En español | Following the hotel bombings in Pakistan, Mumbai in India and Indonesia in recent years, many international travelers fear that their lodging could be targeted by terrorists.
Hotels are especially difficult to protect. Large, urban hotels make good targets, what with many entrances, vehicles parked nearby and uninspected luggage all over the lobby. Unknown people come in at all times, and underground garages are also unsecured.
How do you know the hotel you're checking into is safe — not just from the threat of a bomb or a terrorist attack, but from fire, burglary, theft, rape and worse? These guidelines can help ensure safe and secure travel.
Before you go, let our government know
Before traveling abroad, visit the U.S. State Department's website for general travel information, as well as travel warnings and alerts to find out if your destination is a potential trouble area.
If your destination is listed as dangerous or unstable, register with the U.S. embassy or consulate so they'll know when you are there.
There is a listing of U.S. embassies, consulates and diplomatic mission websites at http://www.usembassy.gov/.
Check them out before you check in
Ask the following questions when making your hotel reservations or follow these tips.
- What are the hotel's security procedures?
- Do rooms have deadbolt locks?
- Do doors have one-way peepholes?
- Does the hotel have cameras and manned security 24/7?
- Does the hotel have a barrier that prevents vehicles from driving up to the front door?
- Does the hotel limit access, especially at night?
- Are all entrance doors locked, other than the main lobby?
- Choose a hotel that has a concierge desk or guest check-in near the elevators so nonguests can't walk in and enter the elevators unnoticed.
- Try to get a room near the elevator on a midlevel floor that faces away from the main entrance — high enough and far enough to be safe from a street-level bomb blast.
- Try to stay at midlevel American hotel chains. They don't attract as much attention as high-end hotels, so they're not as likely a terrorist target. American chain hotels are required to do background checks on their employees. These hotels usually have more modern — i.e., safer — electronic door locks instead of keys that are often used in older foreign hotels.