Whether you are visiting family in a nearby state or traveling on an international business trip, it is very likely that you will eventually find yourself booking a room at a hotel. When you aren’t in a familiar place, especially when it comes to women traveling alone, it’s important to take extra safety precautions whenever you can. Many travelers judge a hotel based completely on superficial looks or price range— but even luxury hotels can fall short when it comes to keeping their guests (and guests’ belongings) safe.
Important Questions to Ask
When booking a room for the night, there are a few basic questions to ask (whether over the phone or in person) that will help you understand just how much guest safety is being kept in mind.
- Are there modern security systems installed?
- Although a metal lock and key system may have its own kind of stylistic appeal in old-fashioned or cottage-like inns, they are inadequate for security when compared to an electronic card-reading lock. Make sure to ask about video surveillance and 24-hour security on the property as well.
- Is the front desk staffed 24/7?
- In case of an emergency, you will want there to be a hotel staff member available to you at all times. This is especially true in cases where a guest has lost their key.
- Are there fire extinguishers/fire exits near my room?
- Whether it’s an electrical fire or the result of something gone wrong in the hotel kitchen, fire is a serious and time-sensitive danger. Being adequately prepared is your best form of protection against an unexpected fire emergency.
- What floor will my room be on?
- Ground level rooms are great in case of emergencies, but rooms that open directly outside the hotel are a bigger threat for burglary. Higher-up rooms make it harder for thieves, but keep in mind that some emergency services can only directly respond to the first few floors of a hotel.
Other Ways To Keep Yourself Safe
- Make sure the parking garage/lobby/etc. are all well-lit before wandering through. If they aren’t, but you need to get to your car or hotel room, have a friend or co-worker walk with you or have your phone ready in case you encounter trouble.
- Routinely check your locks and windows to make sure they have not been compromised while you were out. When leaving your room, it is wise to put a Do Not Disturb sign on your door, so that potential burglars can assume the room is occupied.
- If you decide to relax in the hotel bar, never leave your drink unattended. You want to completely eliminate the risk of someone trying to slip something in your drink when you aren’t looking.
- Always utilize the peephole on your door before answering it. Even if the person at your door claims to be part of the hotel staff, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to call the hotel office or lobby for confirmation of your visitor’s purpose.
- If you leave your room, take your valuables with you or effectively hide them, whether in a safe or out-of-reach place. Some establishments will have a hotel safe for guests to keep expensive items in, which only hotel staff can access.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to booking one hotel over another— and a conveniently low price shouldn’t be your main concern. Safety is a serious issue when it comes to staying for a night or more in an unfamiliar location, and you should only trust your possessions and personal security with a professional business that puts guest safety as a top priority.
Although a great price and available amenities are enticing, remember that first and foremost you should feel safe and comfortable in the hotel were you choose to spend the night. By keeping in mind the above questions and tips, you can weed out your most serious risks, and be able to genuinely enjoy your stay.