Safety Tips for Travelers

Safety is always a concern for travelers, especially when traveling alone. Take a few extra precautions to protect yourself on the road by following these simple tips.

Prevent Identify Theft on the Road
The Identify Theft Resource Center reports that victims of identity theft spend an average of 330 hours resolving the crime. Stay safe while traveling by following these tips:

  • Don’t sign your full name on hotel charges
  • Keep your paper trail secure. A common identify theft scheme is to have hotel housekeeping staff take pictures of checks, deposit slips or credit card information. Travelers have no knowledge that their information has been stolen until it is too late.
  • Don’t give sensitive information such as credit card numbers, addresses, or phone numbers out when you are in a public place such as a train, plane, or airport.
  • Always leave a photocopy of credit cards and your passport at home.

Hotel Safety

5 Point Hotel Sweep
If you choose to not have a bellman escort you to your room, prop the door open with a bag while you inspect the room:

1. Ensure that the phone works. Even though we all have a mobile phone, it might be out of reach, out of battery or out of range in an emergency.
2. Check closets
3. Ensure that the windows and outside doors are secure
4. Scan the bathroom and shower
5. Look under the bed

Hotel Room Location

  • Look for mid-hallway rooms on the upper levels. Avoid rooms near heavy traffic areas such as near the bar or restaurant and rooms that provide for easy exit such as near elevators and stairs.
  • Feel empowered to change your room if you don’t feel safe. Getting a good night sleep and feeling fresh for your next business appointment is worth the effort.

Elevator Safety
Be alert when riding the elevator:

  • If someone joins you in an elevator without selecting a floor and seems to be waiting to see which floor you are going to, do not get off at your floor. Simply stay put and ride the elevator back down to the lobby.
  • If you are alone in the elevator and don’t feel comfortable with a new passenger, pretend you forgot something and quickly exit.

Going Out

  • When heading out alone, leave a note in your hotel room saying where you are going, what time you left and what you are wearing.
  • If you like to jog while away on business, carry ID with you (such as a dog tag attached to your running shoe) that shows your name and an emergency contact.
  • Enter an emergency contact number in your mobile stored under the entry ICE (In Case of Emergency). Police, fire and medical responders are trained to look for this.
  • Walk with a purpose – head high and shoulders back. Attackers are less likely to target confident pedestrians.
  • When leaving valuables in a hotel safe, place one of your shoes in the safe as a reminder to collect your items before checking out.
  • Always carry a small flashlight when on the road.

Car Safety

  • Snap a picture of where you parked to avoid walking around lost in parking garages
  • Don’t leave your rental car agreement in the vehicle. If the vehicle is broken into or stolen, the thief would obtain your contact information.
  • Avoid leaving your luggage in the rental car as (especially in Europe) rental cars are targets for thieves.
  • When taking a cab, keep your luggage next to you on the seat in case you need to make a quick exit.

Avoid Purse-snatchers and Pickpockets

  • Women avoid taking a purse if possible, or bring two purses or carry two purses- one visible purse with just a few dollars in it and another under a jacket.
  • Keep the zipper of your bag or purse facing forward so pickpockets cannot remove valuables from behind.

Know Your Exit Strategy

  • It’s easy to get complacent about air travel (especially for frequent travelers) but every time you fly, take a moment to count the rows to the nearest exit.
  • Know how to get out of your hotel room by counting the number of doors to the nearest exit.

Courtesy of Linda Ford
Travel Manager – Purdue University