Break-ins, fires, natural disasters and terrorist attacks are just a few of the potential threats to travelers’ safety in hotel rooms. But do not get too paranoid about some of these a hotel guest’s chance of dying in a terrorist attack are remote at one in ten million.
Hopefully, you followed the advice given earlier about choosing a hotel in a good location, one away from crime and seedy areas. But you should still ask in advance whether the front desk is staffed 24 hours a day, if there are security guards on the premises, surveillance cameras in the public areas, and safes in the hotel rooms. If there is a safe, use it for your valuables.
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Don’t accept a room on the ground floor if you can avoid it. Many safety experts recommend staying somewhere between the third and sixth floors where rooms are high enough to be difficult to break into, but not so high that they’re out of the reach of most fire engine ladders.
If you’re staying in a motel where doors open directly to the outside (rather than a hallway), see if you can get a room overlooking an interior courtyard instead of a parking lot or the street.
Upon arriving at your room, immediately identify a fire escape route. Check the location of the nearest stairwell and/or emergency exit (elevators should be avoided during a fire) and figure out a couple of potential plans for escape in case the hallway is blocked in one direction or another.
Check the locks on the windows (and balcony door, if applicable) as soon as you arrive, and notify the front desk if any are not functioning. It’s a good idea to check these locks again each time you return to the room, as housekeeping may open them and forget to close them again.
Keep your door locked at all times whenever you’re in your room including any deadbolts, security chains or swinging metal security locks. Never prop your door open, no matter how briefly.
At night, leave a pair of shoes next to the bed in case you need to leave in a hurry. Keep your room key, wallet and a flashlight close to hand as well.
If someone comes to your door unexpectedly and claims to be hotel staff, call the front desk to make sure the visit was actually authorized. Never open your door to someone until you’re sure of their identity; use the peephole instead.