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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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