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.
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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