a list compiled in retrospect: 24 things to ask before you book on airbnb

  1. Apartment or house? How many units in the building?
  2. If apartment, is there a secure entrance?
  3. If apartment, what floor is the unit on? Is there an elevator? Does the elevator smell of urine?
  4. Does the entrance to the building/house smell of urine?
  5. Is the entrance to the building/house conducive to hiding individuals with nefarious purposes? Are there little alcoves right in front of the door serving as excellent hiding/sleeping spots?
  6. Carpet or hardwood?
  7. If carpet, installed which decade? Describe origin of visible stains.
  8. Are sheets and towels provided? Toilet paper? A garbage can?
  9. Where is the nearest Target?
  10. Water: drinkable or diarrhea-inducing?
  11. Central heating and cooling? If no, are the windows painted shut?
  12. Is smoking allowed in the building?
  13. If there’s no central air and smoking is not allowed in the building, is the bed situated in front of a window under which the neighborhood teenagers gather to smoke pot every day from 6:00-8:30 pm?
  14. When you lie down in bed at night, are you faced with the bottom half of gold-plaited male mannequin? Is it oddly slender?
  15. When I look at the bed and sofa, what is the likelihood I will suspect they contain bed bugs?
  16. Is there a shower?  Or are guests limited to baths?
  17. If shower: would you describe the shower pressure as firehose-like, normal, or the equivalent of tiny fairies splashing you with morning dew?
  18. Is there a spider nest hidden in the bathroom window?
  19. Is your toilet “fussy”?
  20. Is there wireless? Does it work regularly? Does one of your neighbors have a wireless network called “Penis Penis Penis”?
  21. Is there food in the refrigerator? When’s the last time you looked in there?
  22. Is there a coffee maker? Do you only buy decaf coffee and herbal tea?
  23. Will one find silverware in a drawer, or will one search frantically for flatware for fifteen minutes before realizing it’s all stuffed into a glass near the coffee maker?
  24. Do the coffee shops in your neighborhood open before 6 am? Before 7? Come on…before 8?!
  25. Please select the number of hours your neighbors practice musical instruments, sing, or watch their theater-sized TV with full surround sound daily: 1-5; 6-10; more than 10.