A large part of my early years were spent working in the hospitality industry. As a teen, I started working as a front desk clerk. Eventually I made my way to upper level positions which involved a lot of travel. During those years, I learned a lot about how to travel alone safely. Here is some of what I learned:
Room Key Safety
I can tell you from firsthand experience that hotel desk clerks are taught not to announce a room number when checking someone into a hotel. They are told that it is for the safety of the guest. Unfortunately, not all of them follow orders. As such, if the clerk checking you into the hotel announces your room number out loud, ask for another room. The clerk should also present the key card or key tag with the room number facing down towards the counter to reduce the chances that anyone standing around the front desk can catch a glimpse of it.
If you are traveling alone and have safety concerns, consider asking to speak with the hotel manager. You may want to let the hotel manager know that you are traveling alone and that you do not want your information given out to anyone under any circumstances. Your information is supposed to be kept private but I have witnessed and read about incidents where that has failed to happen.
For example, I have witnessed room numbers inadvertently given out over the phone to people claiming to be a relative of a particular traveler. In another instance I know of, a single woman’s ex-husband showed up and asked for a copy of her room key. The woman had misguidedly listed herself as traveling with a spouse thinking that doing so would make her safe. After the man presented the desk clerk with identification matching his ex-wife’s information, he was given a room key. Once he got into her room he attacked her.
Be Selective About Room Location
Depending on the lodging facility, some rooms may be a disaster waiting to happen. I’d recommend that you avoid renting rooms that are located near exit doors, elevators or at the far end of the building. The reason being is that a ne’er-do-well with bad intentions can get into and out of those areas quickly. Those areas may also afford criminals an excuse to be loitering and a space to hide. First floor rooms with sliding glass doors and windows should also be avoided too. Instead, ask for rooms that are in the center of the building, on upper floors and near ample interior or exterior lighting.
Reconsider Using Room Service
Some women believe that using room service for their meals will keep them safe while traveling alone. This is not necessarily the case. Unscrupulous people may pretend to be room service attendants and then attempt to force their way into your room. Therefore, I’d recommend that single women either eat in the dining room or order take-out from the hotel restaurant and pick the food up themselves. This avoids having to allow a stranger to enter the guest room.
Use the Locks and Verify Visitors
Once you get inside your room, remember to lock the door immediately and use the safety chain. It is also a good idea to use the peep hole if someone does knock onto your door. If they claim to be a staff member and are wearing a uniform, I’d suggest that you go one step further. Call the hotel’s front desk and ask them if they sent someone up to your room and what that person looks like. Doing so should at least give you a better piece of mind.
Killeen Gonzalez has a history of working in the hospitality industry and traveling extensively.
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