Living and working overseas

Hotel Safety

Hotel safety, both physical and financial, is something that should be considered by anyone who intends to stay in a hotel while on business or holiday. While it is far easier to take things for granted and assume that the worst will never happen to you, the fact is that accidents and theft do happen in hotels and their surrounds and a little bit of commonsense can go a very long way to ensuring that your personal safety is not an issue when on holiday or business.

Tips for the savvy traveler
By Deborah Burns

Packed with great tips and tricks for any traveler - experienced or novice, business or pleasure. Highly recommended reading.

Click here for more information

Personal safety

Always, when checking in to a hotel, take note of the emergency exits and the fire instructions. Two or three minutes of your time at the start of your stay could save your life. Create a plan in your mind for your escape route should you need one. Sure, you might not start a fire, but what about all the other guests?

Where possible take a hotel that has good public transport nearby. The last thing you want to do is to be walking the streets for some distance to and from train stations and the like, particularly at night.

Don’t invite strangers back to your room, no matter the circumstances. If you do meet someone and invite them back for a drink or a chat, do so in the hotel facilities, not in your room.

Theft and exploitation

Yes, it does happen and quite a bit more frequently than the hotels would like to admit. In many parts of the world tourists are often regarded as easy targets for exploitation and crime and hotels in particular offer a good pickings for unscrupulous thieves and con-artists due to the high concentration of potential victims in one place.

Some things to keep in mind when staying in a hotel to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Don’t flash your money and other possessions around for all to see. Hotel foyers can often be busy environments and you never know who might be watching.

  • Consider placing your valuables in the hotel safe. Make sure that you get a receipt for all of your deposits, and keep that receipt in a safe place. Make a copy of it where possible and keep them in separate places.
  • Don’t give out your name and your room number to strangers, and this includes saying it too loudly when in a restaurant or hotel bar.

  • Use the locks on the doors when you are in the room. Even taking a quick shower can give opportunists plenty of time to help themselves.

  • If you are not expecting any room service or similar, always check with hotel reception before letting anyone into your room.

  • Check all the windows in the room. Just because you haven’t opened one doesn’t mean the cleaning staff or the previous occupier didn’t do so.

  • Always use the main entrance of the hotel, particularly at night. If you are walking and are unsure of the area, always get directions from the hotel staff before leaving. Try to avoid approaching strangers on the street and asking directions if possible.

  • Always lock your room when leaving, even if it’s just to go down the corridor to fetch some ice or a drink. Also ensure that the door does shut properly. Many hotels have doors that close very slowly with minimal pressure to avoid noise complaint from other guests. Make sure you always check your door has locked when leaving.

  • Leave your T.V. or radio on in the room when you go out. Not too loud as to annoy the other guests, but loud enough to be audible from the door to your room from the outside.

  • Check that any adjoining doors between your room and another are locked. Find out from hotel reception who has the key for that room. If possible, try to avoid such rooms altogether.

  • If you’re feeling intimidated by the walk to your room, ask hotel staff to walk with you.

  • Be wary of strangers on the street asking for help near a hotel. In some of the bigger cities con artists will patrol areas known for tourists and use a variety of ‘hard-luck’ stories on them in an effort to receive money from them.

  • Be extra vigilant in hotel bars and hotel restaurants. While hotel staff generally do a good job of keeping out undesirables, high traffic areas such as bars and restaurants can be difficult to police.

  • If you see any suspicious behaviour, report it to hotel management. It’s in your interests as well as that of the hotel.

The sad fact of life is that when many of us go away on holiday or business we tend to drop our defenses. Particularly the more we travel the less we take into consideration our own personal safety and we become more complacent. At the end of the day all it takes for an incident-free journey is normally just a little commonsense.

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