Checking into an Airbnb means trusting a host with your safety. Unlike a hotel, you probably won’t have a maintenance team or front desk staff available 24/7.
Recent incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning and the use of hidden cameras at Airbnbs have some guests wondering how to ensure their stay is safe and uneventful.
Fortunately, the following simple safety checks can help you avoid wasting money and minimize other potential dangers.
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Look at reviews and ratings
Before arriving at the property, check the ratings for the listing and the host.
BnbDuck.com recommends looking for ratings above 4.8 and choosing a property with more than 50 ratings from separate guests.
Scan the actual reviews and look for red flag words that indicate a setting or area might not be safe.
Ask how often the lock code is changed
Many Airbnbs have an automatic lock system or electronic lockbox that requires entering a code to open the doors. It’s quick and easy to remember just a few digits rather than keeping track of a key.
But how many people have used this code before you? Ask the Airbnb host how often the code changes or request your custom code.
Check for cameras
Airbnb hosts are prohibited from having hidden cameras, and cameras are not allowed at all in private areas such as bedrooms and bathrooms.
Check Airbnb listings to see if they disclose the use of cameras. If cameras are not listed, confirm with the host to ensure they're not present.
When you arrive, take a closer look at areas where a camera could be mounted.
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Check smoke detectors and look for fire extinguishers
Smoke detectors may seem like a bare-minimum safety protocol, but don’t simply assume they’re present. You might find additional comfort in traveling with your own battery-operated smoke detector.
Your Airbnb listing may note that it has a smoke detector, but it’s still worth checking to see that it’s functioning correctly.
Additionally, check for a fire extinguisher in case a fire does break out.
Double-check the locks
Go around to each window and door and make sure the locks are secure and working correctly.
There could be multiple points of entry throughout the property, so you want to ensure that each and every one is keeping you safe.
Confirm there are carbon monoxide detectors
In addition to a smoke detector, confirm that a carbon monoxide detector is present. Carbon monoxide is not something you can see or smell, which makes it incredibly dangerous.
A carbon monoxide detector is the only way to stay alert. Again, you might consider buying your own portable detector for travel.
Scan the property for emergency exits
At home, you know where you would go if a fire or another emergency broke out. At your Airbnb, familiarize yourself with entrances and exits in the same way.
Additionally, if you’re traveling with children, make sure they know where these emergency exits are, especially if they’re staying in a separate room.
Check expiration dates on food
Finding food left by a host is a welcome treat, particularly if you like milk in your coffee or want to grab a granola bar before exploring.
But check the expiration dates on any food items in an Airbnb before you indulge.
Confirm there's a safe available
Whenever you check into an Airbnb, confirm that there's a safe or secure place to store valuables. Your computer, camera, passport, wallet, fine jewelry, and other valuable items should go there.
If no safe is available, consider bringing a portable safe with you.
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Bring your own door lock
Even if there’s an electronic lockbox and the host has told you that the lock is changed between guests, bringing your own lock can give you peace of mind.
Portable door locks are inexpensive and simple to install and provide an added layer of protection.
While you hope that an Airbnb host always has your best interest in mind, it’s your responsibility to mitigate risk and ensure that you have a safe stay.
If you run into red flags as you go through the checklist, communicate your concerns to the host, reach out to Airbnb for support, and always put your safety first.
Performing due diligence can keep you safe and eliminate money stress by preventing you from choosing the wrong Airbnb.
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