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Family vacations are for having fun and spending quality time with loved ones. It’s when we relax and let down our guard a little bit. Yet, many people become victims of crime while traveling because their own carelessness makes them easy targets. What can you do to keep your family safe during trips? Here are some simple safety tips for hotels to help you prevent being victimized.
Tip #1: Be discreet about your room number.
Have you ever noticed when checking into a hotel, many times the desk clerk doesn’t say your room number aloud? There’s a reason for that. The last thing you want to do is to announce your room number to everyone within earshot. That guy hanging out in the lobby may actually looking for his next victim. If you advertise your room number, you may be inviting him to make an unwelcome visit to you or your kids. So, be discreet about your room number. Don’t shout it out, and keep the card it’s written on to yourself.
Tip #2: Keep valuables out of sight.
When it comes to valuables, out of sight, out of mind is a good rule of thumb to remember. Some criminals don’t want to hurt you; they just want to steal your stuff. And smart thieves know that travelers almost always have things like electronics, cash, and credit cards. To decrease the odds of having your stuff stolen, keep them out of sight. This applies both to your hotel room and to your car. A thief walking through the parking lot looking in car windows will break into the one with the tablet laying on the seat. Also, when checking in and out of the hotel, keep those valuables packed away.
Tip #3: Don’t leave your door open.
Many times in hotel rooms, people prop the door open when one person runs down the hall for a few minutes. This, however, is a very dangerous thing to do. Leaving your door propped open is an invitation for anyone to walk into your room. Criminals take advantage of hotels being public places where anyone can walk in and out very quickly. I’ve even seen cases of hotel maids being robbed while cleaning rooms. It is much safer for the family member who is running out for a minute to take a key with them or knock when they come back. Keep that door locked!
Tip #4: Keep your curtains drawn.
To help keep your valuables out of sight, keep your curtains drawn when you are in a hotel room. This is especially true if you are staying on the bottom floor. You don’t want everybody walking by to see what your family is doing in the room. And when you leave, make sure those windows are shut so no one can see that your room is currently empty. Feel free to open the curtains and enjoy the view, but when you’re done looking, shut them again to maintain your family’s privacy.
Tip #5: Don’t announce your plans to the world.
The only people who need to know your plans for the day are your family members. The only people outside of that who care are the criminals. So, don’t announce them to the rest of the world! This means you don’t need to tell the front desk clerk or the waitress at breakfast or the nice lady sitting next to you on the subway. But, this also means don’t broadcast it to the world on Facebook or other social media. Believe it or not, criminals troll social media looking for when people are going to be out so they can break in.
Tip #6: Don’t let kids roam by themselves.
Regardless of how old your kids are, please don’t let them roam around the hotel by themselves. Even if they are going to the pool, which is just down the hall from your room, it’s not a good idea. You never know who or what they are going to encounter along the way. Do you really want your 14-year-old daughter to deal with a group of drunken college guys by herself? Be on the safe side and give yourself some peace of mind by going with the kids when they leave the room.
Tip #7: Be aware of your surroundings.
Even if you don’t know where you are or where you’re going, it’s always important to be aware of your surroundings. Look around. Pay attention to who is standing where. This goes for when you are at the hotel and when you are out sightseeing. But this is especially important to remember when you are in parking lots and going to and from buildings.
Tip #8: Park near a light and close to an entrance.
This tip goes hand in hand with tip #7. When parking in the hotel lot, especially at night, try to park as close to the entrance as possible. Choose a spot near a light pole if you can. These spots are better lit and safer than those further away and in darker areas of the lot. Cars in these spots are less likely to get broken into.
Tip #9: Don’t be afraid to say something.
Don’t be afraid to say something. If you see someone lurking outside the entrance to the hotel that seems suspicious, say something to the front desk clerk. Did you see someone looking in cars in the parking lot? Call the police or let the hotel staff know. If something doesn’t seem right, tell someone who can check it out. It is always better to be safe than sorry. When you say something, you give the hotel or police a chance to investigate. If it turns out to be legit, then at least everyone knows.
Tip #10: Listen to your instincts.
The most important safety tip I can give you is to listen to your instincts. They exist to keep us safe. So, if something doesn’t feel right, pay attention. If someone makes you stop and hesitate, turn around and go a different direction. It may seem silly at the time, but it may also keep your family safe.
By using these ten simple tips above, you can keep your family safe during your next hotel stay. This will ensure you have more fun and less worry during your family travels. For more travel safety tips, see my safety tips for airports, safety tips for the beach, and safety tips for Disney World. Do you have any safety tips for hotels that weren’t mentioned here? Leave a comment and let us know what they are! Happy travels!