More Hotel Safety Tips

If travelling overseas use hotels recommended by the corporate travel agency, where possible.


  • Make your own reservations when practical and consistent with company policies. (The fewer people who become involved in your travel and lodging arrangements, the better.)
  • If traveling abroad, especially in high threat areas, consider making reservations using your employer's street address, without identifying the company, and using your personal credit card. Again, the less known about your travel itinerary, and who you represent, the better.
  • If arriving in midafternoon, ensure that reservations are guaranteed.
  • Request information about hotel parking arrangements before renting an automobile.
  • Be aware that credit card information may be compromised by hotel, rental car, and restaurants. Always audit monthly credit card statements to ensure that unauthorized use has not been made of your account.
  • Join frequent travelers' programs. They are available with many lodging companies. These programs enable upgrades to executive or concierge floors where security is generally better.

Arriving At and Departing From the Hotel

  • The most vulnerable part of your journey is traveling between the point of debarkation and embarkation and the hotel. Disembark as close to a hotel entrance as possible and in a lighted area.
  • Before exiting the vehicle, ensure there are no suspicious persons or activities.
  • Do not linger or wander unnecessarily in the parking lot, indoor garage, or the public space around hotel.
  • Parking garages are difficult to secure. Avoid dimly lit garages that are not patrolled and do not have security telephones or intercoms.
  • Watch for distractions that may be staged to set up a pickpocket, luggage theft, or purse snatch.
  • Stay with your luggage until it is brought into the lobby or placed in your taxi. Use the bellman. Luggage in the "care, custody, and control" of the hotel causes the hotel to be liable for your property. Keep claim checks they are your evidence!
  • Due to hotel liability limits, personal travel documents, laptop computers, valuables, and sensitive documents should be hand carried and personally protected.
  • Valets should receive only the ignition key.
  • Women travelers should consider requesting an escort to their vehicles.


  • In some countries, your passport may be held by the hotel for review by the police or other authorities. If so, retrieve it at the earliest possible time.
  • Position luggage against your leg during registration, but place a briefcase or a purse on the desk or counter in front of you.
  • Request a room between the second and seventh floor. Most fire departments do not have the capability to rescue people above the seventh floor level with external rescue equipment (i.e., ladders).
  • Avoid low-level rooms with sliding glass doors and easy window access. Depending upon the situation, area, and security coverage, exercise a higher level of security if assigned a ground-level room.
  • Request rooms that are away from the elevator landing and stairwells. This is to avoid being caught by surprise by persons exiting the elevator with you or hiding in the stairwell.
  • Accept the bellman's assistance upon check-in. Allow the bellman to open the room's door, turn the lights on, and check the room to ensure that it is vacant and ready for your stay.
  • Inquire how guests are notified if there is an emergency. Find the nearest fire stairwell. Note the location of fire alarms, extinguishers, and hoses, and read any fire safety information available in your room.
  • Check outside your room window to ascertain if there is a possible escape route that would be feasible in an extreme emergency. Find the nearest house telephone in case of an emergency.
  • Note how hotel staff are uniformed and identified. Verify hotel employees with the front desk before permitting entry to your room.
  • While in the room, keep the door closed and engage the deadbolt and privacy latch or chain. A limited number of hotel emergency keys can override the deadbolt locks.
  • Guests should always place money or valuables in the safe deposit box at the front desk of the hotel. Guest room safes are not secure.

Stay only at hotels that have smoke detectors and/or sprinklers installed in all rooms and provide information about fire and safety procedures.

  • In Case of a Fire KEEP CALM DO NOT PANIC. Call the front desk and notify them of the location of the fire.
  • Check your door by placing your palm on the door and then on the door knob. If either feels hot, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR.
  • If it is safe to exit from your room, head for the stairs. TAKE YOUR ROOM KEY WITH YOU; YOU MAY HAVE TO RETURN TO YOUR ROOM.
  • If the corridor is full of smoke, crawl to the exit and again check the door before opening it to see if it is hot. The fire could be in the stairwell. DO NOT USE THE ELEVATOR!
  • If you cannot leave your room or the stairwells are unsafe and you must return to your room, notify the front desk that you are in your room awaiting rescue.
  • Open a window for fresh air. Do not break the window as you may need to close it again if smoke starts to enter from the outside.
  • Fill the tub and sink with water. Soak towels and blankets as necessary to block vents and openings around doors to keep the smoke and fumes out.
  • Attempt to keep the walls, doors, and towels covering vents and cracks cool and wet. A wet towel swung around the room will help clear the room of smoke.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a wet cloth. Stay low, but alert to any signs of rescue from the street or the halls.
  • Let the firefighters know where you are by waving a towel or sheet out the window.

Source:  Bureau of Diplomatic Security