Check that AirBnB before you let your kids free

This weekend we stayed at an AirBnB. I’d never actually stayed at one where it looked like we were staying at someone’s house they were currently living in, and when we walked in and her stuff was in every drawer and pantry, I did a little searching right at the start just to make sure there wasn’t anything my kids could get into.

Choice finds were medication in a childproof bottle that the childproof had been disabled, and a knife stashed in a drawer that would probably not have been a danger for my kids, but then again probably they would have managed to drop it on their feet somehow.

I’m not going to sit and bash the place or that there was medicine, however comments we had over the weekend like “sure glad the smoke detectors didn’t work,” after discovering a bag of moldy sweet potato fries sitting in the top of the stove rack where they couldn’t be seen (bag, plastic around it,) have lead me to a whole lot of “we’ll investigate this on any future AirBnB visits.”

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So kids, learn from my fail…

Check for smoke detectors

It’s not legal to have non working smoke detectors. That said, the fine if you’re actually fined is something around $50. After the bag of fries caught on fire from attempting to pre-heat the stove (we always check, I didn’t even see it when it was burning,) I did a sweep around and found the best of the 90’s smoke detector sitting in a hallway.

Maybe it would have worked, but I somehow doubt it based on how old it looked and how much smoke billowed out before we got things under control and the burning plastic bag outside.

Check for weapons / drugs

The weapons I found were a knife, and the drugs were all probably ibuprofen in a pill bottle, just not expected so you know… really never have been to one where the place was a full time house lived in by someone else.

Check for alternate methods of entry / exit

This is the second AirBnB where I’ve been where the entry door became inaccessible. The last one was an electronic lock (Schlage,) that just stopped engaging/clicking/doing anything and had to be physically turned with a key before working again. This particular lock was a brand new looking setup in which the deadbolt must have been on that perfect precipice of being good, or being jammed to the point of being unable to turn without 100+ pounds of force pulling the door back. Nothing appeared off.

In the first incident (last year,) we had to have the owner get us a code to a box that contained a spare key to turn the Schlage electronic lock and then it started working for the rest of the trip. In the case of this last one luckily the back entrance had the same key and we were able to get into it. The door swelling went down, or I learned at that point to put large amounts of weight pulling into the door. It was not tunable without weight, although it slid smoothly in during the times when we left. Got to be swelling. Or demons. Maybe demons.

We ended up leaving a window unlocked just in case because I trusted neither of the locks at this point.

Check the stove more than you should

We’ve got kids, we’ve got friends who have turned on stoves with a pizza box in them by accident, and we check stoves every time.

This small bag of rotten sweet potato fries with gray hair was top rack and back. Top rack was at the top as well. Perfect “you gonna burn the crap out of this,” location.

Who puts a bag of sweet potatoes in a stove?

Get your emergency exit plan in place

We didn’t do this here. We had two known good exits but really should have had a plan just in case.

Have the host contact somewhere not in the AirBnB

Didn’t happen this time, but last time standing soaking wet within five steps of our towels in cold weather with phones low on battery we nearly ran out our luck.

That’s about it. I’m sure there are plenty of things I’m forgetting but just some words of advice. Check better than you would at home, and practice on the locks and figure other ways in.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.