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Travelers should consider more than hotel prices and amenities when choosing accommodations; the most important aspect is safety and security. Assessing hotel safety and security can be challenging; it is unlikely that any single hotel will be perfect. Instead, we encourage travelers to make informed decisions when finding a hotel and then taking steps upon arrival to improve personal safety.
- Look at the hotel’s location. Using online maps and hotel reviews, determine the nature of the surrounding environment (rural, isolated, residential, downtown, industrial). How close is it to reason for your travel (office, school, conference facility)? What are the transportation options and how safe are they? How close is it to areas that should be avoided?
- Research the hotel’s security. Is the front desk staffed 24 hours a day? Depending on country and location, does the hotel have resident security and use surveillance systems? Is access to guest rooms limited or controlled? Is the exterior fenced or walled?
- Research local amenities. Is there an adequate restaurant in the hotel or immediately adjacent? Can you safely access food service after dark if necessary? Is there a convenience shop for bottled water or other small necessities?
- Read hotel reviews on multiple websites. Ask local contacts supporting your visit for recommendations.
- If possible, do not accept a room on the ground floor. The second floor is better, but the third or fourth floors are considered optimal. Rooms should be above the ground to make access from the window or balcony more difficult, but not so high that emergency services cannot access the room in case of fire.
- If no interior access (room doors open directly to the outside), ask for a room positioned on an interior courtyard. Avoid rooms that open directly into a parking lot.
- If possible, do not accept a room in close proximity to a fire escape; these rooms may be targeted by thieves because they offer a quicker escape.
- If the hotel clerk announces your room number loudly while checking in, ask them for another room.
- Verify the hotel phone number with the clerk and ensure it is properly entered in your mobile phone. Also ask how to dial the front desk from your room phone.
- If the hotel layout is not simple, ensure you understand where the room is located. While traveling to the room, take notice of the location of elevators, stairs, fire escapes, and emergency equipment (fire extinguishers, etc.). Plan ahead for how you will exit in the event of an emergency.
- Immediately check the locks on windows and doors (balcony and adjoining rooms) after arrival and inform the front desk if any are not working. Ensure they are locked. Check the lock on the bathroom door as a safe haven if necessary.
- Check that windows and doors are locked every time you return from being out, as housekeeping may have forgotten to close and lock them.
- Keep your door locked at all times whenever you’re in your room, to include all the additional locks (deadbolt, chain, etc.).
- Never prop your door open.
- If traveling in group, never leave notes on the door. Slide notes under the door. Record other members’ room numbers in case of emergency.
- If someone unexpectedly visits your room, call the front desk to verify their reason. If in doubt or uncomfortable with the situation, do not give them access. Ask someone from the front desk to come and verify in person.
- If the hotel offers a safe in the room, use it. Practice locking and unlocking once without placing valuables inside to ensure it is properly functioning and reset from previous use.
- For extremely valuable belongings, consider using the central hotel safe if available. Make sure to receive a receipt for your items. If a hotel does not accept liability for items in their office safe, your renter’s insurance may with a receipt and police report.
- When going out for the evening, turn on the TV or radio at a low volume. Leave a light on as well.
- When in the room for the night, place a can with marbles or other object that will make noise against the door to prevent someone from gaining silent entry to the room.
- Check that hallways are well lighted and report any outages to the front desk for replacement.