How to Protect Your Information at a Hotel

August 26, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s the same words we hear from friends and loved ones whenever we’re headed out on yet another trip.

Lobby of the Novotel Nathan Road Kowloon Hong Kong hotel“Be safe,” they advise. “Have a safe flight.”

What about once we arrive at our destination? There’s a lot we can and should do to keep ourselves safe once we arrive at our hotel.

Anthony Melchiorri, host of the Travel Channel’s “Hotel Impossible,”shared with Business Insider magazine a list of things to do to be safe and keep your personal information secure while on the road. We thought they were worth passing along.

  • Look for hotels with restricted access to guest floors, allowing only those with room keys the ability to get beyond the lobby. We see more of these in international hotels, but some of the higher-end business hotels may offer it as well.
  • Don’t use your first name. This is particularly helpful if you are a woman traveling alone. Use only a first initial to obscure your gender, or “Mrs.” to imply you’re traveling with someone.
  • Ask for a room change once you arrive. Changing rooms eliminates the chance someone was able to get your room number information before you checked in. (This is not very hard to do, as NBC’s “Today” show was able to demonstrate.)
  • Call the front desk from your cell phone and see how they respond when you ask to be connected with yourself. If they supply the room number, your privacy is not secure. They should say, “Let me connect you.”
  • Use the “do not disturb/privacy please” sign to make it appear the room is occupied even when you’re not there. You might even consider leaving the television or the radio on to simulate conversation.
  • Avoid staying on the ground floor. Again, this speaks to room security. It’s easier to access the first floor than it is other floors in a hotel if robbery is a thief’s intent. But don’t go above the third floor, because rescue equipment may not be able to easily go that high.
  • If filling out any forms for in-house services such as room service or laundry, do not use your name on the form.
  • Before you let someone into your room who claims to work for the hotel, call down to the front desk to confirm the person is an employee.
  • If you’re unfamiliar with the area surrounding a hotel you’re considering, read online reviews and search specifically for comments regarding safety concerns and neighborhood conditions.
  • Cover the peephole of your room so that no one walking down the hall is able to get a glimpse of your room.

Do you take any special precautions when checking into your hotel? Tell us about it in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Novotel Nathan Road Kowloon Hong Kong (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)

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