So you finally stumble into the lobby of your hotel, tired, dirty, and in a hurry to get cleaned up, get some sleep, or get to the first item on your agenda. You’re fixed up there for the next few days and everything seems perfect so far.
However, this is no time to throw caution to the wind. If you’re traveling on business, you’re probably traveling solo, so these safety tips are even more important on your trip.
- Stay with your luggage – Always keep your luggage close to you, especially if the lobby is busy. Ingenious thieves could take advantage of the distraction. Also, avoid walking into the lobby ahead of your luggage.
- Ask for a room that’s not on the ground floor (it’s too easy to break in). Safety experts advise that you stay between the third and sixth floors in hotels. The rooms are high enough to avoid easy break-ins, but low enough to be reached by fire engine ladders.
- Most respectable hotels with principled staff know it’s unethical to give out names or room numbers, but it can’t be completely ruled out. If your room number is compromised, if it’s announced out loud for example, ask to be given another room. You never know who is listening and your room number is a matter of personal security.
- Don’t place your credit card on the check-in counter – it is easy for a smart thief to capture the numbers with a good camera. And when it’s handed back to you, be sure it’s your credit card and not someone else’s or a fake card.
- Ask for two business cards with the hotel name and address. Set one by the phone in your room. So, you’ll have the name and address of your location when you call for help in case of an emergency. Carry the other in your pocket or fit it in your purse. If you have to take a cab or get lost, you can show the driver your location and avoid being taken to the wrong hotel.
In your room
- If an attendant has escorted you to your room, keep the door open while you check the room. Look in the closet, in the shower, and behind the curtains before you shut the door or let the attendant off.
- Check the lock to be sure it’s working properly. Make sure that the door has a deadbolt and keep it locked whenever you are in the room.
- Use a door wedge to further secure the door – especially when you are sleeping or in the shower. Some criminals have been known to wait until they hear you in the shower before robbing your room or attacking you.
- Place your flashlight or headlamp by the bed. If there’s an alarm or the electricity goes out, you’ll have the light you need to navigate an unfamiliar building.
When you leave
- Do well to safely lock all valuables you won’t be carrying with you in the room safe. Modern hotels with safe deposit boxes that allow you select your own combination are safer than those with keys. Never leave your passport behind.
- If the safe in your room doesn’t appear safe, lock valuables in the hotel safe, but only if you get a written receipt for your items. Ask questions to be clear about the coverage for lost items. Many hotels do not accept liability for items left in the guestroom safes and are more likely to accept for items locked in the hotel safe.
- If you lose your key or room entry card, report it to the hotel immediately and ask to be moved to another room. It may have been stolen from you by someone with harmful intent. You shouldn’t just assume you ‘lost’ it.
Oh, and one more thing: be careful when using the remote. It’s likely to be the germiest thing in the room. Slide it into one of those small clean trash bags or wrap it in a wash cloth before pressing the buttons.