Before your trip
- Copy all credit cards, airline tickets, passports and important documents, front and back.
- Jewelry and luggage and all valuables should be photographed prior to trip.
What to look for in a safe hotel:
- If possible, select a hotel with has installed modern electronic guest room locks. The majority of these locks automatically change the lock combination with every new guest so there is little chance of someone having a duplicate key to your room. If you lose or misplace your key, ask to have your room re-keyed immediately.
- Is each room equipped with a dead bolt lock and a peephole?
- Fire sprinklers in hotel rooms, hallways, and meeting rooms likewise for smoke detectors. If each room is not equipped with a smoke detector, are sprinklers systems installed in the hallways or is your only hope the local fire department.
- Each room telephone should allow outside dialing.
- Guest phones located in hallways and lobbies should not allow direct room dialing. Anyone using the phone should have to call the operator and request a room by guest name, not room number.
- Secure locks on windows and adjoining doors.
- Well-lit interior hallways, parking structures and grounds.
- Hotels that have limited access to hotel structure, generally the more limited the access; the less likely a trespasser will enter.
- The parking garage should not have elevators taking passengers to guest floors. It should only go to the lobby.
- Does hotel provide personnel trained in guest security and available for escorts to rooms and auto when requested?
- Is the hotel located in a high crime rate area, especially when traveling overseas? Check with the US Embassy’s Resident Security Officer in that country and they can alert you of areas to stay away from.
When arriving and checking into your hotel room
- If you arrive in a bus or cab, stay with your luggage until it is brought into the hotel lobby.
- Keep a close eye on your luggage, purse, etc when checking in.
- If the lobby is busy, thieves will often take advantage of the distractions to take your things with them.
- If you are staying in an older room which still has the older guest door locks with metal key, one of first signs of how a hotel treats the issue of security is to observe how hotel room keys are controlled. If it is checkout time and a pile of metal room keys are laying on the front desk, the hotel is not too concerned about your security. Anyone can take and key laying on the desk. This is not a big concern if the hotel is using electronic key cards but is if the metal keys have the room number embossed on it. You will find this more prevalent overseas.
- Ask the front desk personnel not to announce your room number. Rather, tell them to write it down or point to it. If the desk clerk should do this, explain the problem and asked to be given another room. You never know who is listening. Your room number is a matter of security, and the fewer people that know your whereabouts, the better. There’s no need to announce it to the entire hotel lobby.
- Be aware of people standing next to you or listening to your check-in conversation.
- When registering, sign only your last name and first initial. Don’t use titles or degrees. Makes it harder to determine gender, marital status or profession. If you are a women traveling alone, you might consider booking your room as Mr. and Mrs.
- Don’t leave your credit card lying on the check-in counter while you complete your registration. Also make sure the credit card that is handed back to you by the hotel clerk is really yours.
- Instruct the desk not to give out your name and room number and ask for them to call you if someone inquires about you.
- Immediately upon check in, get two business cards or matchbooks with the hotel name and address on them. Place one by the phone in the room so you know where you are and keep the other on you when you leave so you know where to come back to. If you get lost, you have the address and phone number handy. There is nothing more frustrating than telling a cab driver to take you to the “Marriott” and they ask which one?? That could be one very expensive cab ride. Or if you are in a country where you don’t speak the language, you can simply show a taxi driver the matchbook, and you’re on your way back to the hotel.
- Maximize safety and security. Select a room located between the 4 and 6th floor Avoid rooms above the sixth floor–the maximum height that fire-department ladders can reach. For some fire departments overseas, and within the United States, they do not have equipment to reach hotel floors above the 6th floor
- 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. If you can’t get a room on a higher level, take one facing the interior courtyard.
- Guest rooms that are as close to the elevators as possible are safest, but tend to be noisier. You might also want to find out if the room is located next to a vending area, those also tend to be noisy.
- Women should be accompanied to hotel room and room should be checked
- 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 and if attacked, push as many floor buttons as possible. Keep your back to the sidewall.
- 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 guest room lock and be sure it is functioning properly.
- The closets and bathrooms are checked to make sure no one is hiding.
- All windows and outside doors are checked to insure they lock and operate properly
- The lock on the adjoining door is checked to insure it is locked and works
- The telephone is checked and you know how to make a outside call
- Look for information in room about fire safety and read to become familiar with nearest fire exit / stairway. Locate nearest fire exit. Find one at each end of the hallway. How many doors away? 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 debris? Make a note on the back of the business card that you place by your bed noting the number of doors away to the emergency exit, in each direction, and the location of the fire extinguisher and fire pull box.
- 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. It cannot be stressed enough that you should never prop your hotel room door open. Anyone could walk in.