Hotel Safety Tips for Travelers
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Hotel Safety Tips For Travelers

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.

Room Selection

  • 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.

Elevator safety

  • 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.
  • When inside a hotel room, for whatever length of time always use the dead bolt. If the room does not a dead bolt or heavy-duty security clasp but has a chain, twist it to take up the slack before latching it.
  • 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 not give out room numbers and the best hotels strictly adhere to this policy.
  • Never leave your key in the lock inside your room (some hotels in third world countries still have these). they can be pushed out from the other side with a pin. The crooks simply slides a piece of newspaper under the door, the key drops on the paper and the crook slide the paper and the key back under the door.
  • If you loose your key, ask for a new room or have the lock or electronic key card changed.

When inside your hotel room.Door Stop & Alarm by Swege

  • Place your room key and a small portable flashlight in the same place every time, preferably close to the bed.
  • If you have to leave the room in a hurry due to an emergency, you won't have time to be searching for your key. Also, you'll need the key to get back into the room.
  • It's much too dangerous to be stumbling around in a dark hotel in the middle of the night if the electricity goes out. Also, if you have to evacuate in the event of a fire, the flashlight will help guide you down a smoke filled hallway.
  • Remember, if there is a fire or other such emergency, you are pretty much on your own to evacuate yourself, especially at night. What you learn in the few minutes it takes you to orient yourself to your room and the surrounding areas could mean the difference between life and death
  • Keep the door to your room locked at all times by utilizing the hotel door's primary and secondary door lock.
  • When inside your room, use a portable door Swedge or other portable door lock when sleeping or in the shower. This may seem a little overkill but overseas, hotel burglars have been know to frequent hotels that use standard metal room keys that are easy to obtain. Unfortunately many hotels do not change the locks to the doors when the keys are lost. Criminals know that many of the hotel rooms might contain valuables of the presumed wealthy western traveler from the United States. Some of the crooks are very bold. They have been know to listen to the room door to see if you are in the shower. If they think you are in the shower, they enter your room with the spare key (because some international hotel rooms do not have secondary door locks) and steal the travelers wallet, purse, or laptop. If someone else is in the room, the crook who is sometimes dressed like a fellow guest simply says “sorry, the front desk gave me this key.” By employing a door Swedge will keep out these sly crooks and will could an alarm if attempted. See a listing of portable door locks and travel door locks below.
  • If you receive a phone call to your room and the person states they are with the hotel and need to come to your room and repair something, use caution. Always get the employees name and call the front desk to verify that it was a legitimate employee who called you and they do in fact need to come to your room. Some criminals are known to where hotel uniforms or pose a plainclothes security. The best bet is to be your own security guard. No matter how effective hotel security is, it can't think of everything.
  • The door to your room must never be opened by anyone unless the guest is absolutely known.
  • If you receive a knock at the door and the person says they are an hotel employee which you did not specifically request, do not open the door, call the front desk to check on the employees validity of employee.
  • Use the security viewport to see who is outside your door. If you are unsure about who the person is at the door, leave the secondary door chain or swing lock engaged while opening the door for further protection.
  • Be careful when leaving balcony doors and windows having access to the outside open at night when you are sleeping. Some hotel burglars have been known to hop from balcony to balcony looking for sliding doors or outside windows left unlocked or opened by guests, and sneak into hotel rooms when guests are sleeping and steal valuables. If you have additional concerns about this, consider utilizing a portable motion detector alarm and face it towards the opening of the hotel balcony or open window to alert you and scare off a potential hotel burglar. See below for additional information on this type of product.
  • If you use the pre-order menu that hangs on your door all night, don’t mark a first name or the number of people in the room — this reveals to anyone passing your room that you’re alone.
  • Know that their have been some occurrences of privacy issues surrounding people looking into hotel rooms form door peep holes. This could be in issue - especially if you walk around naked in your room. Cover the peephole on the interior side of the door with a Band-Aid or stick a piece of pager in the hole. This way you can easily peel it off when you need to peek out.

Leaving and securing valuables in your hotel roomPacsafe Travelsafe 12L GII Portable Safe

  • Obviously store any valuables in your in-room safe. Know that before you get to your hotel, in-room safes vary in size and all of your larger valuables like your laptop or tablet may not fit. If you items won't fit, consider using the hotel front desk guest safes, as many times they are larger.
  • Know that in many hotels, the in-room safes are not covered by the hotel's insurance - some hotel guest contracts state that valuables are only provided insurance coverage when they are only secured at the front desk safe.
  • If your room safe won't hold all of your valuables, and you don't want to use the front desk safe, their are several different sizes of portable travel safes that a traveler can take with them when on the road. Here are a variety of portable travel safes to consider.
  • If you don't use any type of safe, make sure you bring luggage equipped with locks, so you can secure your valuables inside. Remember out of sight - out of mind.
  • Keep luggage without locks zipped closed and out of sight. If you leave your luggage unzipped or open and on your bed or the floor, you invite tampering. Re-pack your luggage daily as extensively as you can and keep it hidden inside a wardrobe, closet or under the bed to lessen the chances of someone finding it and stealing from it.milockie hotel safe lock kit--CorporateTrave
Hotel Safe Considerations
  • Depending on the type and age of your hotel, typically safes which let you select your own combination are safer than room safes with keys that may have had keys copied by dishonest hotel employees.
  • Some travelers report that their credit card numbers may have been compromised by someone who may have entered their hotel safe and copied down their numbers. This is very hard to prove. Some travelers place their credit cards in a sealed envelope in their hotel room safe so they can tell if this has occurred.
  • Research your hotel online - is a great research site - look for terms such as theft from hotel room safes or related comments. Here is a link to give you an idea of some travelers comments on the theft of items from their hotel safes overseas. Unfortunately in some hotels, dishonest employees use master keys to remove items from your hotel safe when you are away. This tens to be a larger problem outside the United States.
  • If you want a higher level of security for your room safe, consider purchasing your own personal hotel safe lock that lets you place your own lock on your safe. Only one hotel safe lock is on the market today to allow you to better safeguard your safe's valuables. This product, the Milockie Hotel Safe Lock can be reviewed here.

When you leave your hotel room for the day or evening

  • Make sure the balcony doors and windows are locked when leaving - some hotel burglars have been known to hop from balcony to balcony looking for sliding doors or outside windows left unlocked or opened by guests.
  • When you leave your room, always leave or radio on to make it seem like someone is in the room.
  • Ask maid to make your room up during breakfast. Place “Do not disturb" sign on door. If you want maid service, call to housekeeping and tell them to make up the room but leave the sign on the door. The sign is valuable when you aren't in the room because it gives the impression you are still inside.
  • When you leave your hotel room, pull the door completely closed behind you in order to make sure the door latch has engaged. Take a moment before you leave to try the door and make sure it is closed and locked.
  • At night, leave a light on and drapes should be partially opened as if someone was inside.
  • Always use the security vault in hotel. The in-room safe is adequate sometimes. The ones least recommended are those that take standard keys (usually overseas). Preferred are those that have an electronic combination lock. The front desk deposit boxes are usually safer but more inconvenient.
  • Don't display you guest room key in public or even inside the hotel or at the swimming pool. Some hotel burglars have known to walk by casually, observe the number in the key if stamped on it and make false charges in the hotel restaurant, bar or store and using your room number. This is more of a concern when traveling overseas and staying at hotels which still have metal room keys with room numbers displayed.

In case of hotel fire when you are inside your hotel room

  • Assess the situation: Crawl to the door on hands and knees, so you can breathe the fresher air near the floor. Touch it with your hand—only briefly, because it may be very hot. If the door is hot, do not open it. 
  • Notify authorities: Instead, telephone the hotel operator, give your name and room number, and report the fire. Then, get an outside line and dial 9-1-1 to report the fire directly to authorities. This call may save your life and may be the first alert the fire department receives.  If traveling internationally, know the local emergency dialing instructions.
  • Seal your room against entering smoke: Turn off the ventilation system. Fill the tub with cold water and soak sheets and towels in it. Use them to block the ventilation duct and the spaces under doors. Put the mattress up against the door, holding it in place with a piece of furniture. Then soak it with water, using your ice bucket as a pail. If there is any smoke already in your room, clear it with the bathroom exhaust fan.
  • Protect your lungs: If it's still smoky in your room, breathe through a wet towel that covers your nose and mouth. Breathe only through your nose. Grip part of the towel with your lips and teeth. It can help remind you not to breathe through your mouth. 
  • Clear flammable debris from the window: Rip off the curtains and anything else that could burn. Don't break the glass. You may need to close it against smoke entering from outside. But, as long as the air outside is fresh, open the window a crack and breathe it in.
  • Keep fighting until help arrives: Many people in fires have jumped to their deaths, not knowing that help was on the way. If you have to jump from the window, push out and away from the building to avoid hitting ledges on the way down.

What to take with you when leaving your hotel room

  • Take a minimum of cash, and only enough travelers checks for that outing.
  • Carry “bait money” for potential thieves.
  • Wear minimum jewelry, especially women. Women, wear only a simple wedding band in lieu of a diamond ring. Remember in some foreign cities and even some area within the United States, a diamond ring might be worth what a criminal might earn in a year. Remove the temptation!
  • Keep credit cards and t/checks in separate pockets.Pacsafe Travelsafe 5L GII Portable Safe

Laptop security while staying in a in hotel room

  • Laptop computers or other expensive items can be easily stolen from hotel rooms. The only way to protect them is to leave them at the front desk in a safety deposit box or to secure them in your room. If you want to take the easy way by leaving them in your room (most of us do) use a security cable to a fixed object in the hotel. I always attach my laptop to the pipe under the sink in the bathroom when my laptop is left in the hotel room for several hours. Think about it. Would you leave your wallet or purse sitting on the table in the middle of your room? Usually not, but you would leave a $3,500 laptop sitting there! Which is more valuable? Several mobile laptop security devices are available to help keep your laptop and other valuables safe when you are away from your room and these items will not fit in the in-room safe. Here is a listing of laptop security products to consider.

Hotel parking lots

  • If you valet park your car at the hotel, and valet driver puts a card on your dash, make sure it does not have your room number, always keep it private.
  • Always walk in numbers at night, especially in hotel parking lots
  • Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. Crooks know that rental cars contain items of value.
  • Park as close to an exit as possible.
  • When approaching a car, always have keys in hand.
  • Women should keep purses close to their bodies not loose around or dandling off a shoulder. Keep it in front of you with a hand on top of it. Do not feel awkward to ask for an escort to your car. It is recommended to use the valet service at night.

Hotel Security Products

Some travelers require an additional layer of security for themselves, and/or their property when staying in hotels. The following is a list of hotel security products that many travelers utilized.

Portable Door Lock or Travel Door Locks

These types of portable door locks typically insert into the latch hole in the door jamb. Once inserted, the portable door lock has some type of locking or pressure mechanism that is used to brace against the inner door surface and the door frame, preventing its opening. The disadvantage of these types of travel door locks is that when used in Europe, or even in some locations here in the USA, the door frame will have what is called a "wind block" strip covering the portion of the door necessary for inserting this type of lock. This is where you need to consider the design of the portable door lock you are considering.

Portable Door Stop or Portable Travel Door Wedge

A traditional travel solution is to use some type of door wedge which is jammed under the door to prevent anyone from opening it. There are several on travel door stops or door wedges on the market, each providing a variety of options in what it does and how it keeps a door from opening. Portable door stops can range from a standard rubber door wedge, to one that is highly engineered. The downside of the cheaper door stops or door wedges is that they can slip, especially on carpeted floors, however you will see that some have unique Velco backing which prevents this.

Portable Door Stop Alarm by Swege Door Stop & Alarm by Swege

Many hotels outside of the US do not conform to the security practices of the US.  If there is no dead bolt on the door, you can be vulnerable to unwanted entry by hotel personnel, or anyone with a room key - which is why you should consider a portable door stop alarm.

There is no comparison to other door stop alarms on the market when it comes to reliability and quality! It is made of high-impact plastic with a stainless steel door plate and includes a reusable smooth floor adhesive strip. The travel door alarm works on all flooring surfaces including carpet, or smooth surfaces such as tile, wood or linoleum (Velcro fasteners are supplied for carpet). The Swege portable travel door alarm is suitable for protection at home, in dormitories and in hotels. How the Swege Portable Door Stop Alarm works: 

  1. Simply place the portable door alarm on the floor in the path of the door swing.  It prevents the door from opening, and it is stronger than a dead bolt!
  2. Should entry be attempted, it not only stops the door from being opened, the Swedge Door Stop Alarm also emits a 120 decibel alarm.

Force Guard Portable Door Lock

The Force Guard Portable Door Lock is like no other travel lock on the market. Designed with the benefit of extensive research and testing and manufactured from high grade stainless steel, it is incredibly strong and versatile, yet fits in the palm of your hand.  Security of hotel room doors, especially overseas, can be a mixed bag - especially on doors that do not have secondary locks in the inside.  Additionally, you can never be sure who else has another copy of your room key - which is a major issue when you are alone in your room.

The Force Guard portable door lock is an ideal supplementary security measure for use in these travel environments, whether you are a business or leisure traveler and is well suited for use on almost any door, including bedroom doors, providing you peace of mind while you are at your most vulnerable. In addition to home and travel security, Force Guard is the perfect solution for your privacy protection. Ideal for apartment sharers, university students, parents with young children etc.


Portable Door Lock

Now you have an inexpensive and effective solution with the Portable Door Lock, a handy and easy 
peace-of-mind protection while traveling, at home, or college students living in dorms. This portable lock can be used on almost all internal doors that open towards the area to be secured. It makes the lock inaccessible from outside the room, even if someone has a key to the room. Portable Door Lock

The Portable Door Lock is meant to provide an additional layer of security, safety, and peace of mind from a door lock being opened with another key or jimmied. It helps prevent someone attempting to open the door by wedging an item between the door bolt and the door frame (often depicted on TV by sliding a credit card against the bolt and the frame). Use the Portable Door Lock in addition to the door’s dead bolt locks.

The Portable Door Lock has several features, including: 

  • Convenient and compact easy-to-carry size 
  • Easy to use, no tools needed for installation.
  • Fast release for quick emergency escapes.
  • All metal construction for superior strength
  • Fits most standard doors that open inwards
  • Prevents unauthorized room entry
  • Locks door securely 
  • No keys or codes required
  • Fitted or released in seconds
  • Overrides master keys, cards or picks

Door Jammer Portable Security Door Locking Device

This is another clever portable door locking devicewith a unique design. The Door Jammer Portable Door Lock was designed with extensive research and testing.  It is manufactured with solid steel construction and engineered to help keep a door closed by using an ingenious system of hinges and angles.  Designed to fit a wide range of inward opening doors, the portable door lock uses the principle of counter force to help prevent the door from opening as force is being applied to the door from the other side. This unique design causes the portable lock to devote horizontal force to exert on the door from the outside where the lock is installed. Once someone tries to open the door from the outside, horizontal force is created which is then converted into vertical force which causes the Door Jammer Portable Security Device to keep the door from opening as it is forced firmly onto the ground.

The DoorJammer Portable Travel Door Lock can be installed on any type of surface, including wood, carpet, tile, stone, linoleum, and even concrete. The Door Jammer is even versatile enough that it can be used on flat or inclined surfaces. The Door Jammer will not damage the door or floor due to the use of its cushioned back and rubber foot-pad.Motion Detection  Alarm with Light

Portable Hotel Room Travel Motion Detector

The Travel Guard Alarm with PIR Sensor is a motion sensor, personal alarm and LED flashlight all built into one unit.  The Travel Alarm is an effective low cost motion alarm features a convenient size making it perfect for concealing and traveling. Now you have a portable motion alarm that you can direct towards an open window or sliding door that you need to leave open at night while sleeping. 

This is a great minor alarm that can be used to effectively deter a hotel or home burglar, or assailant. The Mini Travel Motion Alarm features an integrated Passive Infrared (PIR) motion sensor which can be easily used almost anywhere.  

The Travel Alarm integrated Passive Infrared (PIR) motion sensor features a horizontal detection area of 30° degrees, and senses motion at a distance of up to 10 feet away. The Travel Alarm’s Motion sensitivity can even be adjusted to ignore small pets. When either the Traveler Alarm Motion Detector or Emergency Alarm is activated, the device emits a piercing 100 decibel alarm for 15 seconds.  The Motion Alarm is designed to scare off potential intruders, or bring attention to a situation.  Travel Door Alarm with LED Flashlight

Portable Door Alarm

If you've ever been concerned about someone unexpected entering your room at night, this personal door alarm  can give you peace of mind. If you travel for either business or pleasure, security is constantly on your mind, take the Door Alarm with you and make security your constant travel companion. Perfect for families and/or the business traveler.

The Portable Door Alarm is easy to use and can be used on  many styles of hotel doors and windows. Simply hang the door alarm on the inside handle of your hotel door, door of a camper, caravan or boat. When someone attempts to open the door from the outside, the device activates a piercing 95 decibel alarm which is designed to scare off the potential intruder.

The Portable Door Alarm also features a built-in flashlight for use in a darkened room for additional safety and convenience. The Portable Door Alarm is pocket-sized so it hardly takes up any room at all in your suitcase or carry-on.

The Portable Door Alarm is extremely easy to use and takes only 5 seconds to setup.At the bottom of the Portable Door Alarm you pull the bottom clip which removes two slim silver prongs, which are attached by a wire to the Portable Door Alarm. The prongs are held together with a clear plastic cover.  Slide off the cover (save the cover as you'll want to replace it when the alarm is not in use) and the prongs will separate causing a loud alarm to sound alerting you that the door alarm is functioning properly. Use your finger to hold the prongs together which stops the alarm. Locate a space in the door or window jamb and slide the closed prongs between the door and frame (or window and frame).

As long as the door remains closed the Travel Door Alarm will remain silent. If the door or window is opened (even a little bit) the Portable Door Alarm will loosen from its placement causing the prongs to separate and the alarm to sound. Not only is the high-pitched alarm a great warning to you, but is likely to startle and scare off an unsuspecting intruder. When the Portable Travel Alarm is not in use, the sensor slides back into the alarm.  Nothing to turn on or off. The battery is used only when alarm sounds.

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