When you’re gearing up for a trip, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of visiting a new place and forget about the hazards travel can bring. While most hotels have safety measures in place to protect their clients, they are unpredictable places by nature. They’re full of travellers coming and going, fluctuating hotel staff, and, unfortunately, a few underhanded opportunists. From petty theft to assault, you are more vulnerable to certain risks when you travel. Luckily, taking just a few basic precautions can keep you safe on your vacation. So next time you book a hotel, try these five safety tips, and then … relax. Oh, and go easy on the minibar.
1. Keep your room number to yourself
Sure, it’s exciting to get the best room in the place — the one with picture windows and jacuzzi tub — and maybe you’d like to invite all your new hotel friends to your room for a glass of champagne to celebrate. However, in the interests of avoiding theft and harassment, we recommend keeping your good fortune to yourself. Ask your hotel clerk to write down your room number when checking in rather than telling you aloud, and be careful who you give your room number to. You never know who might be keeping tabs on you.
2. When possible, don’t reveal your gender
This tip is specifically for independent women travellers out there. Travelling solo as a woman can be incredibly empowering and exciting. However, women tend to be at a higher risk of violence when travelling alone, and studies have shown that even in countries we don’t consider dangerous, women feel less safe than men. (http://www.gallup.com/poll/155402/women-feel-less-safe-men-developed-countries.aspx) One way to prevent people targeting you because of your gender is not to reveal it. When you book a hotel, give your first initial and your last name, and skip the Ms./Mrs.
3. Get a room above the main floor — and below the sixth
Main floor rooms are at an increased risk of burglary, since they can be broken into from the outside. If you want a room on the main floor, ensure that your windows are secure and that the room doesn’t open easily to the outdoors. At the same time, you don’t want your room to be too high up. In case of fire, it’s best to be at the sixth floor or below, because that’s how high fire department ladders generally reach. Plus, if there’s an incident that prevents you from using the elevator, the less stairs you have to walk down, the better.
4. Make sure your door locks from the inside
Keys and key cards change hands many times in a hotel, and they are frequently and easily lost. Therefore, it’s best to have a second line of defense when locking your door. Most hotels have chain locks or bar latches that can only be opened and closed from inside the room, and we encourage you to use them. You can also bring your own rubber door-stopper to prevent people from coming in while you’re asleep, in the shower, or otherwise indisposed.
5. Keep your credit card in your sight, and out of strangers’
Ah, the credit card. A traveller’s best friend. Unfortunately, this is the kind of friend who often gets into trouble, so you’ve got to be careful. You’ll probably have to use your credit card at check-in, so make sure to keep an eye on it even when it’s out of your hands. Don’t leave it lying on a counter — credit card thieves may photograph it when it’s in full sight, capturing the numbers for later use. You can also buy a sleeve for your card to prevent it from being electronically read by a digital reader. Credit card fraudsters are increa
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