Seven (Some Weird) Things I Do to Stay Safe in a Hotel Room

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Putting the DND Sign to Work on My Hotel Room Door

Putting the DND Sign to Work on My Hotel Room Door

Traveling solo tends to push personal fear boundaries yet I take a proactive approach to minimize the scariness of the hotel experience which is why I’m sharing the seven (some weird) things I do to stay safe in a hotel room. And no, I don’t lock myself in the hotel safe…

I Don't Sleep with My Hair Clips So I Put them to Work

I Don’t Sleep with My Hair Clips So I Put them to Work

I’m Not Afraid of Heights
Even before checking into my hotel room the first safety precaution I take is requesting a room on an upper floor during the reservation process. Why? I have a heightened state of awareness about someone breaking in through a hotel window so if I’m on an upper floor, even a second floor room, chances are reduced someone will break into the room through the window. Now, if the hotel has exterior entryways, there’s no way of avoiding a window being inaccessible to someone walking by so I just deal with it.

Is the Coast Clear?
Call me paranoid but once I open my hotel room door for the first time, I prop the door open with my suitcase and make a sweep of the room. I check the bathroom, closet, under the bed and the dresser drawers making sure first, the room is relatively clean. Oh boy, let me tell you, I’ve found some interesting things left behind from previous guests in drawers and under the bed. Some things innocent while other would make me blush sharing. Why do I keep my door open while doing this? In the rare case I find someone unwanted hanging out in the room having the door open helps me make a quick escape.

The Chair Looks Great Against the Door, Right?

The Chair Looks Great Against the Door, Right?

Peel Back the Covers
It’s time for a bed bug check! I peel back the covers on the corner of the bed looking for signs of the gross critters. I’m looking for blood stains and little apple seed-like bugs. If I find them (to date, I haven’t), I’ll request a new room.

Related: Five Gross Things Commonly Found in Hotel Rooms

Hang the DND Sign
The do not disturb sign (DND sign in tourism lingo) is almost immediately placed on my door and the deadbolt is engaged once I determine the room is acceptable. If I don’t have one, I make my own (I know, I should call the front desk but I don’t like being a bother.) Of course, I could be a rude guest and steal one off another door down the hall – which has happened to me.

Hair Clip the Curtains
Ever stay in a hotel room and the drapes just don’t stay shut? Maybe they’re over the air conditioning unit which blows them open. My solution for keeping them closed from peering eyes is holding them closed with my hair clips. I don’t need them when sleeping, right? As a sidebar, growing up we had a peeping tom situation and it just FREAKED me out. My mom caught the creep peeping in on her in the bathroom when I was a kid and from that moment, when it comes to nighttime, I’m afraid of uncovered windows. The heebie-jeebies just crawl throughout my body when I walk by an uncovered window so holding the drapes .

A Chair is Added Security
Now, I don’t do this one all the time but if staying in a sketchy area I’ll shove the room chair underneath the door knob for added security. Of course, this only works when the door opens in rather than out. Most hotel room doors do but in rare occasions they don’t.

Sneakers Make Portable Hotel Room Doorstops

Sneakers Make Portable Hotel Room Doorstops

Sneakers are a Crime Deterrent
I make sure the door into the room closes and locks properly. Ideally, it should have the automatic lock and a deadbolt and when in my room, all possible locks are engaged, just to prevent someone with another key from entering. Yeah, I know in these days with electronic cards it’s more difficult for the front desk to “mix up keys” (it happened all the time when working in Yellowstone) but it could happen. If there’s a door connecting to the adjoining room I make sure that’s locked, too. I also shove the tips of my sneakers under the door which makes it more difficult for someone to enter because the rubber acts like a doorstop when the door is opened.

That’s how I secure, do you have any hotel room safety tips?

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

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4 Comments

  1. Wow, Jenn – thanks for sharing your tips! Do you count doors to the nearest stairway/emergency exit, in case of a fire? I have requested a new room when the security lock didn’t work. And I’ve used your chair idea when there’s a a door connecting to an adjoining room, even after verifying that it was locked. It’s funny… all that Rob usually cares about is if the TV works!

  2. I like your tips. Even when traveling with another person, they’re smart to do. I always bring a stickie note to cover the peephole. At some of the higher end hotels they have a little thing that covers it and you can flip it up when you want to look out. But most hotels/motels don’t have anything covering it.

    I also bring my own night light. This always gives me enough light to see what’s going on & navigate around the room.

    @impeccableimage

  3. I might do that shoe/doorstop thing on my next big adventure.

  4. I literally will spend the first five minutes examining for cool/weird/gross evidence to post to FB. My friends were initially horrified. Now they send ME stuff. Weird? Yes. But it’s also hygienic for spotting and IDing hazardous waste. Literally.

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