Concerned about staying safe in your hotel? This list of 9 Hotel Safety Tips will give you the tools and techniques you need to feel and be safe. From years of staying in hotels (mostly for work) we’ve learned how to minimize the risk of hotel theft or other hotel risks by employing the simple but effective hotel safety strategies listed below.
- Note: We’ve updated this guide to include new safety precautions for staying safe at a hotel during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
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Hotel Safety Tips – the “9”
Let’s dig into the 9 Hotel Safety Tips, starting first with a very important first step.
Hotel Safety Tips #1 – Look before you book
Some hotels are not located in great neighborhoods. Always be sure to check the hotel reviews and surrounding neighborhoods. Hotel pictures can be deceiving (you know, the ones that the hotel shows on their site). Things can be made to look better than they are.
Be a little careful with hotels near airports; all too often (although not always) the neighborhoods near airports are not that swell.
Use Google Maps Satellite view to get a visual on the surrounding area. If your hotel is across the street from a strip club, pawnshop and a liquor store it may be time to find a different hotel.
Hotel Safety Tips #2 – Always book hotels with interior entry doors
Cheaper hotels are often distinguished by the presence of exterior doors while “nicer” hotels usually have interior room entry doors. Avoid a hotel with exterior room access. No need to give non-hotel guests easier access to your room.
Pro tip: a room on a higher floor may also reduce your chances of theft. Ground floors are often the easiest targets.
Hotel Safety Tips #3 – Always flip the latch and lock the door
All hotels have door latches that add an extra layer of security to the door. It won’t stop the most determined intruders, but it will slow them down and for the less ambitious it might be enough to scare them off. If your door has a manual lock be sure to flip it locked. You can’t have enough protection.
This hotel safety tip is also useful for the occasional screw-up made by the front desk who has accidentally assigned another guest to your room. I once greeted a very drunk business traveler who had just checked in and was assigned my room. He was pissed I was in “his” room and I was surprised. I thought we were gonna fight… I’ve flipped the latch from then on.
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Hotel Safety Tips #4 – Avoid leaving valuables in your room
Numerous staff members have master keys that can open every room in the hotel and the cleaning staff enters your room at least once a day. While most are professionals and wouldn’t dream of taking anything there’s no need to tempt them by leaving your diamond broach on the bed or laptop in plain sight. Always take valuables with you IF you can.
Protip: One of my personal favorite hotel safety tips regarding valuables is a bit funny and gross…but it works. If I have to leave the room and I have to leave something like my laptop in the room (because it might be impractical to carry out to a customer dinner), I bury it in my favorite TravelPro Crew 11 Carryon suitcase and then drape some underwear over it. Yep…told you it was kinda gross. But totally works! Would you go any further!?!? lol…you could also buy an “underwear safe” – see below:
Hotel Safety Tips #5 – Use the privacy signs whenever possible
If you do have to leave your room make sure you hang the privacy sign. Hotel staff will likely steer clear assuming a guest is in the room. You can also turn your TV on to further insinuate someone’s in the room improving the chances your gear will be safe. This hotel safety tip obviously doesn’t apply if you desire your room to be serviced.
For a bonus hotel safety tip, hang the sign when YOU are in the room to make sure they stay clear.
Hotel Safety Tip #6 – Always have your firewall on when connecting to hotel wi-fi (and use a VPN if you can).
Hotel’s, for the most part, offer free wi-fi (I am using it right now as I write this here at this Hilton). However, hotel wi-fi is not known for being overly secure. Make sure you are connecting to the Hotel’s actual wi-fi network first, and second always make sure your computer’s firewall is on and you use up-to-date antivirus software.
For your phones, make sure they have appropriate security protection as well.
To see more tips on how to stay secure while you travel, please read my Don’t get hacked on your business trip: 7 Cyber Security Travel Tips for the Business Traveler to Stay Secure.
Hotel Safety Tips #7 – Learn the hotel exits
If you’ve ever been evacuated from a hotel at 2 in the morning for a hotel fire it’s not pleasant! Take a quick glance at the exit plan posted in the room and be ready. Don’t forget to leave your luggage when you exit your room in a fire situation (although I usually grab my backpack because it’s so easily portable. Leave the heavy luggage).
Hotel Safety Tip #8 – Check for Bed Bed Bugs
GROSS. GROSS. GROSS.
Bed bugs seem to be on the rise lately so inspect your bedding for the presence of these disgusting creatures. And not just your bedding. Look at your curtains, around the base of the bed, couches, chairs, etc.
You can use this WebMD bedbug guide to help identify them.
Hotel Safety Tip #9 Check to see if your Bedding is Clean (before you unpack!) – and other items like towels, etc
I’ve made this mistake before and it sucks. Before you unpack everything, take a quick walk around the room and inspect. It’s a hotel….so it won’t be perfect, but check to see if towels are clean, the bedding has been changed and more. No need to get some crazy illness because someone didn’t clean the sheets.
Make sure there’s not a body under the bed. Ok that last part was a joke…
Some extra tips for hotel safety
If you tend to be a nervous nelly about things like cameras in the room etc, you can use some tools to see if they really are there. I tend to take the view that cameras are far less likely to be there…but there have been some cases. You can use tools like the Dooreemee K98 Anti Spy Hidden Camera Detector to search your room for hidden cameras.
To avoid other “gross stuff” you bring some travel sized wet wipes to wipe down the common surfaces (like remotes, light switches, etc). Dropping the TV remote into a baggie can also help…because who knows what folks have been doing with that remote….
And, today’s world, wearing a face mask for travel is still a key part of staying safe at hotels. Moreover, we strongly recommend you bring Clorox wet wipes with you and wipe everything down in the hotel. Everything. No, seriously, everything. You don’t need to wear your mask in your hotel room, but avoid touching things like the remote, wipe common surface areas like light switches and doorknobs and wear your mask outside of your hotel room – especially in the lobby or elevator.
Lastly, and because my readers are so awesome, they suggested (and reminded me!) a great hotel safety trick: use a door wedge. You can actually bring your own door wedge including ones that emit a loud noise (think fire-alarm-y) or just a plain old wedge. Physics is a wonderful thing and a wedge can make it darn near impossible to open that hotel door from the outside. Here’s a few options:
Final thoughts on Hotel Safety Tips
I trust these hotel safety tips have been useful. They will put your mind at ease while traveling and will definitely improve the safety of your gear and most importantly, YOU!
For more Travel Safety Tips be sure to check out: 9 Travel Safety Tips to help you stay safe on your next trip
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