Staying at hotels, no matter how clean, sturdy, and safe they seem, is not the time to let your guard down especially if you're traveling alone. I know – safety and security might be the last thing in mind when traveling. But returning from a fun-filled day of exploring only to find that your hotel room has been robbed leaving your beloved laptop missing is a surefire way to ruin an otherwise amazing trip.
Not to kill your joy but incidents like theft, break-ins, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, and fires are potential threats you have a little control over. Though you cannot anticipate when and where these perils are likely to strike, you can do something to protect yourself against these situations.
Here are top 12 hotel safety tips culled from the experts of the industry.
Never give out personal details to strangers
Your name and room number are a matter of personal security so never entrust these details to strangers even if you have already exchanged life stories over breakfast. If you made a friend during your stay, which is very nice, it would be better to meet in public places like the lobby or the pool area rather than inviting him or her over your place.
Also, make sure the hotel staff won't publicize these crucial pieces of information. Of course, they'll never do, but this could happen by accident if the staff announced your name and room number aloud at the counter when giving your key. Ask to be given another room if this happens.
Never trust a "hotel staff" either
Okay, we might be getting a little too paranoid about this but it's better to be safe than sorry. If someone suspicious comes to your door unexpectedly and claims to be a hotel staff, you may call the front desk first to make sure the visit was authorized. Never let a person in without confirming his or her identity. Use a peephole instead.
Keep an eye on your luggage
Stay with your luggage all the times, especially in busy places like the lobby. Thieves can take advantage of you being exhausted and occupied, and then sneak on your luggage.
Aside from luggage, your easy-to-snatch valuables, like wallets and gadgets shouldn't be left on the table while your busy mind is concentrating on something else. You'll never know if the seemingly sweet lady sitting beside you has a hidden agenda.
Don't leave your credit card on the counter
Even if nobody steals the physical card itself, you can still be susceptible to theft. It would be easy for the culprit to capture your digits by memory or by taking a picture with a decent camera. Keep an eye on the movements of your credit card, from your hand to the hand of the hotel staff so you'll know you're not receiving a wrong, bogus card in return.
Make sure the door lock is functional
The door, including any deadbolts, security chains, or swinging metal security locks, should be kept locked whenever you're inside the room. The balcony door should be checked too. The moment you find out your room's door locks are faulty, never hesitate to change rooms. To amp up your security, you may use a door wedge.
Report lost room keys immediately
If you lose your room entry card or key, make sure to report it to the hotel immediately. Chances are that you didn't lose it – it may have been stolen from you. You can ask to be transferred to another room.
Use the room safe
Let's say you're traveling for a business trip and you brought your laptop. You won't be carrying it around when you go out for your leisure time, would you? If you're going out to explore, make sure you keep your expensive items in the room safe. Modern hotels allow you to use a room safe where you can select your own combination.
Or use the hotel safe at the front desk
If you feel like your things are not "safe" in the guest room safe, you can ask for your valuables to be locked in the hotel safe. There was a case when a fraudulent hotel employee, who knew the room safe's combination, barged into the guest's room and stole money from the safe.
Many hotels don't take accountability for items left in the guestroom safes but they will for the items locked in the hotel safes. Just make sure you get a written receipt for your items and learn more about their coverage for the loss.
Hang the "Do Not Disturb” sign
Even when you're out. This trick gives potential thieves the notion that you are still inside. You can also leave some lights on.
Pack your emergency travel kit
A small kit containing essential emergency devices can save your life. First, you have to have a survival kit including a flashlight, portable fire extinguisher, extra batteries, and charger, in case of fire and power outage. If you love exploring outdoors, it's important to keep a self-defense kit which includes a pepper spray, stun gun, and whistle.
Another must-have is a handy first-aid kit should you suffer a minor injury or illness, including prescription medications, vitamins, OTC medicines, insect repellent, and basic kit for treating wounds.
Don't hesitate to ask about their safety measures
Call ahead and ask whether the front desk is staffed 24/7. Are there are surveillance cameras in the public areas? Ask for phone numbers you could dial in case of emergency, like a direct line to the hotel's security team. Identify where the fire escape routes are located. Check the location of the nearest emergency exit or stairwell. It's never wrong to ensure your safety.
If possible, don't book a room on the ground floor
A room that is too low is too easy for burglars to break in. Ask for a room that is between the third and sixth floors – these rooms are high enough to avoid break-ins yet low enough to be reached by fire ladders in case of emergency.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for Holiday Inn Parramatta Accommodation, a modern hotel in Western Sydney known for their exceptional accommodation, service, and location, which appeals to travelers in Australia. She has always been passionate about giving in to her wanderlust and collecting mementos from different places.