12 Things to Do As Soon As You Check Into a Hotel

The key to safe travel is staying aware at all times. This can be difficult when you factor in jet lag, unfamiliar languages, confusing surroundings, and all those little details you need to keep track of when you finally arrive at your destination. Breathe a little easier the next time you check into a hotel with these 12 tips for making your stay a little safer.

  1. Keep Luggage in Sight at All Times

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    Keep Luggage in Sight at All Times

    Don’t turn your back on your luggage, even for a second. If you have a lot of bags, ask a porter to help you bring everything to the front desk. Never allow a hotel employee to take your bags to your room without your accompanying him.

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  2. Be Overprotective with Personal Data

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    Be Overprotective with Personal Data at Hotel

    When you check in, don’t say your name or other identifying information too loudly. Remember, identity theft can happen during an overheard conversation. Instead, write down your name and booking number. Ask the concierge to write down, not call out, your floor and room number.

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  3. Think Ahead

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    Couple at Hotel Desk

    Ask for two hotel business cards—one for your room and one for your wallet. This way, you’ll always have the hotel's address in case you get lost or in the event of an emergency. You can also plug the hotel’s address into your phone’s maps app so it will pop up immediately.

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  4. Request a Better Floor

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    Request a Better Floor at Hotel

    Some floors are safer than others. For instance, the ground floor is more vulnerable to break-ins and pests, and the top floor takes longer to evacuate in case of emergency. If you discover upon check-in that your room is located at either of these extremes, ask to change floors.

    Related: Peek Inside the Most Expensive Hotels in America

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  5. Store Valuables Safely

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    Store Valuables Safely at Hotel

    According to TripAdvisor, room safes are not necessarily safe. Instead, ask at check-in if the hotel has an office vault where guest valuables can be stored. Always request a receipt, and keep a detailed inventory of all items you stored.

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  6. Check Door and Window Locks

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    Check Door and Window Locks at Hotel

    After you've entered your room, ask the valet to wait while you check the door and window locks to make sure they work. Also check the bathroom (including the tub/shower area) and closets to confirm that they are vacant and clean.

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  7. Ensure a Clean Night’s Sleep

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    Check Hotel Bedsheets

    While the valet is still with you, turn down the bed and check the linen. If the linens are not clean, the valet can witness this and report it to management. Take photos of anything you deem strange, including stains, mold, and missing amenities, and show the front desk immediately.

    Related: 10 Essential Tips to Avoid Bed Bugs When Traveling

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  8. Use a Door Wedge

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    Use a Door Wedge at Hotel

    A wedge placed under your locked door provides an added element of security. A door wedge is a relatively cheap, small thing to carry with you when you travel, but if you didn't bring one, check to see if your room has one, or even ask the front desk if they can provide one. 

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  9. Make Two Calls

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    Check the phone at the hotel

    Once the door is locked and you are safely in your room, test the phone. First, place a call to the front desk, and make sure you can reach an actual person. Next, place an outside call to ensure that you'll be able to reach personal contacts and emergency services, if necessary.

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  10. Prevent Accidents

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    Bring flashlight to the hotel

    It can be disorienting to be in an unfamiliar hotel room. If you need to get up in the middle of the night, you may find yourself fumbling to find the switch for the bedside lamp. It's better to travel with a bright LED flashlight to keep by the bed, so you'll always know how to turn on a light source quickly. This peace of mind is invaluable in an emergency. It's also a good idea to place a spare room key in the drawer next to the bed, so you'll always know where it is.

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  11. Make the Room Your Own

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    Get comfortable in the hotel room

    Spend a few minutes nesting. If you use drawers or closet space, make a note of what you place inside, or better yet, take photos. This way you won’t forget belongings when you depart. You will also have visual evidence if anything goes missing.

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  12. Get Oriented

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    Find escape route in the hotel

    Once you're ready to venture out of your room, walk the hallways to find the closest emergency exit and fire escape route. Before you explore the neighborhood, ask the concierge for the safest walking route of the surrounding area. Truly seasoned travelers know the lay of the land, both inside and outside the hotel.

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  13. See the House of the Week

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    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!