vacation rental check-out list should include is the check-out time. Although your guidebook should already highlight this information, it’s important to gently remind your visitors in the rare case that they have lost track of time or misread the vacation rental house rules .

Most of the tasks that you set in place depend on your specific property so here are a few ideas that you can choose from!

Living room

As living rooms are often the place where guests spend most of their time, you can ask them to:

  • Close and lock all windows and doors
  • Turn off heaters, air conditioners, and fans
  • Turn off lights and electronics (like TVs or speaker systems)
  • Put any furniture that was moved around during the stay back in its original place

When asking guests to turn off specific electronics or heating systems, always include clear instructions on how to do so. A process that might seem obvious to you may not be for others, especially if they don’t speak the same language.

Preview of a living room

Credit: Jason Boyd from Pexels


The most common and useful check-out requests for kitchens include:

  • Putting the trash bags into outside containers
  • Emptying out the refrigerator and freezer
  • Filling and turning on the dishwasher

If you have a cleaning fee, there’s no need to ask guests to do a deep clean of the kitchen as it can instantly jeopardize your relationship with them. Instead, only ask visitors to do essential tasks that avoid attracting bugs and other critters.

Bedrooms and bathrooms

In the frenzy of packing up, guests often forget some of their personal items. It’s never a good feeling to return home and realize you’ve left behind some of your favorite belongings in a rental.

As a property manager or owner, you can help avoid this occurrence by asking guests to double-check the bedrooms and bathrooms before their departure.

You can also request that they:

  • Leave dirty bath towels in the wash basket or laundry room
  • Strip the beds
  • Turns off lights, electronics, and heating systems
  • Close and lock the windows
Preview of a bedroom

Credit: Terry Magallanes from Pexels


This category is especially important as it includes instructions on where guests should leave their keys. You can also ask visitors to:

  • Turn off exterior lights
  • Clean the grill and double-check any other outdoor amenities on the property
  • Return pool games, floats, and goggles back to their original place and put the pool cover back on

A handy vacation rental check-out list template

Writing a check-out list can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. We’ve put together an easy-to-follow template that you can customize freely for your own rental business.

[Guest’s Name],

Thank you for choosing [Property Name]! It’s been an absolute pleasure having you here and we hope that you’ve thoroughly enjoyed [City].

Before your check-out on [Date] at [Time], we’d like to ask for your help with a few tasks.

  1. Please leave the bedsheets and towels in the wash basket that can be found in [Location].
  2. If necessary, load the dishwasher to avoid attracting flies.
  3. Clear the fridge and cabinets for any food or beverages that you may have forgotten.
  4. Place the trash in the outdoor bin: [Include Detailed Instructions Here]
  5. Double-check the property for any personal belongings that you may have missed!
  6. Ensure that all the lights, electronics, and cooling/heating systems are turned off.
  7. Close and lock all windows and doors.
  8. Last but not least, please leave the house keys in the lockbox. [Insert Instructions Here].

We really value your opinion and would appreciate any feedback on your experience. You can message us directly at [Email Address] or give us a call at [Phone Number].

If you’ve had a positive experience, we would love for you to leave us a review [Link] as it helps our business grow!

We hope that you have a safe journey back to [Guests’ Home City/Country] and that you visit us again soon.

All the best,

[Your Name]

Things to keep in mind

It’s worth mentioning again that check-out lists are not a way to transfer cleaning responsibilities to guests. In the same way that your check-in process highly impacts how your visitors view the rest of their stay, the check-out procedure also influences the way that guests remember their stay in the future.

Now that you know what to include in your check-out list and how to send it to guests for the best results, you can rest easy knowing that your properties will be returned to you in optimal conditions. Use our template to impress guests with your readiness and leave a positive mark on them all the way up until their last day!

RueBaRue lets you quickly and easily schedule check-out messages containing your departure instructions and automatically send them to your guests. Book a demo personalized to your rentals to see the platform in action.

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