Reading Between The Lines of AirBnB Reviews

As we blogged recently, AirBnB is a big part of our travel strategy. Lori pointed out in that blog that a key part of our strategy is studying the reviews posted by prior guests. You can learn a lot about the property you’re considering by what other travelers have written about it.

But given the adage, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” reviewers tend not to say everything they could, at least overtly. In today’s blog, we help you learn to read between the lines of AirBnB reviews.

“Location, location, location” or “Location is what it’s all about here”

This means the apartment is in a great location, but everything else sucked. It might also indicate the apartment is located directly above, or adjacent to, a pub, disco, restaurant, strip club, or brothel.

“Quiet, out-of-the-way location” or “off the beaten path”

The apartment was nowhere near anything. As we would say back home, it was in the “boonies”.

“Simply Appointed”

There was not enough furniture in the apartment. Some of the rooms might have been entirely empty or containing a single, and rather uncomfortable, chair. The bed is likely an inflatable raft lying on the floor.


The apartment was well organized. Not necessarily clean, but definitely well organized.


The apartment was exceptionally clean. This might also mean the place smelled of chemical cleaners. In some cases it might indicate the place was thoroughly marred with streaks or similar non-spot marring.

“The host was responsive to our requests.”

This indicates that the apartment lacked towels, sheets, or toilet paper upon arrival (why else the need for requests?) It might also indicate the guest was very, very needy. Or perhaps was just enamored with the host’s glamor shot on the website and wanted to see if a model had been hired.


This means the apartment was filled to bursting with eclectic decorations. It might also mean the floor plan was odd, there were uneven floors or low ceilings, and inexplicable doors led to nowhere, etc. Lighting often consists of bare incandescent bulbs with hearts painted on them.

“Interesting artwork”

The apartment was decorated with pictures and posters of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, John Wayne, etc. Or there might be wild splashes of paint on the wall.

“Very friendly host or neighbors”

The likely meaning here is that the host was nosy and intrusive, or neighbors were similar or endlessly talkative. It can indicate that the guest was particularly attractive to the host.

“Lots to see and do”

The building and nearby units are noisy, busy, with lots of people coming and going. If referring to the interior of the apartment, this means the place is jam-packed with the host’s spare stuff, and that they likely moved out harriedly so you could stay.

“Convenient to __”

This indicates the apartment is located in the same place as that indicated. For example “convenient to the bus station” means it’s located in the bus station, such as in the station’s toilet mop closet.


The apartment was small and filled with furniture so there was barely room to walk.


The apartment was the size of a dwarf’s closet.

“No bugs”

This means there are a few bugs.

“Just a few bugs”

This means the place was overrun with bugs.

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