|Select a topic >
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
What to look for in a safe
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Does hotel provide
personnel trained in guest security and
available for escorts to rooms and auto when
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Guestrooms 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
- Women should be
accompanied to hotel room and room should be
- Observe all passengers in
- 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
When checking into your
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
- The lock on the adjoining
door is checked to insure it is locked and
- 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 deadbolt works. Keep the deadbolt
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
- Place your room key 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.
- When inside a hotel room,
for whatever length of time always use the
deadbolt. 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
- The door to your room
must never be opened by anyone unless the
guest is absolutely known.
- 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.
- 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
- When inside your room,
use a door swedge 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, the 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 you are they
enter your room with the spare key (because
no secondary door lock) and removes your
wallet, purse, or laptop. If someone else is
in the room the crook is in a suit and 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 our products page for one of
- 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.
Place that all-important
flashlight next to your bed.
- 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
- If you loose your key,
ask for a new room or have the lock or
electronic key card changed.
When you leave your hotel
room for the day or evening
- When you leave your room,
always leave the television on.
- 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.
- 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
- Don't display you guest
room key in public or even inside the hotel
or at the swimming pool. Crook 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.
What to take with you when
leaving your hotel room
- Take a minimum of cash,
and only enough travelers checks for that
- 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.
Laptop safety 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?
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
- 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
- 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
[ Next ]