As the holiday travel season approaches, everyone is booking their stays in hotels and hostels around the world. Given that hotels are very public places, they also can produce a number of safety risks. We’ve chosen the top 5 biggest hotel concerns, and are offering suggestions to keep you safe and happy as you travel and enjoy your holiday season.
Be aware of your surroundings from the moment you arrive. Does the neighborhood look like somewhere you can walk around safe without hesitation? If it does not, or even if it does, ask the hotel staff about public transportation options, and also if they offer escorts to certain places, like your car in the parking garage, or to the nearest taxi stand.
The concerns here are really dependent on how the front desk staff handles the check-in process. First of all, if you are putting your identification or credit card on the counter before they pick it up to enter your information, the security cameras may be able to spot them and zoom in on your personal information.
Second, when being given your room information, if there are other people around you, pay attention to who is listening into your conversation. If the desk staff announces your room loudly enough that others can hear it, request that they give you a different room and do not announce it. By announcing that information, they open you up to potential stalkers or thieves, and commit a direct violation of your privacy.
Entering Your Room
The easiest way for someone to get into your room-but also to keep someone out-is the main door. Whenever you enter your hotel room, you should automatically lock both the deadbolt and the extra chain. Some people recommend getting an extra door stop to wedge under the door, or in extreme cases buying a motion detector for the door handle. That might be a little more than is needed.
Remember to keep the any windows or sliding doors locked, as well, especially when you leave the room. Always put up the “Do Not Disturb” sign, even if you would like your room cleaned. (You can request it at the front desk.) Also, if someone comes to your room, even if they say they are a member of the hotel staff, if you did not request assistance, do not open the door. Call the front desk, and verify that the person at your door is truly a member of hotel staff if you have any suspicion whatsoever.
Storing Your Valuables
Most hotel rooms provide a small safe in the closet that are available for your use, but beware. Most of these safes have a generic reset code that can be used by any of the hotel staff, and many of them are also not solidly bolted to the floor or the wall. This is not to say that they cannot be used, but these are just things to be aware of.
If you are leaving a backpack or other small back out in the open, bring luggage locks with you. You’ll need one strong one to latch your bag to an unmovable object, like a dresser drawer or desk, and smaller TSA-approved combination or key locks for the zippered pockets.
For really important items, like extra cash, or travel documents, invest in a money holder or passport holder that you can wear under your clothes, either around your waist, or around your neck.
When You Go Out
In addition to being aware of the surroundings of the hotel always be aware of what’s going on around you. Most hotels give out maps of the streets closest to them, pointing out stores and restaurants nearby. Always keep the hotel’s address on you at all times, in case you are taking a taxi or get lost. Remember there might be more than one hotel with the same name in the same city.
Never give out more information than you need to, especially to strangers. Always play it safe, and if you feel like you are being put in an uncomfortable situation, call the police or security
Holiday trips should be fun. They should be escapes and enjoyments. But that doesn’t mean they will always be 100% carefree. When you travel, keep your eyes open and your belongings safe. Then, enjoy your holidays.