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Safe Travels-Security Tips for Hotel & Motel Stays

Crime is everywhere. This includes hotels and motels. Though they do all they can to keep their travelers safe, it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure your safety and security wherever -year-old go. The following are some important tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe while staying at a hotel or motel. 

Hotel & Motel Security Tips

Tip #1: Choose a safe location for your room. 

Though ground-level rooms can be convenient for some travelers, rooms on the ground floor are more susceptible to crime than rooms on higher floors. This is because the windows and doors of ground-level rooms are easily accessible; something criminals look for when selecting their targets. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to optimize your security and safety: 

  • When possible, choose a room on an upper floor. The higher the level the better, as you want the main door to the room to be the only entry point available. 
  • Stay clear of rooms next to stairwells and elevators. Criminals prefer a quick escape and tend to target rooms next to these exit points. This is especially true for stairwells because not very many people use them when an elevator is available.
  • If you have no option but to stay in a room in a vulnerable location, each time you enter your room look all around. Be sure to check inside closets, behind doors, and any other location an intruder can hide.

Tip #2: Ensure the security of the room’s main entry door. 

Most hotel and motels now offer electronic room access systems, allowing guests to enter their rooms with a special key card. Such systems enhance security as they allow a new code to be generated each time a new guest checks into the room. This ensures no one other than the current guest can enter the room. Additional security measures should be taken, however, to ensure your safety, which include:

  • Ensure the door to the room closes and locks by itself. 
  • Ensure the door has other security features such as a peephole, a heavy-duty deadbolt, a metal swing bar, or a chain. Be sure to use these features when inside your room. 
  • Rooms that adjoin another room should also have a deadbolt lock. If the adjoining door lacks the necessary security features, ask for a different room or switch hotels or motels altogether.

Tip #3: Ensure sliding glass doors and windows are adequately secured.

Whether you’re staying in a room on the ground floor or you have an upper floor room with a balcony, it is important to ensure the security around the room’s windows sliding glass doors and windows. Here are some tips to follow: 

  • Be sure all accessible sliding glass doors and windows are locked before you go to bed and anytime you leave the room. 
  • Test the security of each door and window when locked. If any of the locks are broken or flimsy, report it to the front desk. If the lock cannot be immediately repaired, ask for a different room. 
  • If a sliding glass door or window does not have an anti-sliding mechanism or device to prevent it from being slid open, request that a metal or solid wooden rod be placed in the tracks for your safety and security. 
  • If your room has a balcony, determine how easily your balcony can be accessed by a neighboring balcony or nearby wall, tree, or other form of landscaping. Remember, if the room does not feel safe to you, ask to switch.

Tip #4: Beware of anyone who knocks at your door. 

Some criminals gain entry into guests’ hotel and motel rooms by posing as various staff members. The following are ways to prevent being duped and ensure your safety and the safety of those you love:

  • DO NOT open your door to a stranger you’re not expecting. Should someone who claims to be a hotel or motel employee knock at your door, ask for their name and then call and verify their identity with the front desk. If they are delivering something, ask them to leave it outside the door and then wait until they leave to retrieve the item.
  • Do not open your door partial way and trust the swing bar or security chain to keep you safe. These devices are not reliable and can be easily busted through by a determined criminal. A closed door with a heavy duty deadbolt engaged will ensure your safety. Use the peephole to look outside the room.
  • Discuss the various threats that lurk within hotels and motels with your children. Teach them how to be safe and to NEVER answer the door without the permission of an adult in the family. 
  • Trust your instincts. If at any time you don’t feel safe, call the front desk. If you notice someone suspicious, report them immediately. If they are lurking outside your door, request the front desk to send security to handle the matter. 

Tip #5:  Valet vs. Self Parking.

When possible, choose valet parking over self-parking. This will prevent you from having to walk around a dimly lit street or parking lot at night. This is important if you are a female and traveling by yourself or if you are traveling with children. Other parking tips include the following: 

  • If your hotel or motel does not offer valet parking, be sure to park as close to the entrance of the hotel or motel as possible. You should also seek out areas that are well-lit. 
  • Check your baggage before you park. This will allow you to keep your eyes on your environment instead of fussing with your bags. 
  • If your only option is to park in a secluded location that is poorly lit, do not hesitate to ask security to accompany you to and from your car.

Tip #6:  Occupancy Deterrents

The majority of criminals looking to steal from hotel and motel guests prefer to do so when no one is in the room. It is for this reason making it look like your room is occupied even when it’s not is to your benefit. Here are some of the ways to do just that: 

  • Put the “Do Not Disturb” sign outside your door whenever you leave.
  • Leave the TV or a radio on just loud enough to be heard outside the door of your room. 
  • Keep a light on when you leave the room. This will also help increase visibility when you return to the room.

Stay Safe During Your Next Hotel or Motel Stay 

Locating a hotel or motel with sufficient security features is important. However, when it comes to your personal security, you can never be too safe. The next time you find yourself checking in to a room away from home, be sure to implement the above safety and security tips so you can enjoy your trip and return home safely.