Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, alone or with family, it’s important to think about precautions and general common sense to keep you and your loved ones safe.
1. Ask questions before you decide on your hotel. Does the hotel have security personnel on site around the clock? Do they have surveillance cameras? Are background checks performed on staff? Are staff trained for emergencies? Any hotel worth it’s salt will have taken these steps to ensure guest and staff safety.
2. Staying alone? Do not hesitate to ask for an escort to your room or car during off hours. Ask for a map of the hotel and know your nearby exits.
3. Opt for hotels that use key cards.
4. When choosing a hotel, steer clear of close proximity to government offices, embassies, landmarks or religious centers.
5. Avoid taking a room on the ground floor, especially those with patio doors. Avoid near the lobby, stairwells and elevators. The safest rooms are between the 3rd and 7th floors: high enough to deter would-be criminals, low enough that the firemen can reach you by ladder in the unfortunate event some idiot fell asleep smoking in their bed.
6. Ensure there are sprinklers in your room. See #5.
7. If the desk clerk that checked you in announces your room number while handing you your key card, ask for a different room. That’s right up there with the genius customs agent who asked a friend of mine why he was carrying $4000 in cash (he was going to Vegas and some scumbags overheard the exchange – thanks customs agent, I need new pants now and a getaway car.)
8. Do not use the provided door hanger to request maid service or room service, especially if the latter indicates your meal is for one. Call in your requests instead.
9. Use valet parking instead of venturing into the parking garage, even if it is well lit.
10. Perform a full backup before you leave. Nuff said.
11.Turn off file & print sharing and disable shared drives & folders before logging onto the hotel’s network.
12. Lock your laptop in a suitcase to deter thieves. Some people go so far as to put their electronic gear in a steel suitcase and use a bike lock to chain it to a large piece of furniture. It may be the only thing you chain to your bed on this trip, but hey.
13. Don’t turn your back on it, ever. Even in the middle of a presentation, hard drives go missing when the speaker goes to answer questions.
14. Know your whereabouts at all times.
15. Watch your alcohol consumption. Being impaired in a strange place can lead to some very shady situations. Furthermore, do not turn your back on your drink and if you do, order a new one and leave the old one. Spending a few extra bucks to spare yourself from rohypnol – priceless.
16. Beware of overly friendly people. Do not invite them back to your hotel room even if you’ve been laughing it up with them and they seem cool.
17. Program your cell phone with all your emergency contacts. Besides the obvious family members, consider adding your lawyer, insurance company and your favorite bail bondsman.
Keeping the Kids Safe:
18. Before leaving: have recent pictures of the kids, ensure kids know the hotel name and where you are staying, and make plans in the event you are separated.
19. Never allow your kids to wander the hotel alone. Besides the obvious safety factors (the pool, the workout room equipment, leaving the hotel and stepping into traffic), children are susceptible to kidnapping in this day and age of human trafficking.
20. If you’re going to use the hotel crib, check it over very carefully. Better yet, bring your own portable crib if you can. Hotels cannot be relied on to provide a safe crib.
21. Upon arriving, check your room over carefully as well. Move dangerous items such as the hair dryer, coffee pot, toiletries, glasses and dry cleaning bag. Cover electrical outlets. Move furniture away from windows, check window latches and tie up blind cords. Look from the perspective of your little one by crawling around on the floor. Then, see #5.
22. Wash your hands and your children’s hands regularly. Nobody needs projectile vomiting while on vacation.
23. Set the rules right away. Grown ups answer the door, no one wanders off, stay together and don’t touch the mini-bar. Stuff like that will keep your spawn safe and your amenities bill in check.
This may sound like a lot of information, but a little forward planning and a lot of common sense can make the difference between vacation and ending up sick, lost, hungover, drugged, robbed, hurt, on fire, dead, and/or childless.Photo credit