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She's Hotel Savvy -- She Stays Safe

 

Evelyn Hannon

Pals, Catherine Comer and Lavon Swaim are experienced travellers and the authors of "The Traveling Woman, Great Tips For Safe and Healthy Trips." We asked these women to compile, along with Journeywoman, a " Female-friendly Top Twenty Tip List" for staying safe in hotels.

No matter how worldly-wise we may be, no matter how many hotel experiences we've all had for business or pleasure, it never hurts to revisit these bits of safety advice. And, if you're travelling with your young daughter, a kid sister, a granddaughter or a niece, it's a great idea to print this list and review it together with them as you travel. It's never too soon to become an informed Journeywoman!


Her Twenty tips...

Hide your gender from potential troublemakers -- when checking into a hotel, register under your last name and first initial only.
Ask the agent to give you your room number discreetly so that others cannot overhear.
Ask if the room you are assigned has a deadbolt.
If you are travelling alone, ask for an escort (such as the bellman) to accompany you to your room.
If the hotel offers underground parking, ask for an attendant to park your car.
Don't be afraid to refuse a room if you're not comfortable with your safety.
Keep your key secured and out of sight at all times.
Many hotels in foreign countries will keep your hotel key at the front desk in a box with the room number labeled on it in plain view. When asking for your key, take care who may overhear you stating your room number.
When getting settled into your room, check the locks on windows and doors to make sure that they work properly.
Orient yourself with fire safety procedures such as where the emergency exits are located and escape routes.
If possible, check to make sure that the smoke detector is working.
Some seasoned travellers suggest counting the number of doors from your room to the emergency stairwell. This could be critical if you need to find your way through a smoke-filled corridor. In case of fire, do not use the elevators.
If you must leave your room because of fire, feel the door first to see if it's hot. If it's not hot, open the door slightly to see if you can make it to the nearest evacuation stairwell. Stay low to the floor. Take your room key with you, if possible.
If the smoke is heavy, seal the door with wet towels.
While you're in your room (under any conditions), keep the deadbolt locked at all times. Never open the door to a stranger. Rooms with a one-way viewer are the safest for identifying someone at the door.
We recommend carrying a small door wedge and keeping it tucked under the door, or using an alarm that can be set to go off if someone opens the door. You can find these at travel and luggage stores.
If you order room service, confirm that the person is hotel staff before opening the door. If you are uncertain that they are hotel staff, call the front desk for verification.
Do not hang the "Make up Room" sign on the door handle; this will draw attention to the fact that you are not in your room. Instead call the front desk to request housekeeping services.
Also avoid using the door sign provided to order food service. This would allow anyone reading the sign to know that you are ordering for one person only. Call the room service to order meals instead.
Finally, when you leave for the evening, hang the "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door so that anyone passing by will think you are in the room.

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