Aviophobia — the fear of flying — affects 6.5% of the population, but many people experience some form of travel anxiety before a trip. Worries include missing connections, cancelled flights and personal safety abroad, and anything we can do to alleviate some of our fears before we travel can make a vacation much less stressful. If it’s hotel safety that concerns you, whether you’re embarking on a solo adventure, travelling with friends, or taking a family vacation, knowing how best to keep yourself safe will help reduce your travel anxiety.
Arriving At Your Hotel
Keep your luggage with you while you’re checking in. If you leave it in the lounge, the chances of it being stolen are higher, but you’ll also be more anxious about keeping an eye on it. If you’re concerned about your safety in the room, ask for a room that’s not on the ground floor and therefore more difficult to break into. Safety experts often recommend staying between the third and sixth floors, which are the floors most easily reached by fire engine ladders in the event of an emergency.
Avoid saying your room number out loud. It’s unlikely that hotel staff will do this, but in the event that your security is compromised in this way, ask to be given another room. Pass your credit card over the counter, and don’t leave it on the surface where a good camera could snap your details. Ask for two of the hotel’s business cards and leave one by the phone in your room, allowing you to quickly call for help with all the relevant details at hand if there’s an emergency. Keep the second card on you for the duration of your stay so that you can always find your way back to the hotel easily.
Safety In Your Room
If you’re concerned about entering an unfamiliar space, ask the bell boy to wait with you while you check the closet and shower to set your mind at rest that you’re alone. Check that the room lock works and you can operate it with ease. If the room has a deadbolt, for added security while you’re inside, keep this locked. You can also further secure the door by pushing the door wedge under it. Keep a flashlight on the bedside table so that you can navigate the building easily if there’s an emergency or if the power goes out. Familiarise yourself with the fire procedure, and make sure you know where fire extinguishers and alarms are located.
If you’re traveling with young children, make sure that electrical outlets are covered — most hotels will be able to provide safety coverings if you ask. Many hotels also offer infant safety facilities such as baby baths or spout covers. Ask hotel staff what’s available to keep your child safe in the room. Before you let your children explore, check for potential hazards you need to keep an eye on, and cover any sharp edges with blankets.
Leaving The Room
When you’re headed out for the day, lock valuable items in the safe provided, but take (a copy of) your passport with you. If you don’t trust the safety of the locker provided, ask for a written receipt for your valuables and find out what coverage is offered for loss. Most hotels won’t accept liability for the things you leave in the room safe, but they will for items left in the hotel safe. You can consider leaving things in your your suitcase and locking it up, too. Should you lose your key or entry card, report it immediately and ask for a new room just in case it was stolen.
Your hotel stay is unlikely to put your security in jeopardy, but taking simple precautions to stay safe can alleviate your travel anxiety and allow you to fully enjoy your stay. Remember that you’re paying for a service: if you have any concerns, report them to hotel staff immediately. They’ll be happy to put your mind at rest and provide anything they can to help you feel more secure.