The majority of both business and leisure travelers lack a security strategy. Even those who disagree acknowledge that their plan is not well-developed or explicitly stated in any official capacity. Most travelers concede that they have not consulted with colleagues or loved ones to consider hypothetical scenarios. If a criminal attack were to happen, the business supervisor or family member would be unprepared and forced to rely on intuition to react. What if their instincts are flawed or their responses unsuitable given the circumstances?
Frequently, such cases are reported in the news. For instance, consider the scenario of a business traveler being abducted in a foreign land or a tourist losing their bag with essential documents like passport, wallet, credit cards, airline tickets, etc.
Higher Floors are Safer
Although upper floors provide greater safety from crime, they pose a greater challenge for fire rescue. For emergency situations, it is advisable to choose a room below the fifth floor. To reduce the risk of crime exposure, I opt for a modern fire-safe hotel and always request a room on an upper floor. Ground floor rooms are more susceptible to crime due to their accessibility and ease of escape. Generally, in high-rise buildings, rooms above the fifth floor are less accessible and easier to escape from, making them safer from crime than those below. Furthermore, rooms that are not adjacent to fire stairs offer greater protection against intruders who use them as an escape route. Criminals do not want to be trapped on an upper floor inside a high-rise hotel. By design, high-rise buildings usually have fewer ground-level access points and are easier for the hotel staff to monitor who passes through the lobby after hours.
Door Security Hardware
For optimal safety, it is recommended that hotel or motel rooms have a sturdy door made of solid-core wood or metal. The door should be equipped with a self-closing and self-locking mechanism, as well as a deadbolt lock with a throw bolt of at least one inch. If there are any indications of wear or pry marks around the lock area, it is advisable to either switch rooms or find another hotel altogether. Additionally, the knob-lock should be of the hotel-style variety, allowing guests to push a button on the inside knob to block out all keys.
The purpose of this function is to ensure that a previous guest or housekeeper cannot gain entry to your room once you are securely inside. Hotels equipped with electronic card access possess the advantage of deactivating past keycards given to former guests and unapproved staff members. Electronic locks also prevent most room service keys from functioning when the deadbolt is engaged. It is recommended that the room door includes a wide-angle peephole to enable you to identify who is at the door before unlocking it.
To ensure your safety, never open your hotel room door to unannounced visitors. Criminals may pose as hotel staff, such as bellmen, room service, or maintenance workers, to gain access to your room. Always verify their identity with the front desk before allowing them in. Avoid using door chains or swing bars as they are not reliable security measures. Educate your children to never open the hotel room door without your permission and if they don’t know the person on the other side.
When you find a suitable hotel that meets your safety standards and security needs try to stick with it or with the same hotel chain. Don’t be afraid to complain to management to get the safe room you deserve.
- Always request a room on an upper floor, if possible
- A solid door with a good deadbolt lock is best
- Electronic card access locks help limit access
- Make sure your door has a peephole and night latch and use it
- Turn on the TV or radio just loud enough to hear through the door
- Turn on a single light in the room if you plan to return after dark
- Inspect the room hiding places upon entering and check all locks
- Ask the bellman for an escort and use valet parking if alone
Family Security While Traveling
Family Travel Security Plan
Whenever your family walks out the front door of your home they leave that zone of protection that you have created. The secret to keeping your family reasonably safe once they leave home is to have a family security plan. In order to create a family security plan, it is important to carefully consider the daily routines of each family member and brainstorm ways to protect them from potential violence. One effective approach is to convene a family meeting to discuss the plan and engage in hypothetical scenarios. For instance, if we were staying overnight in a hotel and became separated, what measures could we take to ensure our safety? How can we stay protected while at the gym or pool, especially in the parking lot? If someone attempted to rob us while walking to our car at night, what actions would we take and who would we contact for help in an emergency situation?
Planning is Everything
The majority of individuals do not have a family strategy and have not convened to deliberate hypothetical scenarios. If a criminal attack were to transpire, the family would be ill-equipped and forced to rely on their natural instincts. In the event that their instincts are misguided or their reactions unsuitable, the outcome could be disastrous. These types of incidents are frequently reported in newspapers or on television, such as the case of a child being lured into a car by a stranger while walking in an unfamiliar location and subsequently abducted.
It is not advisable to let children roam around the hotel premises without adult supervision. Since all the people staying at a hotel are unknown, it becomes challenging to identify the registered guests, trustworthy individuals, and potential offenders. It is crucial to accompany children at all times while they are at the gym or pool area as these places can attract predators.
Advice for Women Travelers
To avoid parking lots, women traveling alone or with small children should make use of car valet service, if available. Once at the hotel, request an escort from the bellman or desk clerk to your room and upon arrival, inspect the closets, under the bed, and bathroom, including behind the shower curtain. It is advisable to stick with a hotel that meets your standards and caters to your needs or the same hotel chain.