Guest Author - Christine Wilcox
When you book a hotel during your solo travel, you do have options when it comes to the room. In only rare instances will you have to take what they give you. Make the right requests and you can take steps to ensure a safe trip.
There are two types of hotels - one where the doors are all enclosed in hallways and one where the doors are all outside. The safest hotels are enclosed with the doors in the hallways, so take that into consideration when you're booking.
In either type of hotel, the safest rooms are ones that require people to walk past the front desk to get to yours - and that also means ones that are off the ground floor. Always ask for a room on the second floor or up at hotels that have several floors. If you're staying at a hotel where all the doors are on the exterior of the hotel, ask for a room that's on the second floor looking out over the lobby or a main traffic area. If you have to hunt for the room because it's tucked away in a back corner, ask to be relocated.
Near the Exits
Your room should be close to an exit - preferably stairs - because in the event of an emergency, you can get out quickly. As soon as you drop your bags off to your room, take a quick walk to the closest exit and follow a route out of the hotel. If you have a rental car, take your keys with you on the jaunt. If your car is not already parked nearest to the exit that you're near to, move it.
First, you need to know that your cell phone can reprogram a key card. Keep them separate, or you may be making a trip back to the desk at odd hours to get a new key. Second, hotel key cards do not hold any personal information, so you don't need to take them with you and shred them after you've checked out. Leave them behind to help the hotel reduce its operating costs. Third, hotels will normally automatically give you two key cards. Take one and put it in a safe place in your purse or separate part of your wallet. Don't keep both keys together. Also, if you think that someone may have stolen one of your keys, don't go straight back to your room. Notify the front desk and have Security accompany you to your room.
Happy Hour Attendance
Some hotels do have a reception hour. Attend if you like - but be smart about it. Wear pants with pockets, slip your key card into the most secure trouser pocket, and put your license and cash in a separate location. If someone strikes up a conversation with you, don't reveal your room number. If someone follows you to the elevator when you're leaving, you can always step back when the elevator doors open and take another route or wait for a solo elevator. If you're uncomfortable with someone who is on your elevator, don't get off at your floor. You can always go back to the ground floor on the pretext of forgetting to pick up something at the desk.
Be smart, be safe, and you can have a safe hotel stay!