Someone pretends to be you, pretends to have forgotten his room key and looks at the cleaning lady sweetly to come in. Voilà, the hotel thief has free play. Half of all incidents in hotels are related to burglary or theft. Fortunately, there are ways to outsmart a hotel thief.
1. Read in
You’re about to book a hotel. But have you actually looked where it is? Are there busy attractions nearby? Is the hotel in a business district? Or does the neighborhood look seedy? It doesn’t hurt to look on Google Maps or Google Earth in advance to get a superficial idea of what the area looks like. Or better yet: scroll through the reviews on TripAdvisor or similar sites. If the hotel is in a ‘wrong’ neighborhood, you’ll know quickly.
2. Choose a floor
Sometimes you can choose which room you book. In that case, opt for a room on the second floor or higher. So you don’t have to worry about someone walking up your patio or climbing up balcony to force your outside door or window. Try, if you can, avoid being placed in a room on the ground floor and on the outside. You’ll go out with a more comfortable heart when you know your room can’t be reached from the outside. Are you even placed on the ground floor? Of course, make sure you double check your exterior doors and windows.
3. Read the fine print
Honestly, do you read the fine print when you book a room? Maybe do it next time, because this print shows what the hotel does and does not reimburse in the event of theft. Normally, guests’ properties are not insured, but it doesn’t hurt to read it.
4. Close your suitcase
It makes so logical, and yet it is often forgotten: a lock to close your luggage with. It might take a little effort to unpack your clothes and replace your most valuable stuff – a laptop, a camera, a phone, a passport – before you leave your room, but at least you’re sure no one can get there. If you want to go even further, you can buy a safety cable, a cable lock that allows you to close your suitcase and attach it to an item in the room.
5. Shut down your laptop
Did you know that special safety cables are available for your laptop? The principle is the same as a cable for your suitcase; you secure your laptop and attach it to a heavy object through the cable.
6. Pretend to be home
If you pretend to be home, you scare off hotel thieves. You can already do this by, for example, leaving a light or television on at a soft volume. Does it really work? You wouldn’t break in when someone was “home” either?
7. Ask for new keys
If your room has an electronic lock, you always get a set (or more keys). What if you lose one… Ask the front desk for a new one. A new one, not duplicate! This ensures that your door lock is reset and so no one can come in with the old card.
8. Don’t hang the disturbing sign
Most hotels work with a system of hangers. Unfortunately, this is not always safe. Think about it; Hanging a pendant with “change my room” immediately reveals that you’re not home. So do this only if your room needs to be changed and you’re not gone too long. If your room doesn’t need to be cleaned, you can’t hang the ‘don’t disturb’ pendant on the latch.
9. Be careful with your safe
Most hotel rooms are equipped with a hotel vault. But that doesn’t mean your stuff is completely safe. After all, management has a runner or code that allows them to get into any safe. And if the management can, a hotel thief can do it too. We don’t assume that these kinds of Action Movie Scenes occur regularly, but you never know.
10. Something was stolen. What next?
Turn on security or management immediately. They’ll ask you to fill out papers and then decide if they call the police. If so, consider even more paperwork. Don’t expect the hotel to cover you with damage; they are only obliged to help you find and cannot be held responsible. If there is an electronic lock on your door, you can ask if the lock can be read out. That might find out if someone’s been in your room. All small pieces of information help