Hotel Safety Tips for Travellers
Before your trip
- Make a scanned copy of all your passports, driving licences, credit cards, airline tickets and any other important documents. Save these securely within a cloud storage website online
- Jewellery and all valuables should be photographed prior to the trip.
What to look for in a safe hotel:
- Is the hotel located in a high crime area?
- Fire sprinklers and smoke detectors located in hallways, meeting rooms and hotel rooms.
- If possible, select a hotel which has installed modern electronic guest room locks. The majority of these locks automatically change the lock combination for every new guest, so there is little chance of someone having a duplicate key card to your room. If you lose or misplace your key, ask to have your room re-keyed immediately.
- Is the room equipped with a dead bolt lock and a peephole?
- Secure locks on windows and adjoining doors.
- Room telephones should allow outside dialling
- Well-lit parking areas and interior hallways.
- Parking basement elevators should only go to the lobby.
When arriving and checking into your hotel room
- If you arrive in a bus or taxi, stay with your luggage until it is brought into the hotel lobby.
- Keep a close eye on your luggage, purse, etc. when checking in. (thieves will often take advantage of the distractions to steal items).
- Be aware of people standing next to you or listening to your check-in conversation.
- Ask the front desk personnel not to announce your room number. Ask them to write the room number down.
- When registering, sign only your last name and first initial. This makes it harder to determine gender, marital status or profession.
- Do not leave your credit card lying on the check-in counter while you complete your registration. Make sure the credit card returned to you is yours.
- Take two hotel business cards containing the hotel name and address. Place one by the phone in the room and keep the other in your possession when you need to leave the hotel. If you need a taxi or get lost, you have the hotel full address and phone number.
- Whenever possible do not except a hotel on the ground floor that has doors and windows that open to the outside. Hotels with interior hallways tend to be generally safer.
- For security in motels, avoid ground floor rooms off the parking lot.
- Guest rooms close to the stairwells and elevators are the safest but tend to be noisier. You might also want to find out if the room is located next to a vending area, these also tend to be noisy.
- Observe all passengers in elevators.
- It is wise to board last and select floor buttons last.
- If possible, position yourself near the elevator control panel. If attacked, press as many floor buttons as possible. Keep your back to the side wall.
- If someone suspicious boards an elevator, exit as soon as possible.
When checking into your hotel room
After checking into a room, examine the following:
- Examine the door lock and check that it is working properly.
- Check the wardrobes and bathrooms to make sure no one is hiding.
- Check all windows and outside doors to insure they lock and operate correctly.
- Check the lock on any adjoining room doors to insure they are locked and secure.
- Check the telephone, learn how to make an outside call.
- Familiarise yourself with information about fire safety or earthquake responses, locate the nearest fire exit and stairways. Find the available exit points at each end of the hallway. Does the door open easily? Are the exit signs illuminated? If the lights are out, be helpful and contact the front desk to let them know. Is the stairwell clear of obstructions?
- When you enter your hotel room, make sure the door closes securely and that the dead bolt works. Keep the dead bolt and safety bar on, at all time.
- If you want to test the hotel, call the switchboard from a house phone and ask for yourself. Tell the operator you are not sure of the room number. If the answer is, “She’s in room 203,” this is not a good sign. The correct answer is, “I’ll connect you.” Good security requires that the hotel switchboard do not give out room numbers. The best hotels strictly adhere to this policy.
- Never leave your key in the lock, inside your hotel room (some hotels in third world countries still have these). Keys can be pushed out of the lock from the other side with a pin. A piece of paper pushed under the door, is used to capture the key, the key can then be retrieved.
- If you misplace your room key-card, when requesting a replacement, ask the receptionist to change the digital door code.