Hotel Room Safety

A lot goes into choosing a hotel for business travel, and safety is frequently a top concern. You may think once you’re in your room you can let down your guard, but unfortunately that’s not always the case.

Some reports have come out of the Black Hat and Def Con conferences that attendees staying at certain hotels had “hotel security” personnel search their rooms for “safety checks.” After the shooting last year where a man shot and killed over 50 concert goers from his room at the Mandalay Bay, it’s understandable that hotels would be more security conscious. However that doesn’t mean that it’s not incredibly disconcerting, if not outright frightening, for hotel employees to search your room while you’re there.

Any time you’re staying in a hotel it’s likely that hotel staff are in and out of your room for a variety of reasons–maintenance, housekeeping, etc. That being said, nefarious characters have taken advantage of this expectation of ease of access for terrible purposes, including theft and assault. Travelers, especially female travelers, have to be aware of people impersonating hotel employees to gain access to their rooms; these security searches open up yet another potential threat we need to be on guard against. So, it seems like a good time for a refresher on hotel room safety!

Here are a few ways to be as safe as possible in your hotel room.

  • Always, always make sure you have a deadbolt and security latch, and keep them locked whenever you’re in the room. Some readers travel with a rubber door stopper which seems like a great idea, especially if there is no security latch. It also seems to help if you put your Do Not Disturb sign on your door.
  • If someone knocks on your door without unexpectedly, check to see who it is through the peephole, without opening the door,  regardless of what they say. If they claim to be a hotel employee, call the front desk to find out if it’s legit before opening the door. If it’s not legit have the front desk send security immediately and stay on the phone with them until security arrives.  
  • If there is a door to a connecting room double check that it is locked. Same for any balcony doors.
  • Never put the “Please Clean My Room” sign on the door. It’s an open invitation to thieves! Call housekeeping instead and let them know you’re ready for cleaning instead.
  • Don’t use the door sign provided for ordering breakfast. This alerts anyone who looks at it that you are ordering for one. When room service knocks, make sure the person with your food is a hotel employee.
  • When you leave your hotel for the evening put the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door so it appears someone is there.

I have been in my room when hotel personnel barged in unannounced and without knocking. It was pretty freaky, and would have been even more so if I had been dressing or showering. Any way I can avoid that in the future I definitely would like to!

Readers, are you concerned about hotel room safety? What precautions do you take?


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  1. The last 36 hours in Israel we are usually half packed and security concerns make me extra careful. I have security put a total DND lock on my room which deactivates any keys including my own. Housekeeping can not enter and I need to call security to be let into my room.
    Security is usually not happy but does agree with this plan.

  2. Good tips! I also have a few other rules for myself when traveling: don’t stay on the ground floor and don’t stay next to the fitness center. The fitness center just has too much traffic for my tastes and the ground floor creeps me out.

  3. Great suggestions – many I follow myself! My favorite tip though is throwing some underwear over my laptop when I have to leave the room and then burying it in my suitcase.

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