I’ve been writing about hotels a lot lately and I keep getting more tips from readers and colleagues. After I posted this piece, with three reasons to always get two hotel room keys on LinkedIn, a friend and fellow travel writer who resides in Australia left a comment that reminded me of a similar trick I do, too. RELATED: The Truth About Hotel Room Key Cards

Amanda Woods wrote: “Ah, hotel keys … it’s been a while since I’ve needed one! But I also always get two, but my reason is different. As a solo female traveller, I like anyone listening to the conversation [at the front desk] to think I’ve got someone staying with me. I can often be heard talking to empty hotel rooms as I leave and enter for the same reason.”

I replied: “Smart! I do this almost every time I leave the room so no one tries to steal anything.” Almost every time I leave my hotel room, including when I’m with my wife and kids, I put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door and say out loud, “We’re just going out for a little while. See you shortly when we get back!”

The first time I did it, my wife looked at me and said, “Who the heck are you talking to” so that really threw the housekeeper in the hallway for a loop.

Another tip, which is somewhat related, is from a young woman I read about, who woke up in the middle of the night to someone trying to break into her room even after she screamed. She was by herself, but she was taught by her father, who’s a police officer, to always pretend that someone else is with her. So she yelled out, “Dad, wake up! Someone is trying to break into the room!” Thankfully, the person (or people) fled.

Bottom line: Whether you’re traveling solo or even with your family, creating the impression that you’re not alone or that there are more people in your party can help deter would-be thieves and others who might be looking to take advantage of a situation. Here are some more hotel safety tips from a former CIA officer and FBI agent.

The Grossest Thing in Your Hotel Room Isn’t What You Think … And Might Even Be Dirtier Than the Toilet
My Terrifying Hotel Fire Experience and What I Learned from It
This Portable Safe Helps Keep Your Valuables Safe
How Much to Tip Housekeeping & Make Sure They Get It
Think Before Leaving Your Toothbrush out in Your Hotel Room
Why You Should Always Lock The Deadbolt While In A Hotel Room

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4 Comments On "This Simple Trick You’ve Probably Never Thought of Can Help to Keep You (And Your Stuff) Safe"
  1. Pat|

    When traveling solo I book the room for two people and leave the TV on so people think someone is in the room. As for the two room keys: be careful to take both with you when you go out. My stuff was stolen from my room — and when the hotel checked, the only keys that had opened the door that day were mine (I was careless about leaving keys lying around the room; anybody could have picked up one in the days prior)

  2. Martin Ceruti|

    It should be “break” not “breaking”.
    “who woke up in the middle of the night to someone trying to breaking into her room even after she screamed”.

  3. Judy613|

    Some of the tips work just as well when you’re at home and not travelling. I will keep the tip about the young woman alone in her hotel room room in mind. I always try to give the impression that I’m not alone. Here’s a tip for when you are at home, and receive a call for Mr. so and so. As I am a single female, I reply with ….. Who can I tell him is calling? -or- He’s unavailable right now, may I take a message? That does the job.

  4. David Wank|

    When I travel I leave the TV or radio on (unless we need cleaning service or if I know the hotel is going to leave a nice warm cookie) and the do not disturb sign on the door.

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