Security and safety while traveling, both in the United States and abroad, sometimes is not on your packing list but once there becomes apparent. Being prepared on a trip can help alleviate stress, anxiety and help the journey to be more enjoyable.
Before you even leave for your vacation, check the Internet, is the hotel in a safe neighborhood, how is the parking, where is the parking. What’s the area like during the day and at night? If traveling to another country who is picking you up or how are you getting to the hotel. These considerations should be thought of weeks in advance of your trip. Any credit cards, tickets, passports and other important documents should be copied and left at home in case they are lost. Valuables like jewelry should also be photographed and insured by your home owner’s policy. Make a packing list with check boxes, this list will help you formulate a plan and help you get organized.
While at the hotel, where are those fire exits, make sure you know a primary and secondary egress. Where are the fire extinguishers, what kind of fire alarm system and Co detectors do they have, are there sprinklers in all the rooms and the floors below you. What floor are you on, are you comfortable going down that amount of stairs in an emergency, but also balance that on someone breaking into your room at a lower floor from the outside. Most fire ladder trucks cannot go past 6 floors so consider staying between the 2nd and 5th floor.
While in the hotel ask about the phone system and dialing out in an emergency, when you get to your room check and see if your cell phone has a signal. When in the room, dead bolt the door and any other locks that the hotel provides. When leaving the room double check that the door has slammed shut and latched. If your room has a safe USE IT, most states have laws that valuables are not the responsibility of the property. If someone comes to your door, use the peep hole or call the front desk to check on whom it might be, the front desk should not be divulging your name or room number without calling you first. If you do not want room service or housekeeping while you are out put a “do not disturb” sign on your door,
Several guests are not sure about card key entry, to set the record straight, any time a new card is made it deactivated the previous card for that room. A previous guest will not be able to get in with their old card. If for some reason you think someone was in your room (not housekeeping) a lock audit can be done by Security. Most hotels do not put guest information on a door card but just the room number that the door recognizes.
When coming into the hotel make sure your bags are with you at all times or checked in by the bell man, thieves will often hover in a lobby posed as a guest and scoop up a suitcase when your checking in at the desk or when an opportunity is present. Most hotels have cameras for just such an event, these cameras are integral in an investigation and while seemingly unsettling to some, are a blessing to most.
When checking in, be aware of your surroundings, when giving your credit card to the staff, have it face down and put it in your wallet as soon as it’s given back to you. Make sure the staff writes down your room number on a separate card holder and not on the card, most hotels will not say your name and room number in the presence of others.
A recent scam that is perpetuating both in the US and abroad is a phone call from the front desk to verify your credit card number. This in fact might not be the front desk but a call that came in from the outside and went through the operator to you. If a call like that happens say you will be right down and visit the Front desk personally. Never give any information about yourself on the phone.
When traveling always have a small flashlight with you, in case of a power interruption or a fire, have the flashlight near your bed table with the door card, cell phone and your wallet. If you have to leave in an emergency or you are disoriented (no power), the small flashlight will assist you while you escape. If a fire alarm does goes off take it seriously, grab only what you need and a jacket if the weather is questionable. Make sure you do not use the elevators, even though they might be working, and make your way to a ground floor.
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. It is always a good idea to be responsible for you and your family when it comes to safety and not depend on others. Be aware of your surroundings, use the instincts that you have learned over the years and enjoy your trip.