How to Choose the Right Hotel: Hotel Safety Tips


January 31, 2019

When planning a trip, we tend to spend the most time looking up fun things to do and see: unique restaurants and cafes, fun attractions, which beaches to hit first. Because of the anticipation and excitement, picking the right hotel can sink to the bottom of your list. It’s easy to find the cheapest one, click—book now, and move on to the more exciting parts of planning your trip.

But what you might not realize is that choosing the right hotel is the most important part of planning your spring break or any travel excursion. Splurging on a hotel in a great area with incredible security measures and top-rated customer service will set your trip off on the right foot from the moment you arrive. Try to stay on the path of larger chain hotels like the Sheraton®, Hyatt® or Hilton Hotels and Resorts®.

These large-scale hotel chains are much more likely to have security measures set in place for emergencies, and also, they are more likely to have on-site personnel to make sure that your stay remains safe and stress-free.

Look for Great Hotel Customer Service

Another important tip when it comes to choosing the right hotel: always make sure your hotel has a concierge. These professionals can do all sorts of things for you:

  • make reservations for you at the hottest restaurants in town
  • give you tips on what areas to explore and which to stay away from
  • arrange reliable transportation and tours for you

Concierges are locals, they’ll always know the safest and most efficient ways to explore your destination.

Also, make sure that your hotel has a reliable airport shuttle transportation system. You’re at your most vulnerable when getting on or off a flight with all of your belongings in tow. Petty criminals can catch you off guard with no way to make it to and from the place you’re staying.

When checking in, ask for a map of the neighborhood. This is not only handy for getting around but in case of an evacuation emergency, you’ll have an idea of what your options are.

Think proactively and do the research to make sure that your hotel’s location is in a good area with safe access to public transportation. But being proactive doesn’t stop after you’ve clicked “book now.” Take precautions while checking in and out of your hotel and for the duration of your stay. Look for these features:

  • Is there a professional security team on duty at the hotel?
  • Is there screening security of bags at the hotel entrance?
  • Does your hotel have good exterior lighting?
  • Are parking lots secure?*

Hotel Safety Practices – Checking In

Cancún has hundreds of attractions and tourist sites. Cancún is mainly a tourist destination, so it rings in at a more affordable price than many other tropical spring break destinations.

We know. Checking in to your hotel at the beginning of your trip is exciting and chaotic. Travel scammers know this too. Keep your guard up, and make sure to pay attention to your surroundings as much as possible.

When checking in, politely greet the receptionist at the front desk and simply hand them your ID to check in instead of saying your reservation name. Anyone can sit in the hotel lobby, and you never know who’s listening in to use that information later.

When the receptionist gives you your room keys, make sure to ask them to write your room number on the card to ensure you heard them correctly and so you won’t forget it later on.

While you’re waiting to be checked in, take a look around the lobby. Make a mental note of the layout. You’ll find out where they serve breakfast, where the pool is located, and where the exits are in case of emergency during your stay. Check out those emergency exits yourself to make sure you can access the doors.

Cancún’s Transportation Choices

Does your hotel offer a shuttle to and from the airport? A service like this can really decrease your stress at the start and end of your trip. Renting a car is a good option in Cancún too; however, you’ll see the public transportation system is extremely affordable and accessible, making the need for a car few and far between.

Bus service is available around the clock, and with the cost of about 1/7 the price of a Starbucks’ latte, you’ll have the freedom to experience local life: Cancún style.

Choose the Right Hotel Room

Also, remember to pick up a few extra business cards from the front desk while checking in. These will have your hotel’s name, address, and phone number. You can give a card to a taxi driver in event of a language barrier so you know you’ll get back to your hotel without confusion.

If possible, try to get a room somewhere on floors 2 through 6 of your hotel. Most crime in hotels happens in the lobby because criminals have easy access. Not to mention, in most places outside of the United States, the fire department has no way of reaching higher floors.

By placing yourself in this happy medium, you’ll avoid any threat of criminal activity, and also, this will position your family for an easier escape of the building during an emergency. It’s always better to take precautions than to wish you had done so in the first place.

Practice Hotel Safety – Hang onto Your Luggage

Because most crime in hotels tends to occur in the lobby or ground floor, keep a watchful eye over your luggage while you’re checking in. Being distracted makes you more vulnerable to an incident of theft. Making sure your luggage is always in your possession will decrease your risk of losing it.

Take all your luggage up to your room yourself, or make it a team effort with the hotel porter. This way you know where all of your belongings are all the time. If you can’t take all of your luggage by yourself and you do use a bellman, just keep an eye on him and your possessions.

A Few Tips to Secure Your Hotel Room

Don’t let your guard down once you get settled into your room. It’s tempting to just throw all of your stuff down and go explore. However, there are a few things you should take care of before heading out or anytime you’re relaxing in your room.

First of all, always make sure that your door is completely closed. Many people have fallen victim to theft when they assumed their door was closed—but, it didn’t “click” closed. Thieves know this and will often go around floors looking to access your room just by pushing the door open.

Similarly, never open your door for anyone you didn’t know was coming like housekeeping or maintenance. If you ever feel like someone is lurking outside of your room, simply call down to the front desk. They’ll investigate the matter to make sure that person really is supposed to be there.

Lock and Block Your Hotel Room

When you’re settling in, always make sure that your belongings are out of sight and stored away.  Have a  somewhere that you can always reach it. A hotel room is an unfamiliar place, and if there happens to be a power outage, it won’t be easy to make your way around without it. It is also strong enough to temporarily blind someone if you’re caught in a dangerous situation.

Any time you are in your room, make sure that the door is clicked shut and locked with a deadbolt. Hotels have master keys for every room, and the only way to make sure no one is coming in when you don’t want them to is to use the deadbolt lock.

 

Another good investment is a door wedge/doorstop. You can use this to keep your door closed from the inside instead of having it propped open. These are typically small and lightweight and don’t take up too much room in your luggage.

Here are some other important safety questions:

  • Does the room have an entry door viewer?
  • Are there accessible rooms for the disabled?
  • Does the door have a secondary locking device?
  • Are the side and back doors secured? Do they have cameras?
  • Does the hotel have an emergency power supply?
  • Are there fire extinguishers close by?
  • Do the emergency doors swing out?

Lastly, never trust unsolicited phone calls from anyone to your hotel room. If the “front desk” calls to confirm payment information or any other personal information, hang up immediately and call back.

More than likely, this was a scammer and not the real front desk. If the front desk actually did call you, go down to the lobby to settle the matter so that you know everything is being handled accordingly.

Dave, if we list various products in the blog regularly, it may be good to get an Amazon affiliate account in a few months, once our workflows are sorted out and our audience numbers are up. Then we can link to approved Travelyze gear.

Choosing the Right Hotel Sets the Stage for a Great Vacation!

You’ll worry about so many things when it comes to booking and staying safe in the right hotel. Go into your trip informed and prepared. Then you’ll relax and have peace of mind knowing your safety is the top priority.

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About The Author

Dave Husler

Dave Husler has over 20 years of military and civilian experience in international security. He developed a love of languages and foreign cultures as a linguist in the US Army and gained a strong foundation of analytic skills while earning a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University in Bethesda, Maryland. He has enjoyed adventures in over 20 countries. His passion is traveling with his family, experiencing different cultures, and helping others to have adventures of their own.