Guest writer: Jennifer Cassetta, clinical nutritionist, personal trainer and self-defense expert.
Whether you’re heading on spring break this month or you travel often for work, like me, chances are you’re spending a lot of time in hotels. Hotel safety is a hot topic, unfortunately, right now due to the Erin Andrews's story. Erin, a popular sportscaster, was recently awarded a $55 million settlement for a secretly recorded nude video of her taken at a hotel in 2008.
When staying in a hotel, one would assume, our safety would be of the upmost importance to the management of the hotel. In Erin’s case, this wasn’t true and they allowed a man to request a room next to Erin’s where he was then able to record her secretly. It made me think seriously about hotel safety in general and how we can’t assume our personal safety is being taken care of by someone else. We need to always be alert and be prepared. So here are some tips on spring break hotel safety:
The first thing I do when I get into my room is to check it out. Check in the closets, in the bathroom and make sure all is normal. You know the saying, if you see something, say something. I would add to that if you feel something may be off, say something. Is there a hole in the wall? Are there any belongings left in the room that shouldn’t be there? Where is the room in relation to the property? Does it feel safe? Is the room on the first floor? If so, I would always ask to stay on a higher floor.
Use your room safe to store your valuables and money. When heading out for the day, try and take as little cash as possible and store the rest in your safe. Just take out what you need per day.
Keep your room key on your body. If you’re heading to the bar or restaurant be sure to keep your room key in your purse or safely in your pockets. Do not leave it on top of the bar or on a table. Never tell anyone what floor you are staying in or your room number. Believe me, people will ask. Give as little personal information as possible.
Always be mindful when you are walking into or out of your room. If you see anyone else on the floor let them go to their room first before you enter your own room.
If you are an early riser, always keep alert on your way to the gym or outside for a jog. If you’re in an area you don’t know, always check in with the concierge to get the safest route in the neighborhood and find out what dangerous sections you want to avoid.
Let someone know where you are going and when you will return. This is equally important if you are traveling with people or alone. If you’re alone, be sure to tell someone at home where you are heading and I would also check in with the front desk or concierge. I will usually casually let someone on the hotel staff know that I am heading out for a run or to shop just so somebody knows where I am. If you are with a group, be sure someone knows when to expect you back.
Last but not least, I would bring the SABRE Dorm / Apartment Kit with you on your trip. I highly recommend this if you are staying in a low to mid-level hotel chain where security measures aren’t as high. The door alarm is an extra level of security that you stick in the door jam and an alarm will sound if someone tries to break in the room while you are sleeping. With this alarm, rest assured, you will have a good night’s sleep.