How to Stay Safe in Your Hotel Room

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18 March 2013

Safety is always a concern when travelling—and that concern doesn’t stop inside your hotel. Here are a few tips for ensuring your hotel room remains a safe place.

Story by: 

Aaron Broverman

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When travelling, you’re only as safe as where you stay, so we’ve put together a few tips that will ensure your safety no matter where you end up. This way, no one can take advantage of you or your stuff inside or outside your hotel, hostel or timeshare.

Well Before Check-In…

To aid in easier recovery and replacement of the things you hold dear if your hotel room is ever robbed, make a list of all the valuables you are taking, including model and serial numbers, and then take a photo of each item. Leave a copy of all of this information at home (you don’t want it getting stolen as well) and use this information in your report to law enforcement or as a record for insurance purposes. Also, make multiple copies of your important documents, including passports, airline tickets, hotel information, etc., and leave one copy with a trusted neighbour, friend or family member, while keeping another copy in a separate spot from the originals.

Upon Arrival…

Pick a hotel that’s in a safe area of town and is well-lit both inside and outside. Make sure the hotel has covered indoor hallways, as opposed to exterior outdoor ones. Stay above the ground floor, so there’s no easy access from the outside. Make sure the hotel has security cameras, a 24-hour front desk and security staff on duty. It’s better to stay in a hotel with keycards, as they can’t be copied as easily as metal keys. Make sure your door is solid metal or wood and has a deadbolt, one-way peephole and chains or door retainers. You can even bring your own portable lock or wedge door stop for extra security.

Once You Enter Your Room…

Use the room safe to secure your wallet, passport, cash and small jewellery. For even more valuable items, use the hotel safe. Make sure the window and door locks in your room are in working order and that your phone works to make outgoing calls. Keep your key in a place where it is readily available when you’re in the room—usually near your bed. Keep your door locked when you’re in the room and create a sort of makeshift alarm system when you’re asleep during the night, such as stacking glasses near the door, so that if anyone enters, the noise will be enough to wake you. And test your “alarm system” to make sure it works. Separate your cash and cards before you sleep, so that they aren’t all in one location.

Once You Leave Your Room…

Leave the lights on, and perhaps the TV or radio as well. Always lock all doors and windows, including the balcony door if you have one. Turn down the ringer on the phone so people can’t hear it ring out, and close the blinds or curtains, so that no one can see into the room. Don’t return your keys to the front desk when you leave temporarily if the key and room number will be visible behind the desk—indicating to passersby that you’re not in the room. Use the “Do Not Disturb” sign when you leave and notify security if you see anyone suspicious.

Aaron Broverman

When Aaron Broverman isn't escaping into comic books, he's escaping to a new area code. Ever since he forged a path of independence by abandoning his hometown of Surrey, B.C. for the big city of Toronto in 2003, he's expanded his horizons even further with trips to Mexico, Israel and New York City, proving there are no limits to where you can go. His travel writing has appeared on the web at Walletpop.ca and in print for Abilities and New Mobility, which are both lifestyle magazines for people with disabilities. The photo was taken in Tel Aviv on Aaron's Birthright trip to Israel in 2006.