Traveling of any kind requires planning. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, there are many factors that go into planning your trip, and safety is one of the most important aspects. After determining where you are traveling to, you must select where you are going to stay. If you do not have friends or family in the area you are visiting, you most likely will need to stay in a hotel, motel, or rental property. In these cases, it is very important to consider the safety of you and your family or traveling partners.
Choosing a Hotel
Depending on the area you are traveling to or traveling through, your choices of a place to stay the night might be limited.
If you have the time to plan out your trip in advance, do some research on the area in which you are staying. If the area is known to be prone to crime, choose a different location. Hotels in a desired area may be pricier, but safer. On the other hand the price of a hotel is not always a good indicator on how safe the room will be.
High-rise hotels are usually safer due to criminals not being able to access higher floors. Some hotels require you to insert your room key when selecting the floor you wish to go to in the elevator. Unless a room key has stolen, criminals will not be able to access those floors. High rise hotels also usually have fewer entrances so hotel staff can easily monitor who enters the hotel, increasing security.
Choosing a Room
A majority of the time, when you make a hotel reservation or you check-in, a room is assigned to you. However, if you are uncomfortable with the location of the hotel room, express your interest in changing rooms. Most hotels will accommodate if you have a preference of what floor you would like your room to be on. Typically, choosing a room on a higher floor of the hotel is safer that rooms on the ground floor.
Higher rooms are safer from crime due to less accessibility. Criminals do not usually target higher rooms because they do not want to be trapped on an upper floor with limited means of escape. Additionally, select a room that is not near stairs, as criminals often choose rooms to break into nearest to an exit or escape.
Examining Your Room
Once you check-in to the hotel and go to your room, it is very important to closely examine it to make sure it meets all your security needs. It is a good habit to perform an inspection every time you re-enter your room.
Lock the door
Solid wood doors or metal doors are best for protection against break-ins. Test the door to make sure it self-closes and self-locks. You should be required to insert your room key every time you enter the room. Make sure the locks are in working order and the door has a dead-bolt. If the lock or the door appears damaged, request to be moved to another room. Check to make sure the door is equipped with a peephole to see who is at the door before allowing them to enter.
Do not slightly open the door to speak to the person knocking with the chain lock or swing bar lock. These are unreliable locks that with the right amount of force, an intruder can break though. Always use the peephole and only speak to the individual through the door. When inside the room, use the deadbolt lock to secure the room in case your room key has been stolen without your knowledge or an employee tries to gain access without your permission.
Instruct your children to not open the door of the hotel room without your permission. Teach them that even if the person knocking advises that they are housekeeping or room service that you, the parent, must verify first before letting them in.
Make sure all windows are closed and secure
Many high-rise hotels do not have windows that open, however, it is smart to close the curtains when leaving so the contents of your room cannot be seen. You do not want window washers or other occupants from nearby hotel rooms to be able to see your valuables laying in plain sight in your unoccupied room.
Ensure that rooms with sliding glass doors leading out to balconies are also secured at all times. In many cases, balconies or adjacent rooms are close enough for individuals to climb from one balcony to another and access your room from an unlocked sliding door or window.
Check hiding places such as closets, behind shower curtains, or under the bed for an intruder hiding in the room.
Securing Your Room
- Hide Your Valuables
- Check the safe to make sure all of your valuables are still inside.
- Check to make sure nothing is out of place in the room and it is the way your left it (except for obvious changes from a room cleaning).
Make it Look Like You’re In The Room
If leaving the room for the day, place your provided Do Not Disturb sign on the door knob so it looks like your room is occupied. Additionally, you can leave the television on with the volume up to make it sound like you are in the room watching TV. If you are leaving during the day with plans to return after dark, leave a light on in the room to show that there is someone inside. Making it appear like someone is always in the room will help to deter break-ins.
Quick Tips for Increasing Hotel Safety
- Dont give out you room number or invite strangers to your room.
- Dont answer the door unless you know who it is.
- Always use the main entrance of the hotel instead of side or back entrances that may be secluded or unmonitored.
- Look for security cameras to walk near so your surroundings are monitored.
- Make sure the hotel room door is always completely shut when you enter or leave.
- Make sure all sliding glass doors, windows, or doors connecting your room to another room are locked.
- Most hotel rooms have multiple locks. Use all the provided locks.
- If there is a wall light outside of your room, make sure it is working, especially if you are returning to your room after dark.
- Dont display guest room keys in public. Make sure the room key is not sitting out at restaurant table, swimming pool or other places where they can be stolen.
- Dont draw attention to yourself. Be careful to not show large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry.
- Place all valuables in the safe in your hotel room.
- Do not leave valuables in your vehicle.
- Check your surroundings when entering the parking lot or parking garage, especially at night.
- Look for a light post to park under to avoid dark sections of the parking lot.
- Use a valet service if available so you can drive up to the front of the hotel and have someone park your car for you.
- Report any suspicious activity to hotel security or management.
- If you are traveling alone or are the only parent with your children and feel nervous about walking to your room, request a bellman or hotel security escort you to your room.
If you have a good experience at a hotel and felt safe during your trip, try to select the same hotel chain for future trips.
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