One of the great things about renting an Airbnb is they often include the comforts of home, like a cozy living room and a kitchen — which is especially helpful if you are staying for a few days. Whether you desire a fully-stocked kitchen or only need to make a morning cup of Joe, it’s best to determine if the space has what you require. By reading through the description and looking carefully at the accompanying photos, you can clarify if you are renting a bare-bones kitchenette or potentially paying extra for a chef’s kitchen.
So, although many Airbnbs differ in what they provide, here are a few amenities you should check for before securing a rental.
If you’re used to having a soothing cup of tea or getting your caffeine fix each morning, check the listing to see if it has a coffee pot or tea kettle. However, even if your Airbnb has the right appliances, don’t automatically assume it stocks supplies. “Coffee may seem like an obvious must-have, but one of the last places I stayed in had a coffee maker and only enough coffee grounds for one cup of coffee,” says avid traveler and writer Kathryn Anderson.
Provisions can also vary from country to country, says travel expert Charles McCool. For example, when comparing European kitchens to those in the United States, he was surprised that overseas rentals tended to be better stocked. “They all have had amazing selections of tea, sometimes coffee, and usually treats like cookies and biscuits.”
If you plan on cooking at all, it’s necessary to have at least a few pieces of cookware. “A well-stocked Airbnb must include an assortment of pots and pans in different sizes,” says Phil Dengler, co-founder of travel tip site The Vacationer. Not only should an Airbnb have cookware, he says, but it should also include essentials like spatulas, tongs, and whisks.
Another item to make sure the kitchen has? Potholders. “One of our biggest pet peeves is when Airbnb hosts overlook potholders,” says digital nomad Sarah Vaughan, who often spends a month or longer at an Airbnb. “Potholders are simple and cheap, and yet cooking without them is incredibly challenging.”
Most Airbnbs in the U.S. stock tableware — think glasses, plates, and flatware — but the question is whether or not they have enough for your guest count and length of stay. Part of going away is not having to do chores constantly. “An Airbnb should have enough silverware and dishes where a decent-sized group should not have to do dishes every single day,” says Dengler.
Even if you’re not preparing elaborate meals, some seasonings are a must for basic cooking or adding flavor to takeout. Meaghan Thomas is a spice expert and believes every Airbnb should stock some basics to make a tasty homemade meal. In addition to salt, pepper, cinnamon, garlic, and a few dried herbs, she also thinks spices are a way for Airbnb hosts to introduce local flavors to their guests. “It’s a nice touch to offer a spice blend honoring regional cooking to celebrate the area,” says Thomas. For example, expect creole seasoning in New Orleans or sazon in Puerto Rico.
Dengler says cooking oils such as olive, canola, and vegetable should be on hand as well.
No one wants to deal with messy surfaces and greasy kitchenware for days. Vaughan suggests ensuring that a host has a minimum of spray cleaner, dish soap, paper towels, and a sponge. Not only do these items help you keep things tidy, but it’s also beneficial to the host. “It’s less work for the host to clean up and creates a happy guest who doesn’t have to live with a sticky countertop.”
Some Airbnb owners try to duplicate what’s in their home kitchens for the comfort of their guests. Carefully viewing a listing and seeing that an Airbnb has a blender, food processor, coffee grinder, pressure cooker, toaster, or crockpot can be a pleasant surprise.
Jake Cohen manages several Airbnb units and teaches other hosts how to maximize their space for the convenience of their guests. “I try to think of all the essentials someone would want to have in their Airbnb,” he says. “The easiest way to envision this is for me to ask, ‘What do I want when I travel to an Airbnb?’” Cohen includes zip-top bags, plastic wrap, and aluminum foil so his guests don’t have to purchase such items for a short-term stay.
Certain things — such as a stove, sink, and oven — define a kitchen. However, read beyond the fine print to ensure that you will actually have access to a kitchen, which can vary by listing and country. “One thing that guests need to realize is that they may not have access to a kitchen if they don’t book the full apartment with amenities,” says Becky Moore, a semi-nomadic travel blogger. For example, if you book a single room in a shared household, you may not have any kitchen facilities, or they may be scaled back to just a mini-fridge and microwave.
Even if there is a kitchen, in some countries, hosts are less likely to stock supplies. Anderson has stayed in Airbnbs in Colombia and Mexico, which didn’t always include what is typical in the United States. “None of the Airbnbs I stayed at had anything for cooking or eating other than plates and cups,” she warns. “The cupboards were completely bare.” Whether you’re traveling in the United States or abroad, be sure to read through the listing carefully and reach out to the host with any questions or clarifications.