Contributed by Sara Shea, Catalogs.com Info Guru
Traveling, exploring the word, visiting exciting destinations and foreign cultures is one one of the very best experiences that life has to offer.
Modern technology and improved transportation have served to make travel more convenient and affordable than ever before.
However, while the world seems to have grown smaller, crime, terrorism and security breaches and have escalated since the 9/11 tragedy. Tourists and travelers fall victim to crime simply because they do not take the time to educate themselves about proper safety and security precautions.
If you are planning any vacations, holiday tours, business related travel or other upcoming trips, here is a list of ten vital hotel safety tips that every traveler should know.
10. Hotel parking garages
If you must enter the hotel parking garage or parking lot alone at night, be sure to ask for an escort, or insist on using the valet service at night. When you park your car in a garage or parking lot, try to park in a lighted area, and park as close as you can to an exit.
9. Valuables in your car
If you plan to park your car in the hotel parking lot or parking garage, do not leave valuables in your car. If you receive a valet ticket for your car, check to make sure the ticket does not contain your room number. Keeping a room number private is one of the best security cautions a traveler can make.
8. Laptop lockup
These days, nearly everyone seems to travel with a laptop computer, and lap tops can be quite valuable. Even if the computer itself isn’t all that valuable, the information stored on a computer can be priceless. It’s important to make copies and back ups of all your computer files before traveling with a lap top computer, as laptops are ranked as the number one valuable to be stolen out of hotel rooms. If you simply must travel with your lap top, consider leaving it in a safety deposit box at the front desk of the hotel while you are out of the room. Or, use a laptop security cable to lock your laptop to a fixed item in the room, such as bed frame or a pipe.
7. Hotel room safe
If you are concerned about traveling with valuables such as cash, jewelry, credit cards or important documents, be sure to specify that you will require a hotel room with a safe. Be aware, however that many international hotels will not offer the luxury of in-room safes. In this case, it may be more wise to travel with a diversion safe. Diversion safes are unique safes made to look identical to common household products such as soda cans, bottles of hair spray, or even books. Stash your cash in an inconspicuous, fake bottle of hair spray on your bathroom counter. Surely, that is the last place an intruder would look for valuables.
6. Lost room key
If you do happen to loose the key to your hotel room while you are traveling or sightseeing in a foreign city, or if you realize your key has been stolen, inform the hotel staff immediately. Ask to have your room re-keyed immediately, if it is an electronic lock, or move to a different hotel room if the lock can not be replaced.
5. Room double-check
As soon as you check in, take the time to fully examine your hotel room. It is wise to have a bell hop or hotel staff member accompany you to your hotel room. Spending a few dollars as a tip is worth it for your peace of mind and security. Take the time to check the closets and bathrooms to ensure that no intruders are hiding. Make sure the door locks, window locks and the telephone are operating properly. Familiarize yourself with the fire safety information, evacuation plan and emergency exits and ensure that your room is equipped with smoke detectors and/or sprinkler systems.
Before you spend the night in an unfamiliar hotel, be sure to ask about the type of locks on the hotel room doors. Ideally, the doors should be equipped with modern, electronic guest room locks, which will automatically change the lock combination with every new guests, so there is a minimal chance of having an intruder duplicate a key. In most hotels, doors equipped with dead bolts and peepholes should be sufficient.
3. Location, location, location
Before you select, or make reservations at a foreign hotel, make sure the hotel is not located in a high crime area. If you have questions or concerns about hotels in foreign countries, contact the U.S. Embassy’s Resident Security Officer in that country. They will have the knowledge and information to alert you about high risk or unsafe hotels.
2. Just in case
Keep a documented list along with photographs of your valuables, which may be easy targets for thieves in foreign countries. If valuables are stolen from a foreign hotel room, at least you will be able to provide your insurance company with the correct information.
1. Copy your documents
Before you leave home (particularly if you will be traveling overseas) make a photo copy (front and back) of all your important documents such as passports, airline tickets, credit cards, identification, etc. Keep an extra photo copy of your passport hidden in a suitcase, and leave other copies of your documents with a friend or family member at home. In the event of an emergency, or for instance, if a passport is stolen, photocopies can always be faxed to embassies or government offices to substantiate your identity.