In this blog post I will share some safety tips you should use when checking into and staying at, a hotel or short term rental like Airbnb, VRBO, etc.
As some of you may know, in my prior life, I oversaw Operations for multiple international development firms. Within my duties was oversight of Global Security. In other words, I was responsible for ensuring that thousands of people traveled the world and worked abroad safely. So, you could say I do know somethings about travel safety and security. I have also traveled to over 35 countries (and counting) many solo.
Here are my top tips for Hotels and Vacation Rentals. They are grouped separately because while both types of accommodations there are differences you should pay attention to.
For All Accommodations
- Do your homework before booking. Read the reviews before booking. If you see anything negative pick a different hotel or rental accommodation. If booking with Airbnb stick to super hosts.
- Research the area or neighborhood where you will stay before booking. If a short-term rental, ask your host though they are unlikely to give you an honest assessment. Who is going to say the neighborhood surrounding their rental is unsafe? Conduct an independent investigation of your own. Great sources for information of this kind are Wiki articles, TripAdvisor, Tripit. Booking.com, Facebook groups and travel blogs are also helpful.
- Have a check in buddy. This is a friend or relative who has access to your itinerary and knows where you are at all times. Let them know when you’re leaving the hotel and when you return each day.
- At check-in, ask the Reservation desk to write down your room number. They should not announce it or say it out loud. If the front desk announces your room number, politely ask for another room assignment and that they write it down instead of saying it out loud. When traveling alone, it is best to ensure that no one knows your hotel room unless you want them to know it.
- Avoid the first floor. Ask to stay on floors 2 thru 4 no higher. It is advisable to select floor where you can get to the first floor or out of a window easily. High floors are great for views, not so much for prompt exit during an emergency.
- Upon arrival and after check in, take a moment to identify the exit points and the emergency exits. Consider taking the stairs once a day (Mornings are best) so you know how to get out of the hotel without the elevator.
- Keep the privacy tag on your door. Only take it off when you want your room cleaned.
- Keep your doors locked. If the door has multiple locks, use them all. Consider using supplemental locks like a Door Jamm and Addalock as supplemental security for your door.
There are a lot more people with potential access to your room at hotels. Building security, housekeeping and maintenance. Don’t assume you’re safer then at a short-term rental because you are not so be sure to keep your room door locked properly at all times.
Short Term Rentals
- Do your homework before booking. Read the reviews and house rules before booking. If you see anything negative pick a different rental. If booking with Airbnb stick to super hosts.
- Research the area or neighborhood where you will stay before booking. You can ask your host though they are unlikely to give you an honest assessment. Who is going to say the neighborhood surrounding their rental is unsafe? Conduct an independent investigation of your own. Great sources for information of this kind are Wiki articles, TripAdvisor, Tripit. Facebook groups and travel blogs are also helpful.
- Ask the host any and all questions that you have before booking. Be sure to ask whether anyone else will have entry access to the rental during your stay. This could be housekeeping or building security.
- When you arrive walk through the space, and videotape it. Check the locks of all entry/exit points and internal doors especially the bedroom and bathroom doors. Note whether any do not lock. If any of the external doors do not lock properly contact the Host immediately and consider finding somewhere else to stay if the issue cannot be resolved immediately (same day).
- If you check into a high-rise building, note location of emergency exits. Take the stairs once a day (Mornings are best) so you know how to get out of the building without the elevator.
- Bring your own Door Jamm and Addalock as supplemental security for your bedroom or external entry point door.
I hope you find this safety tip helpful!
Get more Travel Safety and Security Tip in the downloadable Bald Girl Will Travel: Guide to Travel Safety & Security for Solo Female Travelers.
I spent 15 of my 20+ years in Management overseeing global security. I put together this guide to share some of the many things I learned over those years so that women can feel more confident traveling alone.
The most important thing to remember when traveling alone, especially as a woman, is to practice situational awareness and common sense. If it feels wrong even for a minute don’t do it.
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