Family travel security plan is needed to safeguard young children.
- You’re sharing public places with potentially violent criminals.
- Children should not wander the hotel grounds unsupervised.
- Family travel security plan makes hotel selection safer?
Family Travel Security: Planning is Complicated
Our family is at the center of our personal universe. Most people would do almost anything for the sake of their families.
That includes protecting them from known dangers and harm while lodging at hotels or motels. This becomes increasingly difficult, at times, because we live in an open society where we share the same public places as violent criminals like at hotels and motels.
Family Travel Security Plan
Whenever your family travels together, think of ways to make them safer from the violent people in the world. The best way to accomplish this is to hold a family meeting to discuss this plan and play what-if using different scenarios.
- What if we need to stay overnight in a hotel?
- What steps should we take to make the process safer?
- What if we want to go to the swimming pool or gym?
- What precautions can we take to be safer in the parking lot?
- What if someone approaches to rob us while walking to our car on the street at night? What would we do and how would we react?
- Where would we go and who would we notify in case of an emergency?
Most people have no such family travel security plan and have not met to discuss what-if situations.
- When or if a criminal assault does occur, will your family be prepared?
- Without a plan or training, they’ll have to rely on gut instinct in response to the incident.
- What if their response instincts are wrong or their reactions inappropriate?
- How can a child walk in an unfamiliar place and not get tricked into a car and kidnapped?
Family Travel Security – Hotels and Motels
When traveling on business or pleasure with your family, it may become necessary to stay overnight in a hotel or motel. Your hotel room becomes your home for the night and is your sanctuary while you sleep.
It is important to give some thought to what hotel or motel you select and what room you are willing to accept.
The cost of the hotel room is not always the best predictor of how safe the room or property will be.
There are a few rules of thumb that should apply to any hotel room you rent.
Family Travel Security – Room Location
- Always request a room on the upper floor, if possible.
- Ground floor rooms are more vulnerable to crime problems because of access and ease of escape.
- In a high-rise building, rooms above the fifth floor are usually safer than those below, again because of accessibility and ease of escape.
- Criminals do not want to be trapped on an upper floor inside a high-rise hotel.
- High-rise buildings usually have limited ground-level access points and are easier for the hotel staff to monitor who passes through the lobby after hours.
Family Travel Security – Room Security Features
- Hotel or motel rooms should be equipped with solid wood or a metal door for the best protection.
- Room doors should have a deadbolt lock with a one-inch throw bolt.
- If the lock looks worn or there are pry marks around the lock area, get another room or move to another hotel.
- The knob lock should be hotel-style where you can push a button or turn a lever on the inside to block out all keys.
- This feature is designed to prevent a former guest or housekeeper from entering the room once you are inside.
- Hotels with electronic card access have the advantage of being able to disable former key cards issued to other guests.
- The room door should have a wide-angle peephole so you can view who is at the door before opening it.
- Do not rely on door chains or swing bars to secure the doors when you peek out to speak to someone.
- Teach your children not to open the door to any hotel room without knowing the person on the other side.
- Make sure all windows and sliding doors are secured if they are accessible from the ground.
- It is a good idea to pull on all windows and glass doors to test if they are secure.
- Beware of balconies where someone can climb from one to another and enter through an open window or sliding door.
- If the windows or sliding doors are not securable, ask for another room or find another hotel.
Family Travel Security – Supervise Children
Children should not be allowed to wander the hotel grounds unsupervised. Everyone at a hotel is a stranger and it is difficult to discern who is a registered guest or who has criminal intentions.
Do not leave a child at the pool or gym unsupervised. These are prime targets for predators.
If you are a woman traveling alone or with small children, take advantage of car valet service, if available to avoid the parking lot.
- After checking in at the desk, ask the bellman or desk clerk to escort you to your room.
- After unlocking the room, quickly inspect the closets, under the bed, and bathroom including behind the shower curtain before the bellman leaves.
- When you find a suitable hotel that meets your standards and will cater to your needs, try to stick with it or with the same hotel chain.
Family Travel Security Planning Tips
- Always request a room on an upper floor, if possible
- A solid core or steel door with a good deadbolt lock is best
- Electronic card-access locks minimize key control questions
- Make sure your door has a peephole and night latch and use it
- Use your do not disturb sign whenever you are in the room
- Inspect the room hiding places upon entering and check all locks
- Supervise children at all times, especially at the pool or gym
- Ask the bellman for an escort and use valet parking, if alone
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