I spend a lot of time staying in hotels and, as a woman alone, I understand how scary and dangerous it can sometimes feel. I’ve been doing it for so long now, staying safe in a hotel is second nature to me. But, for many women, being safe can sometimes seem difficult. If you’re a woman planning on staying in a hotel alone, follow these quick hotel safety tips, and you should be just as secure as in your own home.
1. Book a Hotel Room in a Hotel and Not a Motel – Many motels have the hotel rooms opening right out into the parking lot. It’s very difficult for any property to keep a building like this secure, so only stay in a hotel that has no access to the rooms except by going up in an elevator or stairs. Rapes are much easier to perpetrate in motels as are burglaries. So spend a little extra money and go the hotel route.
2. Stay Between the 3rd and 6th Floors if Possible – I saw a safety expert on CNN once who said most hotel burglaries happen on the first two floors and that a fire truck ladder cannot usually reach past the seventh floor (I didn’t know that before). So, now, I always make sure I request a room on floors 3, 4, 5 or 6 to be safe. Remember, the higher up you are, the more difficult it is to get down the stairwell quickly if there’s a fire. I always think about the World Trade Center now, and how many people died on the higher floors. Hotel rooms are the same so, be safe. The view might not be as good but you’ll be one of the first ones out in case of a fire.
3. Don’t Stay in a Room Near the Stairs – As a woman staying in a hotel alone, you shouldn’t stay in a room near the stairs. Being close to the stairs makes it easier for anyone to sneak up them, get into your room and make a quick getaway. Make sure you know where the stairs are in case of fire, but don’t stay in a room next to them.
4. Never Answer Your Door If You Didn’t Call Anyone – One of the tricks people use to get into hotel rooms is to pretend to be “room service” or “housekeeping”. If you haven’t called any of the hotels services, call down to the front desk before you open the door to find out if they’ve sent someone up to your room. There’s no reason to open the door otherwise. Especially as a woman alone. It’s easy for anyone to pretend to be “room service” just to get access to your room. Don’t let them.
5. Don’t Invite Strangers To Your Room – One of my friends was raped in Cambodia after she invited a taxi driver to her room to give him a shirt. Never mind the “what was she thinking” that went through my head, as a woman alone, you should never invite any stranger into your hotel room. If you do need to meet someone at your hotel, make sure they wait for you in the lobby. That way, there are people around that you can get help from if anything seems wrong.
6. Never Leave Your Door Ajar – I’ve seen women in hotel rooms with the door ajar, waiting for a husband, friend, bellhop etc. Never, ever leave your hotel room door ajar, even for a second. As soon as you walk in, check around the room to make sure there’s no-one in the closet or bathroom and then close the door, lock it and use the deadbolt and chain.
7. Have Telephone Number of Your Embassy – If you’re a woman traveling alone to another country, always make sure you can contact your embassy if needs be. You never know what problems you might encounter and knowing you can get help from your embassy will give you some peace of mind.
8. Keep a Copy of Passport, Airline Tickets – Make sure you always have a copy of your passport and airline tickets with you, but separate from your originals. If your originals are lost or stolen, you then have proof for your embassy and the airline that you did have the originals before.
9. Make Sure Hotel Knows About Medical Conditions – One of my friends is a diabetic so she always makes sure each hotel knows she’s diabetic in case she ever ends up in a diabetic coma. If the hotel has to call a doctor or ambulance for any reason, it’s better for them to know some possible health problems – it makes the doctor’s job easier and the less likely they’ll overlook something important and potentially life threatening.
10. Be Aware But Not Paranoid – Overall, as a woman staying in a hotel alone, you should be aware of what’s going on around you but not paranoid. It’s possible to travel the world as a woman alone (I know, I do it!) and never have a problem. But, it’s also better to be safe than sorry and being prepared can go a long way to ensuring you are.
Most of all, enjoy your stay in a hotel. As a woman staying in a hotel alone, it can be a time to unwind, get away from family and job stresses and just relax. Don’t allow being in a hotel alone to make you nervous. I’ve stayed in over 500 hotels in my lifetime and never had a problem – just be careful and you too should be fine.
Happy hotel stays!