Today, the savvy traveler needs to be security conscious. That especially applies to hotels. While any given stay will, in all likelihood, turn out to be safe and incident-free, the following sensible precautions—some general, some quite specific—are well worth knowing:
DON’T confuse luxury with security
A hotel’s reputation for service and amenities does not necessarily make it safer. The more affluent the clientele, the more attractive it can be to criminals. Security can vary widely from hotel to hotel, so put some care into your choice.
DO your due diligence
Research your hotel ahead of time. Check into its security features. Are the room keys electronic? Do you need a key to use the elevator? Is there a safe in the room? Is there an attendant at the gym? If the answer to any of these is “no,” consider another hotel.
DON’T let the desk clerk announce your room number
To a sophisticated thief, that number is valuable information. Don’t say it aloud, even to yourself. And if the desk clerk happens to mention it, ask for another room.
DO bring your own doorstop
A simple rubber doorstop can be an effective obstacle, even to someone who can bypass your lock. It’s low tech, it’s cheap, and it takes up no room in your luggage. Get one and use it.
DO make sure your door is locked
There are criminals who make an excellent living walking down hotel corridors and trying each door to see if the lock is fully engaged. When you leave your room, listen for the click. When you’re in your room, make sure you’re locked in with the chain on—and your doorstop (see above) in place.
DO leave a note when you go out
Write down where you’re going, when you expect to be back, and the names of the people you intend to meet. Leave it in your room or at the front desk. This can help law enforcement locate you in an emergency.
DON’T use the hotel’s WiFi
Hotel telecommunications can be woefully insecure. If you must access the Internet, either buy an international data plan or bring your own hotspot.
DO watch out when you work out
Hotel gyms and pools are often left unattended. Caution is advised, especially for women. Make sure they are well-lit and centrally located. Use them only during peak hours. And make sure you’re never alone.
K2 Intelligence offers a wide range of travel security and privacy services to international organizations, as well as to high-profile and high-net-worth individuals.