20 Important Hotel Safety Tips Travelers Should Never Ignore
Hostels are a good, affordable place to stay. A lot of travelers prefer it, they would find good hostels while backpacking across the world. That’s all good and fine, but there is something special about checking into hotels. That feeling of being taken care of, getting pampered and thinking about nothing else but relaxing and having an easy day or week. What’s greater than room service, having someone clean up the mess in your room, and enjoying the privacy of your own bedroom, toilet and bath.
This is essentially our home away from home, and while on vacation, too. That’s doubly special, because what better way is there to enjoy our vacation than to stay in a nice hotel, preferable nicer than our own houses back home. But a hotel room is not like our home, there is still that strange feeling of knowing it is not really ours, that sense of safety and security can never be really 100 percent. As we travel and check into hotels, we learn from experience the good ones and the ones we will never check into again. Here are some tips to get us ahead of the curve in terms of learning and experience, some advice on how to be safe whenever we hire the services of a hotel.
20 GET A GOOD HOTEL
There are hundreds of hotels in any particular country. When traveling, unless we are in a very remote area of a country, there is no shortage of hotels to choose from. So how do we know which hotel is good, which one is affordable but safe and secure? Sure enough, the luxury hotels are as safe as can be, but they are pricey. So to get a good hotel, we can rely on what we are familiar with. Where it is located is also important, we don’t want to end up in a nice hotel, but it’s right in the middle of nowhere, or in an unsafe neighborhood.
19 DO SOME RESEARCH
Knowing what a good hotel is can be done by going online. Here we can find a lot of things about hotels and how we can pick a hotel that’s best suited for us. There are search engines that filter hotels based on the user’s preferences, it’s really very easy now. Enter a city or country, or enter the name of the hotel we want to see if they have one in that city. We can even get a discount coupon while booking online. Of course, get more info by checking forums and blogs and articles about cities and the best hotels in them.
18 CALL AHEAD
Reading everything from a website or a forum is not enough for some people. Even if they are looking at it right at the hotel’s official website, they will still get the contact number and call the hotel. It’s actually a safe practice calling the hotel before we book anything. They always give out information that is not online, then we get to think of some questions to ask as we talk to them. Questions like their security and safety measures, easy access shopping within walking distance, other services and facilities we didn’t see on their website. After that conversation, we then decide if we want this hotel or not.
17 HOLD ON TO YOUR LUGGAGE
Luggage is a common target while guests are in the process of checking in, so keep them close. Maybe it’s the burden of carrying it around all day, that makes it so easy to forget about once we set it down. While talking to the front desk, don’t turn your back on your luggage. Try to put it right by your leg, or better yet, right in front of you, between you and the front desk. A few seconds of neglect is the tiny window a sly thief is waiting for in hotel lobbies, and just like that, your valuables are gone, if not the entire suitcase.
16 SAY NO TO THE GROUND FLOOR
On the topic of hotel safety and security, we have to think about the worst case scenario. What if a fire traps you on your floor? What if there is an emergency in the building? Getting a room on the ground floor is comfortable, we don’t have to ride the elevator anymore, want to go out, no need to wait for the elevator. But it is also easy to get your room broken into. So let’s try to request a room, or make sure we are not on the ground floor, or at a very high floor where there’s no room for escape, whether from fire or any other emergencies.
15 GETTING YOUR ROOM NUMBER
Hospital staff is trained not to do this, especially those stationed at the front desk. But we still see and hear them do it. It may seem like a harmless gesture from everyone else’ point of view in the lobby, but for the bad guys, it’s valuable information. Have the front desk attendant write down the room number for you, or just take the card or key, there should be a room number on there, too. If they announce it too loud for your comfort, there’s no problem asking for a different room. Just say you are superstitious about numbers, especially those that are broadcast all over the hotel lobby.
14 NO CREDIT CARD ON THE COUNTER
Here’s another gesture that we, as hotel guests, probably do all the time. But we do not realize how dangerous it can be. This act is like an invitation to a thief, saying hey’ here’s my credit card info, take a gander! Avoid putting your credit cards on the counter. It’s just a little more effort to hand it to the nice lady or gentleman, at the reception, and for that little effort, we get a smile or a thank you in return. Don’t quickly put it back in your wallet after they give it back, afraid of anyone watching, or trying to take a picture of the card, either. Make sure that it’s your card first.
13 HOTEL’S INFORMATION
They always have these at the front desk, so go ahead and take two, or three. If not, ask for it and they will gladly give them to you. Always have a business card from the hotel with its address and contact number when you go out of the building. If you get lost in the city, you can easily call the hotel. If the cab you rode in does not know the way to the hotel, just hand them the card and it’s all going to be fine. Keep the second copy and put it on the nightstand in your hotel room. The third, as a souvenir, of course, maybe start a collection with it.
12 CHECK THE ROOM THOROUGHLY
Now we are going up to our room and finally settling in, see the nice comfy bed talking to us and wanting a companion. Nope, not just yet. Although we want to just jump right in and rest, check the room first. Leave the door open, let the bellboy come in, then check it while they are watching. Just a quick scan, make sure there’s no one else in there. Make sure the bathroom has a toilet in it. Check the air conditioning, lights, TV and remote control quickly. Any problems, the bellboy will know as soon as you point them out and take care of it right away.
11 MAKE SURE THE DOOR IS GOOD
In that quick scan of the room, the door is the most important thing. It’s the access to your privacy. Just make sure it opens okay and locks better. Any weird feeling or sound or something that does not sound right, we all know how doors work so we’d know, have the bellboy check it out right away. If they make a weird face, ask for a different room. If they say they will have it fixed, tell them you’ll just wait back in the lobby. Check it again after they say it’s fixed, check the deadbolts, the chain, and use them. Some people see them but don’t use them, they just shut the door and jump right into bed!
10 MAKE SURE ALL OTHER ENTRY POINTS ARE GOOD
Now that the door is taken care of, take some time checking all the other entry points in the room. Windows should be closed, can be opened, and have locks on them. If there’s a veranda or terrace, take a quick glance outside, make sure they’re okay. Check behind the curtains, those are sliding doors so they should slide, they’re not called will-slide-a-bit-then-get-stuck doors. Locks on sliding doors are tricky, too. Make sure they are working. Have the bellboy do a demo, if you can’t seem to make it work. These are all important because these are what protect us from what’s out there and wanting to get inside the room.
9 KEEP EMERGENCY LIGHTS CLOSE
Hotel rooms should always have an emergency lamp in them or flashlights. If there isn’t, ask for one, or have one with you, just a small flashlight for traveling, doesn’t cost much. If the hotel’s flashlight is clean and small enough, take it to bed. Put it under the pillows, this way when a blackout happens, we can easily grab the flashlight and we won’t be in the dark anymore. Emergency lighting always kicks in, but in the event it does not, we have our own light just within our yawning reach. We should always be ready in case of emergencies, even when we’re sleeping.
8 DON’T OPEN THE DOOR RIGHT AWAY
How many times have we watched movies where someone knocks on the door and the person in the room just opens the door, countless times. They don’t even ask who it is on the other side or bother to check in the peephole first. More often than not, it’s the hotel staff, but they announce themselves after knocking. So if we’re expecting housekeeping or room service, wait for that announcement first. Then check in the peephole if it’s really them, then don’t open the door yet, just crack it open and leave the chain thingy on. Once you are sure who it is, then welcome them in.
7 USE THE HOME ALONE STRATEGY
Kevin made it look as though there’s a party going on in his house when he’s really all alone. That little gimmick put those Wet Bandits at bay for a while in the film. We don’t have to get as elaborate as Kevin, but we can make an effort to make our room seem like there’s someone in there. Get the Do Not Disturb sign and hang it on the door before we go out. Leaving the TV on with volume that can be heard on the other side of our door is also a good strategy. Some people leave the TV on high volume even while they sleep.
6 BE SAFE, USE THE SAFE
Those cute little safes in hotel rooms are not there for display, we can use it with no extra charge. There is no corkage once you set a password on it. It’s pretty easy to use, the instructions are all there. Just follow them and then you are good to go. Here’s where we can keep our treasures, the jewelry, important and expensive things, items of value that are easily misplaced or we always can’t find right before we check out. Just put them all there, just don’t forget the combination password you set. If you do, then get help and don’t leave the room.
5 CHECK EVERYTHING AGAIN BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Upon checkout, let’s get all the complimentary stuff we can get from the room. It’s for our collection, like the business cards, and pack them safely in our baggage. When all that is done, do a final sweep of the room. Check everything, drawers, counters, tabletops, cabinets, the bathroom. Check the hangers on the wall, behind doors, the closet, the terrace, and the bed. Crouch on the floor and scan the whole area, also under any furniture. Some things are meant to get lost in hotels, but not our things, and not today. So let’s make sure that we check everything before we leave the room for the last time.
4 LOST KEY OR CARD
Losing a key or key card is not just a hassle because we have to pay that charge for a replacement or a lost one. There are two other reasons, one more serious than the other. The first is that we’d have to ask to be transferred to another room. The moment we realize our key card is missing, we have to report it to hotel authorities or any hotel staff right away. Make sure they are taking the news urgently and acting on it as quickly as possible. We’d gather all our things and check into a new room. The more important reason is the possibility that we did not lose it, maybe it was stolen.
3 USE THE HOTEL SAFE
Remember those cute little safes we talked about a minute ago? Some guests feel that these security boxes are not enough for their valuables. Also, not all hotels have one in each room. If this is the case for your room, then head on to the front desk and have your valuables checked in to the hotel safe. It is most certainly a more secure method to take, instead of having an attache case wrist locked to you, how stupid will we look in the hotel pool then, right? But do not forget the receipt for when you sign for your valuables and don’t lose it either, make sure you keep it in a good place where you won’t forget it.
2 ASK FOR A MAP
Paper copies are traditional and always reliable. Smile at the person who has all their apps, even maps, on their phones, they will be as lost as anyone else in the city if they misplace their smartphone. With that in mind, request a map from the front desk, they will have one ready, and ask them to point out where the hotel is on that map. Then keep it in your pants pocket, if the worst thing happens, no thief will be interested in a paper map. Then you’ll know your way back or know where to go if you get cleaned out by a mugger.
1 BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY
Safety and security is an endless routine, something we do over and over again. It works, it’s effective. So don’t let up when on vacation in a hotel. Check the locks on the doors and the windows before you go out of the room, and do the same as soon as you get inside. If something is amiss, call security right away. Some people do not feel secure unless they have added a personal security system for their making on the room’s door. A simple wedge could do the trick. If you’re always checking into hotels, especially with your own family, it is wise to invest in portable door locks, travel door alarms, or motion detector alarms. It may all sound over the top, but better safe than sorry, right?
References: Finchglowtravels, Nerdwallet, Hotelmamallaheritage, Iol, Securitymagazine