I am fond of the phrase "safety is no accident". It reminds me that safety doesn't just happen, but rather it is the result of daily diligence and practice. In our every day lives we have our trusty deadbolts, guard dogs, motion activated lights and in some cases firearms to keep us safe
When we travel, we don't have the luxury of these defenses, but rather we depend on the security of the places in which we stay. For me, this means depending on the safety precautions of hotels of various quality. Sadly, the security at hotels often leaves much to be desired, so I'm always on the look out for ways to make my stay a safer one.
Today, I'd like to discuss two safety issues that I've run across recently. I've also created videos of these problems which clearly illustrate them.
I've mentioned faulty hotel doors once before in Hotel Room Rituals, but it is worth repeating. When you check into a room, you should always check to make sure that the door latches and locks on its own when released from being open wide enough for a person to pass through. If the door doesn't latch, then an overworked housekeeper could inadvertently leave your door ajar for the better part of the day.
This happened to me once and, being slightly paranoid, I threw out my toothbrush and my razor because there's no knowing who might have been in my room. I notified the front desk and they moved me into a room with a properly functioning lock. As a result I ended up sharing an elevator with Dee Snyder, but that's another story all together.
Since then I've always checked my door to make sure that it latches on its own. How can you tell if it isn't latching? Watch the video and you'll see exactly what I mean. I've seen this problem repaired before and it's a simple matter of loosening a couple of screws on the hinge, but it's best to let the maintenance staff deal with this.
Room Number on Card Keys
When you check into a hotel, it is a common practice for the check-in person to slide your keys into a paper envelope and write your room number on said envelope. The number isn't on the card so if you lose it, you probably won't have some serial killer waiting for you in your room when you return for the day.
The problem is that most of the envelopes are very thin and the pressure used to write down the room number with a ball point pen is usually enough to lightly scratch the room key with your number. Every time I see someone do this to my keys, I ask them to issue a new card that doesn't have my room number scratched on it. The problem is easily avoidable by using a pen that does not require as much force to write such as a felt tipped pen.
In an ideal world hotel staffers would realize that this is a problem and change their behavior. Unfortunately, ball point pens are ubiquitous in a hotel, so there is little hope of triggering a systemic change.
Remember, safety doesn't just happen. Be aware of what's going on and you too can be a safer traveler.
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