Tuesday, January 15, 2013

On the Road: Hotel Safety Concerns

Since I travel alone, I do feel vulnerable at times, so I take several steps to make sure I feel safer in hotels. First, I try to plan to arrive at the hotel during daylight, so I can see what the surrounding area is like. If I do arrive after dark, I still assess the properties around the hotel and park as close to the entrance as possible. On one trip I had decided ahead of time where I would stay, but when I arrived, I noticed the area was not well lit and the hotel was the only one in an industrial type area. I left because I felt very uncomfortable.

I decide ahead of time what luggage I want to bring inside the hotel, so those bags have been conveniently placed in the back seat of the car. By making that decision while I am packing the car, I do not have to take time trying to determine what I am going to take inside while I am standing in the parking lot. I never open the trunk because nothing it contains is going inside the hotel. I do not want to be in a situation where someone can sneak up behind me in a parking lot while I am distracted. Any valuable item is packed in one of the bags on the back seat and is brought inside the hotel room with me.

Luggage and other items that are visible through car windows draw attention to a car while it is in a parking lot. I always notice a fully packed car in a hotel lot. Usually I wonder how the person was able to fit all those items into the vehicle. Then I wonder how attractive a target the car would be for thieves. I never notice empty cars. At the hotel I remove all items from my car that are visible and that can really be a pain when I am tired. I do not want someone breaking my car windows to try to get a cd, change or whatever. That would create a bigger problem for me. Since I always carry large soft cloth grocery bags, I can throw small items in them and easily carry everything inside the hotel.

During the recession many cities had to cut back on their number of police officers. I have heard many stories on my travels of how hotel parking lots are not patrolled the way they used to be in the past. The number of car break-ins has risen, so that is a good reason not to leave anything visible in the car.

Another consideration for me is to choose only hotels with interior corridors. That gives me an extra sense of security. Once securely inside my room, I use a large rubber doorstop as an extra safety measure to prevent anyone from getting in my door. It really works!!

(Photo taken in 2011)
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