THE BLOG

Seven Safety Tips When Booking a Room

Most vacations are safe and fun. But especially if you're a female solo traveler, keep in mind these seven safety reminders when booking a room anywhere in the world. Then enjoy yourself!

Make savvy choices. Select a hotel with room-entry only through a main lobby, rather than separate entrances for each room. Avoid ground-level rooms. Even if they're only accessible through the lobby, their windows expose you more readily to thieves. Ask for a room in a well-lighted area. Book rooms with smoke alarms and fire escapes; if not, be extra vigilant. Don't accept a room at the end of a long, isolated hall with no exit. Choose rooms below the fifth floor for access to fire ladders.

Don't let the desk blab your room number. If the hotel staff announces your room, ask for another and explain why. Alert them that you're concerned about security and that you need them to respect that. Have the bellhop accompany you to and from your room if you feel more comfortable.

Avoid stairs. Stairwells may offer exercise, but are an ideal spot for crime. Elevators are generally safer, but don't board one if you're not wild about your car mates, and if you want to back out gracefully, pretend you forgot your key. Have it ready in the elevator so you don't have to fumble at your door. And if someone follows you out and tries to attack, knock on doors and scream for help.

Don't advertise your whereabouts. Don't put the tag on the door that asks for maid service, but do use the "Do Not Disturb" sign and keep the TV on when you're out.

Reject all pop-ins. Don't let a hotel staffer or anyone else in your room unless you're expecting someone; otherwise, call the front desk and ask the person to wait outside for clearance.

Lock it all. Lock all doors, and windows, even when you're in the room. Lock valuables in a safe. Lock your luggage. If you're issued a spare room key or key card, don't leave it in your room for someone to take. Also consider bringing your own personal alarm, such as a motion sensor that hangs on the inside doorknob and will go off if the outer knob is turned.

Be your own fire warden. Know where the exits are. In case of fire, stay low and cover cracks in doors and windows with wet towels; wait in your room for help if the door is hot, or break a window if needed, and use that fire escape. Know where your key is, and take it with you in case of emergency. And, on a lighter note, if you're really safety conscious, sleep in something you can run out in. (PJs with attached feet won't do.)