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Cambodia 2009 378When You Reserve Your Room

  • Ask if they have security personnel 24/7.
  • Reserve a room located between the second and seventh floors – within reach of a fire department ladder.
  • Request a room that is not near vending machines (noise and loitering), and far from elevators and stairwells.
  • Ask if all rooms have sprinklers, for fire safety.

Packing for Safety

  • Don’t assume that your room will have a dead bolt or privacy latch or chain for the main door and all doors to accompanying rooms. So buy a small rubber door-stopper at the local hardware store and pack it for all your trips.

Upon Leaving the Airport, Train Station or Your Car

  • Be alert for suspicious persons and behavior.
  • After dark or in sketchy neighborhoods, do not park far from the main entrance and walk. Drive directly to the front door, unload the car and if the hotel parking is far, or it’s dark, ask for a hotel employee to accompany you to the parking lot.
  • Wait until you get to your hotel room to put on your lipstick or make a phone call. Do not stay in your parked car in the garage, parking lot or any public space around the hotel. You are making yourself vulnerable to thieves and kidnappers.

Upon Arrival

  • Do not wander in the parking lot, garage or public space around the hotel; kidnappers and thieves operate in these areas.

Check In

  • Ask a woman, if possible, at the front desk or concierge desk, about the safety of the neighborhood and for safe areas around the city in which to jog, dine or sightsee. Ask about local customs and which taxis or other public transportation to use or avoid. Ask about the local 911-type emergency number and how to use the local telephone system.
  • If the hotel gives you a parking permit to display in the window, ensure it does not show your name/room number.
  • Never give out more information than people need.
  • If the hotel receptionist announces your room number, ask for another room. Anyone loitering in the lobby could hear your name and room number.
  • Charleston 2008 128Make a habit of leaning your bags against your leg during registration at a hotel or at the airline ticket counter; you will feel it if someone moves your bag. Always place your purse and briefcase on the counter in front of you.
  • Off hours, do not be hesitant to ask a hotel employee to show you to your room.
  • Do not assume your guestroom will be perfect upon checking in. Windows, connecting doors, etc. may not be locked.
  • When you arrive at your room, prop the door open with your luggage, turn on the lights, inspect the door lock, locks on sliding glass doors and windows, door latch and/or chain, room safe, lock on interconnecting doors and ensure the telephone works.

During Your Stay

  • Keep the door closed and engage the dead bolt and privacy latch or chain at all times when you are in the room. Use a doorstop  (See tip above. Bring one with you).
  • Keep valuables, cash, jewelry, tickets, passports and other documents in the hotel or room safe.
  • If your hotel room does not have a safe, keep those items with you or lock them in your suitcase.
  • When you go to bed, do not leave your valuables in view. Store your watch, wallet, jewelry, purse, camera, ipod, laptops in a drawer in the nightstand, or in your suitcase. What would happen if there was a fire drill during the night and you left your room quickly, and half-asleep, and someone enters your room before you return?
  • Do not open your hotel room door to anyone unless you are expecting someone and you know them. Question the authenticity of a hotel service employee by calling the front desk to verify the reason and person, before allowing entry.
  • MBBphoto3Do not disclose your gender or the fact that you are the only occupant on Room Service Breakfast menus that you hang overnight on your guestroom doorknob/handle. Go even further and NEVER disclose your last name either. Initials are sufficient. Hotel workers are trained to closely guard the names of persons registered in each guestroom, for many good reasons.  It is not out of the realm of possibility for a poorly-trained newbie or a disgruntled, frazzled agent at the hotel’s Front Desk to offer an alleged “guest” an extra key to your guestroom, if they simply provide the room number and name, and the story that they locked themselves out or misplaced theirs. Identification should always be required before issuing keys, but does this ALWAYS happen? Regrettably, no.
  • When you occupy or leave the room, place a “do not disturb” sign on your outside door, giving the impression that the room is occupied — whether it is or not.
  • When returning at night, use only the main entrance.
  • When returning to your room, be aware of what’s going on around you. Do not unlock the door if a stranger is standing nearby; keep walking past your door and return only when clear. Do not enter if the door is not locked or ajar. Ask for assistance from someone at the front desk.

In the Lobby

  • Be aware of your surroundings and alert for people look out of place or who stare at or follow you.
  • Do not discuss personal matters, your reason for being in town, your itinerary, your marital status with friends in the lobby or strangers and pay attention to anyone around you who may overhear you.