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Travel is all about liberating yourself from stress and worry. So the last thing you want to worry about is not feeling safe.

One of the best ways to make sure your holiday remains carefree is to select a secure room in a hotel that can guarentee your safety. This becomes even more important when travelling solo since it obviously puts you in a much more vulnerable position.

Follow these helpful tips for selecting the hotel and room type on your next holiday.

How to Choose a Safe Hotel / Room

Location, Location, Location

The best base for discovering Melbourne is the Space Hotel

As the saying goes for purchasing real estate, location is one of the greatest factors in choosing a safe hotel.

Many cities have a bad area of town that is notorious for crime. Don’t be swayed by cheaper hotel prices, and make sure you question a hotel that seems to be much cheaper than others located in a different neighbourhood of the city.

If you’ve chosen a destination with a high risk of terrorism, it’s a good idea to select a hotel with gate access, guards, metal detectors, and security cameras.

You should also choose a hotel that isn’t too close to bars, as they can be a breeding ground for predators or drunken misconduct.

Choose a Hotel with a 24 Hour Reception

A recipient of a Forbes 5 star rating, Crown Towers Melbourne offers the most stunning accommodation Melbourne has to offer.

Selecting a hotel that has a 24 hour manned lobby makes it more unlikely someone would follow you into the hotel or to your room.

If someone around the hotel does seem to be acting suspiciously, you can easily contact the front desk at any hour and they can handle the situation for you by contacting the appropriate authorities.

It’s also a great idea to make the front desk aware of your daily travel plans or when you expect to return to the hotel if you are truly worried about your safety. Similarly you can leave a note of your plans in your room in case something happens and you don’t return as planned.

Leaving extremely expensive valuables with the front desk may also a better option than your in-room safe, if you even have one. Hotels generally are not responsible for items left in rooms, but you may be able to get a written receipt or confirmation that you have left your goods at the front desk.

Avoid Shared Accommodation

Hostel lockers

While you can travel for much less by booking shared accommodation in a hostels or local homes, when it comes to safety, you’re in a much more vulnerable position.

Shared accommodation is generally very safe, but they are a lot more communal than a hotel and sharing a room with others has a higher potential to put both your safety and the safety of your belongings in jeopardy.

You must remember that you don’t get to select who you share a room with and therefore can’t be assured of their character. Even if you book a private room in a hostel, you’ll often find that you have to share a bathroom which could open the door for privacy issues.

Picking the Safest Floor

A recipient of a Forbes 5 star rating, Crown Towers Melbourne offers the most stunning accommodation Melbourne has to offer.

It’s usually not wise to select a room on the ground floor unless you have mobility issues and there isn’t an elevator.

The ground floor is usually the easiest and most targeted floor by non-guests and intruders. Saying that, you also don’t want to select a room too high in case of a fire, severe weather, or natural disaster.

Keep in mind that fire rescue ladders can only usually reach up 5 floors. Being higher than the 5th floor could make it difficult to get to safety quickly since elevators may not be operational and therefore you must resort to taking the stairwells.

If you are travelling with small children, make sure that if your room has a balcony or windows which open that they don’t present the risk of them falling, especially when located on higher floors.

Choose a Room Close to an Emergency Exit

A recipient of a Forbes 5 star rating, Crown Towers Melbourne offers the most stunning accommodation Melbourne has to offer.

Speaking of emergencies, it pays to be close to an emergency exit during a fire or other natural disaster. Hallways may become blocked and exiting through a window may not be an option.

Time often becomes critical in emergencies, so being close to an exit could end up saving your life.

Make sure you familiarize yourself with the closest emergency exit when you first arrive at your hotel room. There is usually an emergency plan on the back of your door.

Select a Hotel Which Offers Valet Parking

If you’re renting a car, avoid dangerous parking lot situations by selecting a hotel which offers valet parking.

While valet parking will cost you more than parking yourself, parking lots are one of the top spots where assault and theft takes place, so it may be worth the extra peace of mind.

Many hotels don’t offer on-site parking either, so valet parking will avoid the hassle of finding a parking lot and the sometimes lengthy walk to your hotel.

This becomes especially helpful in terms of safety when arriving back at your hotel late at night, where walking the streets may not be a wise decision.

Check Hotel Reviews

Blogging Sydney Blog Computer Laptop

It’s very easy for a hotel to create a webpage with stunning photos of the lobby and cleanliness of the rooms.

It’s important remember that these are taken by professional photographers where great time and effort has gone into preparing the hotel for the shoot.

Check hotel reviews to hear what other guests’ experiences were. You may be able to discover less common safety issues such as bed bugs, mould, and susceptibility to allergies (in both the rooms and restaurants).

Avoid Connecting Rooms

We’ve all stepped into at least one hotel room to find another door which connects to the room next door.

If possible, these connecting rooms should be avoided as it could provide easier access for someone trying to enter your room without having to be seen in a public hotel corridor.

If you are in a connecting room with interlocking doors, make sure it IS indeed locked and maybe pack a door wedge for extra security. Connecting rooms are great for extended families enjoying a holiday together, but not much else.

They’re also really noisy if the guest next door keeps their TV on late, or opts for other extracurricular night time activities.

Ask For a Room Away from Public Areas

Crowne Plaza Canberra Hotel Review

Hotel rooms that are located far from the hotel’s lobby, restaurants, spas, and other public areas are a far safer option.

Should any type of attack take place in hotel, it’s most likely to take place in the lobby or a public area where there are a lot of people.

In cases of armed intruders, having a room located far from the hotel entrance may give you extra warning to get to safety, call for help, or secure your room.

Inspect Your Room

Crowne Plaza Canberra Hotel Review

Always do a quick scan right away when stepping into your room for the first time. Make sure all doors, windows, and bathrooms have functioning locks. Make sure curtains work for privacy and report any issues with plumbing or electricity right away.

You also want to report any damage you notice so you are not blamed and charged for repairs.

Check for any odd looking electronics or wires that seem out of place, as they may signal hidden cameras (also check for peepholes). Keep an eye out for signs of mould, bedbugs, and any other potential health threatening situations as well.

Don’t be afraid to ask reception for another room if something doesn’t feel right.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.

    

    23 Comments

  1. Such an important reminder. Great tips.

    • Glad the post was helpful Tyrone … Happy travels 🙂

  2. Tbh I don’t know if I really would feel safe if a hotel had metal security screenings and checked bags at the door, it would kind of make me wonder what happened in the past to make it needed. But I guess if you’re in a generally unsafe region …

    • Can definitely be confronting if you’re perhaps not used to seeing that level of security from a hotel experience, but ultimately they stop security threats 🙂

  3. A good place to start is hotel safety. Wherever your destination, you’ll need a place to sleep. Be cautious and vigilant, particularly when exploring new territory or utilizing an unfamiliar establishment.

    • Absolutely Andrew, glad we’re on the same page. Safe travels 🙂

  4. Thanks for your advice. It is very important to verify the quality of the hotel you are choosing. Many tourists find themselves disgusted with service or looks of the hotel they have reserved. It is very important to do some research before paying for a hotel.

    • You’re welcome Lewis, yes research is absolutely key, a lot of people find themselves with nasty surprises from having booked their hotel blindly!

  5. Excellent article. In addition, I make sure the dead bolt on the door works, if it doesn’t, I ask to change rooms. Especially if you are female, never post online (Facebook) where you are staying. Be general, and just post the town. I never answer the phone in my room, and always leave the do not disturbed sign on my door in the evening. And don’t use the in room safe. When that safe door is closed, it says steel me and most in room safes are not fastened down. I hope this helps.

    • Thanks Colin! Great idea on checking the deadbolt on the door, I’d actually not thought of that.

      And absolutely on not posting your whereabouts live on social media. Always a tricky one in todays age where people are quite addicted to sharing their every move, and especially for us when we’re hosted on trips as part of the job with the blog, but I’ve learnt to wait to publish on social media until a couple of days after we’ve actually left. The whole Kim Kardashian being robbed in Paris was because of exactly that.

      I’d actually not thought of the safe not being fastened down!! I do think they’re often unsafe in that you can usually guess the reset code – I’ve often found it’s a handy 0000000 which doesn’t exactly make it difficult to break into!

      Thanks for sharing such great insights 🙂

  6. Great tips. One thing I do after checking-in is email a relative or a friend to let them know I have a arrived safely and the name and address of the hotel. Friends and family want to know you’re safe. I also do a quick email check-in every couple of days.

    • Great tip Nancie, I usually do a similar thing and email my parents a copy of our itinerary before we head out on a trip, with hotel names and dates etc. Great idea to actually check in once having arrived safely though, I should do more of that!

  7. I love this post Meg. Location! We picked a few shady hotel rooms because we did not note the specific location. Lesson learned as even top shelf hotels close to or in suspect hoods make you feel uncomfortable. Tweeted for you.

    Ryan

    • Thanks Ryan! One of those things that you learn from pretty quickly after having stayed in dodgy locations a couple of times 🙂

  8. Very great advise, Meg. I just want to share one thing (or mybe two – pls see next comment) that happened to me.

    Even practicing most of the safety tips, including staying in a safe, reputable hotel with 24hr reception, a person should still exercise caution. One time, I had a room near the elevator and when I entered the room, I saw two men walking towards the elevators and they saw which room I entered. Five minutes later I received a room-to-room call from one of the men.

    I called reception but there is nothing much they could do since he did not harassed me further (I hung up) and I moved a chair in front of the door and made sure it was double locked.

    From then on, I always walked on the hallway passing my room until there was no one else in the hall.

  9. One time, I had three days free in Istanbul between work at the last minute. So I signed up with a local tour to go to Izmir. They put me in a small hotel. One the last night, I did not feel like going out. So, an Australian couple and I decided to go to a rooftop restaurant at the hotel.

    Lo and behold, the chef was sick that day. So the owner cooked for us. He also joined us foe the meal. He sat next to me and he always tried to get closed. I was not interested. I did not reciprocate and I was just being polite until the meal ended. When the meal ended and we helped cleared up the table, the owner tried to kiss me. Luckily the Australian couple were still there, so I just said good night and ran to my room. It occurred to me that the owner could have had a spare key and entered my room when I was sleeping. I put another chair and my luggage in front of the door. Luckily the Australian couple’s room is nearby and they would have heard any commotion. The next morning, luckily I was checking out, the Australian lady told me the owner got very angry when I ran off. So she was quite concerned. Luckily nothing happened and he was not around when I left.

    I have matured a lot in terms of traveling since then for sure. And I have invested in some safety things like wedge with alarm and choosing very proper hotels and scouring accommodation reviews on TripAdvisor.

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences Pam Tjah, I totally agree that always having a sense of caution and situational awareness is absolutely key. Sorry to hear about these scary situations, but I’m glad that they didn’t go further than they did.

      Yikes I can’t believe the owner of the hotel was behind one of these advances!! I definitely would have been chaining the hotel door too!! Traveling with a wedge is very clever – people always assume that their hotel room will only ever be broken into when they’re not there, so they often don’t stop to think about someone entering while they’re actually there. Great advice.

  10. Some really smart tips in here. Great article! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Jeremy, glad it was helpful for you 🙂 Safe travels!

  11. I love London and have visited several times. I’ve stayed in some shady places. This year I visited on New Years and stayed at a decent hotel next to the eye for the fireworks. Someone came into my room in the middle of the night. They had a key. I don’t think they were looking to rob anyone. I believe someone at the hotel gave a friend a key to a room they thought was empty. They opened the door, realized people were there and took off down the emergency exit. I try to avoid being close to the emergency exit now and carry a rubber doorstop with me now

    • Yikes, that’s scary, I’ve worked reception in hotels before and yes that can happen, very rarely, that a computer glitch will mark a room as vacant, and I’ve given someone a key, whether that’s the functions coordinator, or another staff member staying overnight for an early shift. Rubber door stops are a great idea, and I always use the chain too 🙂

  12. Meg, this is a great reminder of things to think about when booking a hotel room, and also how to stay safe when travelling.

    I like your recommendation to use valet parking – while it costs more, every time I have to go into a lonely carpark I definitely feel more at risk.

    • Thanks Anne, glad you found value from the recommendations 🙂 Car parks definitely seem to be hotbeds for seedy behavior after dark, so yes we love valet parking for that extra safety.

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