It’s easy to have a carefree mindset whenever you’re going on a vacation. You are, after all, on a break, and you’d want to leave all your worries behind so you can just rest, relax, and have the time of your life.
But whether you’re vacationing locally or abroad, you still have to be cautious, not only when you’re touring around the area, but also—and more importantly—when you’re staying inside your hotel.
Hotels may offer travelers a sense of security as they serve as people’s home away from home, but they can also come with their own risks. Of course, you should still enjoy your vacation, but it wouldn’t hurt to follow some precautionary measures. Here are some of our hotel safety tips:
Before You Go
- Do some research. Even before booking a hotel, research about the destination you’re planning to go to. Check if the area you’re eyeing is in the generally safe part of town. Be wary of super affordable rooms—they might be located in a shady neighborhood. Don’t forget to check if safe public transportation is accessible from the hotel.
- Book with reputable organizations only. Make sure you are doing your transactions with legitimate organizations only. When in doubt, do a little research on the booking agency. Want to save some money on your hotel booking? Check out Traveloka and its promos .
- Request for a room on one of the fourth to sixth floors. Lower floors are usually where the common facilities are (like the lobby and the pool), making the rooms there more accessible to thieves. Rooms on higher floors are also not recommended as staying in one makes it harder for you to vacate the hotel in times of an emergency, like a fire or an earthquake.
- Pack a door stopper. This will serve as additional security for your room’s door. If you don’t have one, affordable door wedges aren’t hard to come by, and the purchase will be worth it.
Read 13 Best Packing Hacks for Smart Travelers
- Always have your luggage in sight. From the moment you alight from your vehicle up to the moment you finally enter your room, you should be able to see all your bags. Never have your back turned on them, even when you’re checking in. If needed, keep them in between you and the counter. Thieves have been known to swiftly swipe bags when the owner is not looking.
- Never divulge your full name and your room number to anyone outside of the check-in staff. Most front desk staff are trained to not say your full name and room number out loud (in case those with bad intentions are eavesdropping). Of course, they’d still need to get your name, so show them an ID instead of telling them your personal information. Also, be mindful when taking photos and posting them on social media, as you may be inadvertently sharing information with criminals.
- Never leave your passport at the check-in counter. Your passport should always be in your possession. Never leave it with anyone else, even as a security deposit. If anyone insists on taking your passport, remind them that according to Republic Act Number 8239 any Philippine passport remains at all times the property of the Philippine government and may not be surrendered to any person or entity other than the government.
- Never leave your key card with its folder. When you are first given your key card, it usually comes with a key folder that has important information like your room number and the hotel address. Once you have memorized your room number, keep the folder separate from the key itself. This way, if the key card gets lost or stolen, your room will still be somewhat secure since whoever gets it won’t know your room number. If you want to be sure, if this happens, ask the front desk to change the code on your door and to give you a new key card.
- If you feel like someone is following you to your room, get off on a different floor. If you are alone and this happens, press the button of a different floor and get off there. If you can go to common areas, go there instead, and stay there until the person leaves. Otherwise, ask assistance from a uniformed staff.
Read 7 Do’s and Dont’s When Staying in a Hotel
In Your Room
- Pull the door shut behind you. Do this every time you enter the room, as some hotel rooms don’t have doors that automatically close. Make sure all locks are working, including the deadbolt and the security chain. Check the peephole as well and make sure you can clearly see through it. If you packed a door stopper, wedge it on the door as an added security.
- Before you settle in, check the closet, bathroom, and curtains. While it is unlikely, an attacker can use any of these as a hiding place and attack you when your guard is down.
- Check the other locks. Make sure the locks on all the windows are working properly. If you’re in an adjoining room, check the lock on the connecting door as well.
- Take some time to figure out where the fire exits are. Make sure you know how to get there from your room. Memorize the steps and turns needed to get there. Remember, in an emergency situation, you may not have the luxury of a clearly lit path.
- If you’re going to use the room safe, make sure it is bolted down. If unsure, lock valuables inside your bag. Another option is leaving them at the hotel’s own safe, but if you’re doing this, make sure you get a receipt detailing what you left for safekeeping.
- Check if the phone is working. It should be able to make outside calls. Ideally, it should also come with a list of emergency contact numbers.
- Always verify if someone is working for the hotel. If you get an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be from the hotel, never give any personal information. To verify, call the front desk and ask if they had someone call you. If someone knocks on your door claiming to be from the hotel, check through the peephole first. If you still can’t verify their identity, open the door but keep the security chain on until you’re absolutely sure that they are part of the hotel staff.
Read How to Check for Hidden Cameras in Your Hotel Room
Leaving the Hotel
- Close the curtains when you leave your room. From the outside, no one will know that your room is empty. If you don’t mind not having your room made up, hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign from your doorknob.
- Double check your belongings. Make it a practice to check drawers, cabinets, and other storage nooks you may have used during your stay before checking out.
- When checking out, make sure you claim your security deposit. If you used your credit or debit card for this, make sure they reverse all charges. Always ask for a receipt.
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