One easy way to travel on a budget is to cut back on eating out. This means you might end cooking some of your meals in your Airbnb. While some rental homes have chef's kitchens stocked for cooking, most have the bare essentials—and who knows the last time they were used.
Hosts aren't required to supply food (or kitchen tools), so if there are items in the kitchen, you'll want to put safety first. And while some items might not make you sick, they sure won't help your recipes. If you're planning to cook in your Airbnb, here are some foods you might want to pass on.
Okay, this one goes without saying. Yes, there's the sniff test, but it's better to leave the milk in the fridge and avoid any potential stomach malfunctions. Unopened milk alternatives that aren't past their expiration date would most likely be okay, but say no to any milk products that are opened.
Yes, cooking oils go bad! And who knows how long the olive oil bottle or vegetable oil without a label has been collecting dust. Most oils are best stored in a cool, dark space, so if it's a clear bottle sitting near the kitchen window, it might be rancid. According to FoodSafety.gov's FoodKeeper App, olive and vegetable oils can retain freshness and quality in the pantry for three to five months after opening.
Many grocery stores sell mini bottles of cooking oil, so you can always grab one on the way to your Airbnb.
You should probably avoid butter, especially if it has an off smell or color, which indicates it's gone bad. And if you do go for a stick of butter, make sure it hasn't been used yet—because germs!
If there's a jar of peanut butter in the cabinet or ketchup lurking in the fridge, you might want to think again. Condiments that aren't in a squeeze bottle can be susceptible to germs—who knows who double-dipped in that salsa! But they also might be well past their expiration date (and who knows when they were opened). So if you do use mustard or soy sauce, be sure to check the expiration date.
Cheese is another one of those things—it can get funky smells and grow mold. And while in many cases, mold can be cut off, it's best to bring your own cheese. Who knows how long the block of cheddar or container of grated parmesan has been in there. And again, no one wants to be sick on vacation.
Coffee is a typical convenience many hosts offer guests, so it's probably somewhat fresh, especially if they are coffee pods. But if the bag of coffee is stuffed into the back of a cabinet, it's probably best to pick up a fresh bag of coffee beans at the store or grab a Starbucks. Coffee will go bad faster once it's ground, so keep that in mind if you stumble upon an opened bag of coffee grounds.
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