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Essential Airbnb Packing List

An Airbnb packing list is different to the usual holiday packing list.

Knowing what to pack for Airbnb accommodation can make all the difference to your enjoyment of your Airbnb and, in turn, your holiday.

This list is based on years of using Airbnb’s all over the world and includes essential items we that we pack and things we wish we had packed!

Don’t let the list below put you off using Airbnb’s – though Airbnb is loved and loathed in equal measure, it is one of the main reasons our family of five can afford to travel. You can read more about our tips for Airbnb here. 


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What to add to your Airbnb Packing List


Travel safety gadgets


Without the security provided by a hotel or resort or legal inspections,  safety gadgets are Airbnb essentials.


A door lock

It is important to remember that Airbnb hosts (and possibly previous guests) have front door keys so can enter at anytime if they wish – as we found out one evening in an Airbnb in Paris…

A simple device to use is a rubber wedge under the door which are quick and easy to remove especially in the dark.

But they vary in quality and the better ones tend to be heavy for hand luggage travel. Plus, wedges will need to be non slip on all floor types as you will encounter carpets, wood, tiles and stone on your travels.

An alternative is to pack your own travel door lock. These locks are small, lightweight and durable.

They are easy to fix into a door to prevent it being opened from the outside and are easy to remove. I recommend practising removing the lock in case you need to exit in an emergency.

red plastic and silver metal safety door lock, things to pack when staying in an Airbnb

Use the door lock in addition to, not instead of, the lock which is already on the door.  If you prefer a non metal door lock, check out the lock we use which is a  reinforced nylon door lock from Lifeventure. 

If you prefer a wedge, then make that wedge work for you in multiple ways!

Check out this innovative door stopper with sensor alarm from Silverline.

This stopper is adaptable to different door frames and comes with an alarm sensor (with different sensitivity settings) which goes off if the wedge is disturbed by someone trying to get into your room.

The great thing about this device is that it can also be used to raise the alarm is if someone is trying to get out of your room such as a sleep walker or curious toddler.

It doesn’t just have to be used at night in the room where you are sleeping – you could fit it to the access door to the balcony or swimming pool.



A travel carbon monoxide alarm should be on every essential packing list. We never travel without one. 

Airbnb’s are unregulated accommodation and are not required to fit carbon monoxide alarms. We have found very few Airbnb’s have one.

white plastic alarm, what to pack for an Airbnb

This Kidde Carbon Monoxide Alarm is what we have on our Airbnb packing list.

The alarm is small (7 x 12 x 3 cms) and at 200 grams is one of the lightest on the market. This alarm guards against an odourless, invisible toxic gas and could save your life. 

A new addition to our Airbnb packing list is a mini smoke alarm even though we always filter our Airbnb searches to show properties with smoke alarms. 

So why do we pack our own smoke alarm? Because properties may contain a smoke alarm but it doesn’t mean the smoke alarm is working. We now pack a smoke alarm after staying in an Airbnb that had painted over the smoke alarm during renovation work!

Choose a smoke alarm that can be silenced – useful when cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen.

If you do purchase an alarm with lightweight lithium batteries, just remember to pack it in your hand luggage as you will be asked to remove the batteries from checked bags. Alternatively, choose an alarm that requires AA batteries.

Or save on packing space and weight by purchasing one device that does both jobs. This combination smoke and carbon dioxide alarm is on my ‘must buy’ list.

A First Aid Kit

Most Airbnb’s contain a basic first aid kit but it is sod’s law that the one thing you need will be the one thing missing! Remember, people before you will use it and not replace items. Always bring your own.



Check out this comprehensive 200 piece waterproof First Aid Kit. For the amount of medical items in this kit, it is incredibly compact at 7 inches long and surprisingly lightweight at 12 oz.

Personal safety gadgets

Many travellers, particularly solo or women travellers, carry a personal alarm when travelling which are also useful when staying in an unfamiliar Airbnb.

These lightweight 30 gram alarms can be used by day or night and the LED light is an added bonus for fiddling with unfamiliar locks in the dark.

A basic but effective safety measure we use when staying in Airbnb accommodation is to create identification and address cards for the children to carry.

We write the address of the Airbnb in local dialect, the phone number of our host and our mobile number onto a piece of paper or card. We then slip it into a plastic identification slip and either attach to the kids clothing or pop it into their daypack. Our kids found these cheap, simple cards more comfortable than the expensive identification bracelets we had bought them!

We initially made these cards for the kids in case we got separated but now my husband and I also carry one. It isn’t easy to remember the full address of an Airbnb if you move frequently!

You can read more of our tips for how to travel safely with children here.


A nightlight

Nightlights are not just for travelling with children!

These lightweight subtle lights will stop you stubbing your toe or walking into furniture when stumbling around your unfamiliar Airbnb in the dark. As they are plug in lights, don’t forget your international plug adaptor.



Essential hygiene items

Quick drying towels

Pack your own towels, rather than use the towels provided by your Airbnb. We always pack our own quick drying travel towels.

These lightweight, easy to wash and quick drying towels are available in a range of sizes and come with their own handy carry bag.

The travel towels are available in different colours so if you are travelling as a family or group, purchase a different colour for each person. It makes life easier!

Click here to see the full range of these excellent towels.

Anti bacterial wipes

A travel staple, anti bacterial wipes should be on everyone’s Airbnb packing list.

A quick clean of door knobs, cupboard handles and taps with your anti bac wipes when you arrive may save you contracting a sickness bug that could ruin your holiday. Better safe than sorry! 


Flip flops

Flip flops act as slippers in an Airbnb (I’m old, I like my slippers) and are useful for wearing on a balcony or around the pool. Plus, when used in a bathroom or walk in shower fit flops help to prevent fungal infections.


Laundry Soap

When you travel light like our family, access to a washing machine is essential.

But just because an Airbnb advertises a washing machine, it doesn’t mean it will provide laundry soap.

We have been caught out by this several times and I hate buying a large packet laundry soap at the supermarket to only use a tiny amount during our stay. Lucky find for the next tenant though!

Now I pack a small amount of laundry soap from home in a waterproof labelled container. Over the years, I have tried ‘travel wash’ brands and soap leaves but nothing gets our laundry as clean as domestic laundry soap.


Your own bar of soap

I’ve lost count of the times we have arrived at Airbnb’s to find used soap in the bathroom. I don’t mind used shampoo but I draw the line at used soap – especially one that is covered in hair!

Bring your own plastic and palm oil free soap in a 100% recyclable container.


brown bar of soap, essential Airbnb packing list

Toilet Roll

Finally, bring at least one toilet roll with you. No one wants to arrive to Airbnb accommodation to find there is no toilet paper. It has happened to us many times.



Practical items


We have never found these items in an Airbnb so it is essential to add them to your Airbnb packing list.


An International Plug Adaptor

A plug adaptor is a must for international trips if you are visiting a country with different sockets to your own.

Rather than pack a plug adaptor and a bunch of chargers for your Airbnb, pack an all in one plug adaptor and charging unit. This space saving international plug adaptor has 4 USB ports plus one Type C charger and comes in its own handy travel case.

Ear plugs

I am not a regular ear plugs user but as I lay in bed in an Airbnb located directly opposite an open all night nightclub, I wish more than anything I had packed a pair.

Now I never leave home without them, just in case. Purchase a pair for all the family here.



Essential Airbnb packing list with kids


Many Airbnb’s offer useful items for visiting babies and children that help to make life easier (and luggage lighter) for travelling families.

We have found some hosts will happily provide items if asked but if in doubt, bring your own.

You don’t need to pack the kitchen sink when travelling with children but these items will definitely make life a little easier for all.


Portable high chair

Portable high chairs lack head support so are only for older babies who are able to sit up unaided with excellent head control. But they are very useful for allowing an adult to be hands free for other kids or to be able to eat your own dinner!

This portable seat harness from Liuliuby offers good support for the baby and I like the secure (padded) harness which can be adapted to fit different chairs. Unlike other portable high chairs, the snug fitting straps on this seat harness will not be easy to wriggle out of.


Portable stair gate

We used our portable stair gate all over the U.K and abroad and on regular trips to grandparents. The travel gates can be used on stairs but also on any room you want to keep your child in, or out of.

You will need to find a pressure mounted gate to avoid damaging walls and ideally one that can open rather than one you hop over!


Travel black out blind

For years we made our own black out blinds with sarongs and tape. They were a faff to put up, ineffective and never stayed attached to the window.

We were lent a black out blind for one of our trips and there was no turning back afterwards!

Travel black out blinds are size adjustable and fit quickly and easily to window using suction cups. They are highly effective and a must have item for travelling families.

Check out this cute Tommee Tippee travel black out blind. It comes with its own travel case and is one of the lightest on the market weighing just 200 grams.

black fabric square with star shaped pattern, Airbnb packing list



Safety gadgets for swimming pools

If you stay at an Airbnb accommodation with a pool,  think about packing your own buoyancy aids or floatation devices such as a baby ring or arm bands.

For added piece of mind, check out this kids pool safety bracelet which sounds an alarm when submerged in water.


Plastic crockery

Avoid embarrassing breakages by adding child friendly crockery to your Airbnb packing list.

Check out the gorgeous range of eco friendly bamboo crockery from Get Fresh. Our kids are too old for the crockery now but we use their dishwasher safe bamboo cups. They are light but long lasting and have survived multiple child use!


pink and purple child's plate, what to pack for an Airbnb


The items in this Airbnb packing list will help you have a safe, enjoyable stay at your Airbnb accommodation. Read our tips for Airbnb bookings and holidays here.

Now you know what to how to book and what to pack, what are you waiting for?

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