When preparing to travel or holiday abroad it’s part of the fun to spend hours browsing the web before you book. Who doesn’t love soaking up amazing images and glowing reviews of your destination? In all the excitement it’s important not to forget the boring bits though. Allocate some time for researching safety and getting yourself good insurance cover.
For experienced travelers this comes as second nature, however recent surveys highlight one commonly missed area: hotel safety. Increasingly, travelers are choosing their hotel on the basis of affordability and location. A recent study found that 67% of those surveyed prefer to spend more on their experience than on a nicer room.
Pictures and reviews help a great deal but leave much to the unknown. Important information like how secure the building is and what the crime statistics for that area are remain largely unpublished. This leaves a lot to chance and – with the average UK traveler’s suitcase contents being worth nearly £3000 – a lot to lose. Purchasing adequate travel insurance ensures you’ll cover yourself against theft, but not everything is easily replaceable.
As technology progresses, many hotels have already replaced traditional keys with magnetic swipe cards as the door’s single locking mechanism. Unfortunately, crime also progresses with criminals forging copies or ‘clones’ of those cards. They’ll even make universal cards that open every door in the hotel. It’s obvious that one of these in the wrong hands could spell disaster for your trip.
Hotels make for ideal crime hot spots since occupants are more likely to become relaxed and off-guard. Estimations suggest big-city hotels will suffer a crime every day. Even more worrying are the number of thefts reported from a locked room with the occupant bathing or asleep. Upgrading to a suite with a spa or luxury shower might mean spending more time unaware should the door open. It only takes moments for your suitcase to be relieved of an iPad and expensive camera. If possible, use the deadbolt or chain and pick up a portable door safety device like DoorJammer. It’s simple, but doing so will prevent the use of cloned keys to access your room.
Luckily it’s not all doom and gloom – it’s well known that a huge proportion of crime is opportunistic and therefore preventable. Encouraging a potential thief to move on can be as simple as hanging a ‘do not disturb’ sign and using the room safe. Make sure to store passports and valuables securely in there and not simply out of sight.
One commonly employed tactic involves the thief dressing as a holidaymaker – for instance in swimwear. They simply walk right into a room which staff have opened to clean or service. Pretending to have forgotten something, they look around and brazenly grab any valuables lying in sight while the service personnel wait unaware.
Fear not because security experts explain there’s often a simple way to avoid this: request a room above the second floor if possible. It could be less likely for opportunistic thieves to venture up that high.