As the hot summer approaches, many have the privilege to visit distant countries and experience different cultures. Here are some tips for you to return home without negative hotel experiences. These suggestions can be implemented anywhere, but mostly destined for solo female travellers in third world countries:

  • At check-in, request first or second floor rooms, unless second floor is already too high for jumping out the window. Ground floor is avoidable due to possible intrusion through window and/or possible terrorist attack in the lobby. Higher floors make it impossible to escape when needed (e.g. fire in the building).
  • Take copies of your personal documents with you and keep the original ones in a safe. If room safe is not satisfactory, ask reception to keep your documents in the hotel safe.
  • Upon arrival to your room, map up the corridor layout, emergency exit and staircase – in case of fire and heavy smoke those seconds could be lifesavers. Walk it, don’t only rely on the fire escape plans. In third world countries emergency exits are not always well marked.
  • While in your room, place the do-not-disturb sign on your door, lock it and place the security chain on it. If you are a security conscious person and carry a plastic doorstop with you, use it. Do not open to anyone you don’t know, let it be another guest or hotel employee. Check the peephole always. If hotel employee wants you to open the door (e.g. management sent some refreshments), don’t do it, tell him to wait, call reception and only open if it is confirmed, otherwise ask them to send security.
  • In case of hotel fire, if possible, leave the building. In case it is not possible, stay in your room and map up your options. When smoke starts to get under the door, place wet towel to seal the space. Remember, crawling or lying on the floor in a smoke-covered corridor or room gives you more chance to breathe. Head for the emergency exit. Jumping out the window is always an option if height is not deadly.
  • In case of an active shooter situation or a terrorist attack, stay in your room. Don’t make noise; try to contact authorities or your embassy over the phone. If necessary, blockade your door with furniture. Contemplate escaping through window if it is necessary and safe.
  • If you want to use a taxi, do not get one on the street, but ask hotel reception to call you one, they tend to be more secure.
  • When leaving the hotel, leave the front door with confidence, like you know where you are going. Don’t appear to be lost. It makes you a target. Blend in.

Naturally, this list can be much longer and it cannot guarantee full safety, but it can reduce chances of an incident happening.

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