Hotel Safely – Better Paranoid than Dead!
Tips to keep you safe!
I have probably slept in more hotel rooms in the past 6 months than the average person will stay in the next 6 years, ouff it’s been a lot! I am writing this post from one now; fun fact, I can’t wait to be back in my own bed in Vegas!
I am lucky that I get to stay in nice hotels in “safe” areas. But I do watch a lot of Dateline so I am naturally always on high alert when on the road, especially when I am traveling solo. My main goal in life is to not end up on an episode of Dateline; I am weird, I am aware.
On this trip I was shocked when I was told that the hotel I am currently in, which is a really nice hotel, had a horrible incident a few weeks ago. The hotel is attached to a mall and a pharmacy. Long story short, a woman was robbed and beaten to a pulp in the elevator leading to the pharmacy!! I have used that elevator on previous trips! It really isn’t a shady area. I guess it serves as a reminder that shady people can be in none shady areas.
Here are my personal safety tips that I am more than happy to share with you!!
Hotel door check
Where you aware that people walk the halls in hotels checking doors to see if they can find one that isn’t complete shut? This has been a huge issue recently in Las Vegas.
Have you been in a newer hotel and noticed that the doors slam shut by themselves? If your door isn’t completely shut it will open if someone simply pushes on it. Some older hotels may not have this feature?
When leaving or entering my hotel room, I close the door shut myself and then pull on the handle to make sure it’s shut. Your door needs to click so it can’t be pushed open.
Not to freak you out, but this is a thing. People have been robbed while in their rooms; while they slept! Being in your room is apparently not a deterrent, that was the shocking part to me; and in one instance, here in Vegas, a couple was robbed then killed. If it’s happened here, it can happen anywhere!
If you see someone who seems to be loitering in the halls, call the front desk!!
Ok, this one may boarder on paranoia? But I am standing by it!!
I am fully aware that peep holes theoretically help keep you safe, because they let you see who is at the door without opening it. But I have always been a bit weary of them. I’ve always wondered if people would be able to peep in? Then I heard the story of a woman sports caster who was filmed while she was in her hotel room, minding her own damn business! Her peep hole was tampered with.
Now will your peep hole be tampered with? Probably not, but do I feel safer with a post it note over mine? Hell yes!
I travel with a few office supplies in my laptop case; one day I put a post it note over my peep hole and it stuck….get it? Lol, so now that’s what I do, it makes me feel better; so crazy or not, I do it.
This picture below is my worst nightmare, hence my post it notes obsession.
This is my new fav safety feature. Have you ever checked into your room and notice that you’re in an adjoining room? It’s super creepy and it makes me feel unsafe that the only thing between me and a potential psycho killer is one door lock; they don’t even come with a door chain.
I have always thought that the chain and metal thingy on the inside of your hotel door would keep the bad guys out. But after doing a bit of research I have discovered that if someone really wants to get in, it’s not that difficult; these won’t keep them out.
But there is something that will help reinforce your door, all your doors, not just hotel doors. What is this magical high tech safety tool? It’s a cheap rubber door stop!! I just bought four for $9. I am adding 2 to my suitcase for when I travel and spoiler alert, I will be giving these to all my travel friends this Christmas as stocking stuffers.
Is this overkill for US and Canadian travel? Maybe, but remember, better paranoid than dead!
Valuables in your room
The previous three tips were to keep people out of your hotel room, but what about the people who are able to get in your room?
In all of my travels, I have only had one incident where something was “removed” from my room by the hotel staff. I accidentally left lose cash in my jeans pocket and just like that, pouff, $80 was gone.
We know not to leave money or jewelry laying around, but you may be leaving something more valuable in your room unattended? What’s more valuable or just as valuable as cash? Your medication!
One of my friends recently shared that she ran out of her medication way before the end of the month. She suspects that the cleaning staff may have taken some of her medication while she was traveling? If you think about it, it’s super easy to do; who among us keeps a daily count of the number of pills left in their bottle? It would be so easy to take some, but not all, without being missed right away.
Do not disturb
I am not very worried about hotel staff being in my room, I like having my bed made for me! I do make sure anything valuable is in my purse and not left in my room.
But I do have coworkers that I travel with who, once checked in, put the do not disturb sign on their door knob and turn on the TV when they leave their rooms. Some will keep the do not disturb sign out for their entire stay. They just don’t want strangers in their room alone with their belongings and that is a perfectly valid feeling; so remember that is an option for you on your next hotel stay.
You can even call housekeeping and let them know that you won’t require your room cleaned during your stay. If you run out of clean towels, they can deliver to your room while you are there; please tip if you ask anyone to bring anything to your room, it’s only fair.
I am a big valet park fan, is it because I am a bit of a diva? Partly, but the main reason is that I refuse to park and walk alone in a parking lot or garage in a strange city.
And if a hotel doesn’t have valet park, don’t be shy to ask hotel security to walk you to and from your car. This winter I was in Moncton, at downtown hotel, that didn’t have valet parking. Their main lot is well lit and close to the main hotel door, but their overflow parking is a building away; it was dark and shady. I actually drove back to the front desk, from the overflow lot, and asked if someone could walk out to meet me; they were more than happy to oblige. Please know that this is an option, hotels want you to have a great experience on their property, they will assist if asked.
When I was younger and a bit more timid, I would put myself in situations that didn’t always feel safe, but with age comes a “fuck that shit” attitude!! If it feels iffy, don’t do it!
My final hint is to befriend the hotel staff. I make friends with the concierge, in addition to getting great recommendations on where to eat and where to go, they can also keep tabs on you. They are usually stationed by the front entrance of the hotel, say hi to them as you come and go and remember their name.
On my last trip to New Orleans we made friends with our concierge, every evening he knew where we were planning on going.
I also always ask the front desk staff if it’s safe to walk around the hotel at night? A few times, they have flat out told me that it wasn’t safe. I once asked for directions to an outlet mall via the train; the front desk staff told me in no uncertain terms, that I was not to take the train alone! If someone tells you that, listen, they know their city better than you do.
If you are afraid or nervous about anything, talk to the front desk staff; learn their names, tell them, hey I am alone, can you have someone walk me to my car? Tell them where you are going and when you expect to be back. A side effect of being friendly is they will remember you on your next visit and may even upgrade you! Friendliness is always in fashion. If finally again, you see something that makes you feel uneasy, tell someone, because it’s better to be paranoid than dead!
Those are my safety tips, do you have any to share that I haven’t listed?