When traveling away from home most business and holiday travelers assume their hotel has a range of security measures in place to protect the safety of guests and their property.
No matter if a stay is in a five-star hotel resort or backpacker’s accommodation, there are always risks which require careful consideration and management. Travelers shouldn’t trust 'just anyone' when it comes to their personal security or that of their family and possessions. A hotel environment is no different. No matter where you stay it’s important to do your research beforehand.
Many hotel guests opt for the security and perceived comfort of booking a hotel where electronic security key systems are a feature. In years gone by this feature was one I looked for when weighing up which hotel to book for my solo travels. I like to feel safe and secure and night and after a long day exploring an area, I am generally 'dog tired' at the end of the day and sleep heavily.
However electronically controlled door systems offer little additional benefits to that of a tradition 'hard key' door locking system. A number of years ago a flaw was detected and heavily reported upon which raised concern over safety.
At the time, it was estimated more than 4 million hotel room doors could be breached as a 24 year old tech developer demonstrated how easily hotel doors using the Onity electronic key system could be disabled by using a device costing no more than USD$50.
In order to maximize traveler safety, I provide the reader with a range of options to minimize the risk most of us are exposed to during a hotel or resort stay, be it around the corner or around the world. When traveling, particularly overseas, people can become overwhelmed with the new environment, our minds and senses bombarded with new experiences coming at us from all angles.
Changes from our normal daily patterns including jet lag, tiredness coupled with a willingness to cram as many experiences as possible into our stay, can leave any individual feeling disorientated. As a consequence, our instincts and sensory acuity may be diverted into other areas, with little or no focus around our security and risk.
When staying in hotel rooms particularly, there are a number of specific points within the space where the security of ourselves and our possessions may be compromised. The first line of defense being the hotel room door. As a single female traveler safety and security remains a priority, especially when closing my eyes for the night. I use a number of products that are practical, compact and meet my needs when traveling.
Here are my top picks for any solo traveler.
When considering any travel security product, I find these are criteria that must be met before I hand over my hard earned cash.
I place a high value on products which are compact. I travel with carry-on luggage only which seriously impacts both the size and weight limits of my luggage. On average the weight limit is restricted to 7 kilograms for my economy class seat. While its challenging, especially when traveling for periods of up to 3 to 4 weeks at a time, it can be achieved with a little thought and pre-planning.
Products which are effective and are used frequently are practical by their very nature. They are well designed, fit for purpose solutions to meet any security need. There’s no point having a travel security product which is too heavy or cumbersome to travel with, rendering the product immediately redundant and destined for the trash.
As important as the compact nature of a product, so too is the weight for many of the same reasons. Luggage weight limits are strictly imposed by most carriers these days, so keeping an eye on the weight of all items destined for the suitcase can certainly add up very quickly, leaving barely enough room and weight for those gifts purchased for loved ones back home.
Products which can be multi-purposed score extra points in my book, the more adaptable a product is, the more benefits it can provide me with. This approach saves both time and money, proving to be a good overall investment.
Let’s face it travel can be expensive and as much as we try to budget there’s always extras or the odd emergency we had not anticipated. So being able to source a product which provides all the features I look for above at a good price, is a win-win.
It’s not uncommon for thefts to occur at night when guests have locked the door, believing they are safe. Guests often don’t realize their valuables have been stolen until they wake up and start searching for their phone, wallet, watch, laptop or other valuables. With no sign of a break in, it seems like a mystery.
It is important to know that at most types of accommodation many members of staff from cleaners, housekeepers, maintenance workers, receptionists, porters and managers all have access to keys.
In hotels, staff are issued a universal key to open every room. Additionally guests often don’t realize the universal master keys carried by many hotel staff override the deadlock put in place in the hotel room, so if you are asleep inside the room, having secured the deadlock, someone can still enter without authority.
Solo female travelers may often feel nervous when alone in their hotel room. Couples and families too should also consider possibility of their young children waking earlier than a parent and walking into the hotel corridor or onto the street?
Created in London by a concerned grandfather worried for his grandchildren when they begin to travel around the world. He wanted to create a solution to keep them 100% safe, no matter where they stayed. Even in the most respectable of hotels, bed and breakfast's and other types of holiday accommodation, rooms are broken into on a regular basis.
The EasyLock is a temporary door lock that’s lightweight, portable, incredibly strong and simple to use. With the EasyLock in place no one can enter the room even if they have a key or key card. The room can be secured wherever you stay, allowing the guest to remain in control of all who enter the room. The EasyLock also allows the user to open the door slightly to verify the identity of the person on the outside.
- Door must be inward opening.
- At least 2mm opening between door and frame.
Pros: Compact, lightweight, simple to use. No batteries required.
Cons: Two separate components are assembled to make the lock, which may become separated and lost.
Made from high impact plastic combined with a stainless-steel doorplate and rubber base strip for slippery floors, the Doorstopper can be fitted where any type of floor surface is used including tile, wood, linoleum and carpet. When lodged under the gap between the wall and floor should the door be opened, pressure is imposed on the metal plate to prevent the door from opening and once triggered, the inbuilt siren belts out 120 decibels until its manually reset.
There are three sensitivity settings which adjust to accommodate a preferred trigger pressure. The on/off switch is located on the rear of the doorstopper and it comes with a low battery indicator. The doorstopper is compact at only 5.9” (L) x 1.9” (W) x 2.3” (H), and weighing in at 4.69 ounces, making this product the number one choice when traveling. No installation or wiring is required and the unit is powered by one 9V battery.
- Door must be inward opening
Pros: Lightweight and compact weighing only 133 grams. 120 decibel siren with 3 sensitivity settings.
Cons: Requires 1 x 9v battery.
This product is a unique and innovative portable security device for anyone requiring privacy and security, on the move or at home. The unit is manufactured using composite steel and painted a fire engine red. Many security breaches can be avoided if doors are double locked, however many hotels do not always supply doors fitted with the additional security.
Easily fitted into position, the unit provides the added safety feature in that it's easily pulled away from the door in an instant, should the need to evacuate the room in a hurry occurs, such as in the event of fire. DoorJammer can be mounted on any type of surface including wood, tile, carpet, stone, linoleum and concrete and is versatile enough to be used on uneven or inclining surfaces without causing damage, due to the rubber foot pad and cushioned back mount. Should a door have a high mounting threshold, the unit comes with an additional neoprene extension foot.
- Door must be inward opening
Pros: Lightweight at only 11.2 ounces. Works well on carpets too. No batteries required.
Cons: Could be considered an expensive solution when compared with other options.
Doberman Security Portable Door Alarm With Flash Light
The Doberman portable door alarm can provide peace of mind either at home or away. If traveling for business or pleasure this product makes a great travel companion.
The alarm is easy to use and can be placed on almost any type of door or window. Simply hang the door alarm on the inside handle of any door, camper, boat or caravan. When an attempt is made to open the door from the outside the compact unit activates a piercing 95 decibel alarm which is designed to scare off any invader.
The unit also features a built-in flashlight for use in a darkened room for added convenience. It’s truly compact and portable design makes it a great choice for travelers, coupled with its ease of use, taking only a few seconds to set up. Extending from the main body of the unit which sits over the door handle, are two prongs which are fitted between the door and frame creating a circuit which once broken, triggers the alarm. At the bottom of the Portable Door Alarm there is a clip, pull the clip to remove two slim silver prongs, which are attached by a wire to the portable door alarm. The prongs are held together with a clear plastic cover.
- Works on any door with a handle including sliders and windows.
Pros: Batteries included. 95 decibel alarm built in. Compact with built in flash light.
Cons: So small, it may get lost. Wire is thin, connections break easily if not careful.
Travel Guard Portable Travel Motion Detector
The main feature of the unit is the inbuilt motion detector, sensing motion within a horizontal detection area of 30 degrees and when triggered activates the in-built 100 decibel alarm for a period of 15 seconds. The alarm can also be manually activated, so it doubles in its use as a personal alarm if needed.
To activate the alarm simply pull the metal tab located at the top of the unit to emit an attention-grabbing alarm sound. There’s a in-built bright white LED flashlight for use where lighting is limited. The unit can be placed on any stable surface, or alternatively mounted on a door handle using the rope style loop system.
The Motion Alarm is designed to alert the user to any threats on approach. The travel guard portable travel motion detector is small enough to keep on a keychain, or held comfortably in the hand making it a great addition to your security arsenal.
Can be mounted on almost any surface or door knob using the carry handle.
Pros: Weighs in at 4 ounces. Compact and easy to set and forget.
Cons: Batteries required: 3 x 1.5v button cell.