We all know to lock the door and use the hotel safe, but there are some sneakier tricks that will help stop you from being an easy target for thieves. From creating your own warning system to turning down the phone in your room, find out how to stay safe in your hotel room, according to The Lonely Planet Book of Everything. Before you go:
– Make a list of your valuables, including models and serial numbers, and take photos of them. Leave a copy of this at home – you don’t want your list to get stolen.
– Consider insuring your valuables.
– In case you are robbed, it’s a good idea to have copies of all your important documents (air tickets, passport, visas etc); keep one set in a separate spot to the originals, and give another copy to someone at home.
– When choosing your room, make sure the entrance is well lit. You may want to check if the hotel has security cameras. Remember, travellers make great targets for thieves, you don’t yet know your way around, or even who should be around.
– Leave the lights on. You could leave the TV or the radio on too.
– Close the blinds so no one can see what’s inside or if anyone is there.
– Don’t forget to lock the doors and close the windows – and the balcony door if you’re lucky enough to have a balcony.
– If there’s a telephone in the room, turn down the ringer so that no one can hear it ring out.
– Pack your belongings back into your suitcase before you leave your room; lock it if you have a lock. If someone enters your room and there’s nothing on display they may not bother to look for anything. It’s an obstacle, at least.
– Don’t return your key to the front desk on leaving your hotel if the key and room number will be hanging behind the desk, visible to everyone, and announcing that you’re not in there.
– Protect your valuables. Don’t leave any cash, jewellery or your passport in your room. If you must, then make it hard for them to be found – don’t leave them out in the open. Thieves will want to get in and out quickly.
– If the hotel has a safe, consider putting your valuables in it.
– If you need to leave your valuables, consider hiding them by using tape to fasten them to the underside of a wardrobe or another piece of furniture.
– If you see anyone suspicious, let reception know.
– Keep the door locked at all times when you’re inside.
– If someone knocks on your door and you don’t know who it is, don’t open it.
– Place a wedge under the door or a chair under the handle or something against the door, so that if someone tries to open it while you’re asleep you will know.
– You could even make your own alarm system; stack several glasses (or other objects that will make a noise) next to the door. If the door opens the objects will fall over and make enough noise to wake you. Don’t forget to test your system.
– When you’re sleeping, separate your cash and credit cards/ATM cards and put them in a few different locations.
– Get out of your room; the thief might still be in there!
– Call hotel security and the police.
Note: This extract is adapted from The Lonely Planet Book of Everything by Nigel Holmes, © Lonely Planet 2012. In stores now, RRP: $29.99