Skip to main content

Guidelines for Evaluating the Safety of Lodgings Abroad

While the majority of Northwestern students who travel abroad do not need to arrange accommodations for their time abroad, some students who travel independently or with a small group may need to find their own housing. This resource is intended for students who have received a grant to conduct international research and must also coordinate all logistics of the trip.   

 Whether you’re staying in a hotel, an apartment found through Airbnb, VBRO or another type of home sharing service, such as Servas International or Homestay, a safety assessment of the property should be completed before you book your room. The below steps can help walk you through the evaluation process.  

 First, get a third-party verification of the accommodation site by carefully reading the reviews from other guests. Make sure the comments are recent. Read at least a dozen to see if the listing has any red flags or concerning trends. Airbnb, for example, uses advanced analytics to eliminate suspicious hosts or guests, and every booking is also given a risk score before it is confirmed. Also book with a provider that has a complaints department or a resolution service.

Before booking a hotel room, travelers should read reviews on sites like TripAdvisor to learn more about the venue. For security information, TripAdvisor has a keyword search function that can be used to search for reviews that contain terms like “security” or “safety.”

What to ask/research when assessing an accommodation site:

 Room Layout

 Building Access

 Fire Safety

 Homestays

 Logistics

 Neighborhood

 On-Site Apartment/Room Issues

 Security