Monday, February 15, 2010

Top 10 Helpful travelers tips from the American Hotel and Lodging Association

I'm very into the Olympics right now, so I'm phoning this one in.

When you travel if you are observant, you can get this little pamphlet (printed on 30% post consumer fiber) that will tell you the American Hotel and Lodging Association's traveler safety tips.  I didn't even know there was a Hotel and Lodging Association until my last trip. So I checked it out.  Canadians have one, so does Argentina as well as Bulgaria.  In fact, there are so many associations of Hotels and Lodging that there is an International Association that seems to be the umbrella under which all other H&L associations operate.  The Godfathers if you will.

Apparently there are a lot of hazards on your road of travel be it for business or pleasure.  So to mitigate these pitfalls the following advice is given.

Note:  I don't know if these pieces of advice are regionally specific or not.  Please consult your local Hotel and Lodging Association for advice.

1.  Don't answer the door in a hotel or motel room without verifying who it is.  If a person claims to be an employee, call the front desk and ask if someone from their staff is supposed to have access to your room and for what purpose. - Wow, so staying in a Hotel room is an invitation for robbers to just knock on your door and rob you?!  Sheesh, that sounds pretty rough.  Well, there are enough documented cases of people having crimes committed against them with this scam so...I guess it's a good idea.  The only people I hear knock on the door is 'housekeeping'  It's like a little birdcall that tells me I'm out of town and sleeping in.  They have their own key anyway, so if they are coming in, I can't do much to stop them.

2.  When returning to your hotel or motel room late in the evening, use the main entrance of the hotel.  Be observant and look around before entering the parking lots.   -  Hotels have a back way in?!  I didn't know this.  I always go in the front way.  I've heard from movies and TV that the parking lot is a great place to get attacked though.  Never really thought about it.  Maybe they should put up a bunch of those fake cameras in all the parking lots.  At least until they can afford to get real cameras.  It doesn't really tell you what to do if you see some shifty individual skulking around the parking lot using his switch blade to clean his fingernails while he looks at you menacingly.  My guess is you should make loud noises and abrupt sweeping gestures to confuse him.

3.  Close the door securely whenever you are in your room and use all the locking devices provided.  - That door slams shut so fast behind you that normally you have to prop it open just to get your bags in.  The 'locking devices' they are alluding to is that little chain thing on the door.  or sometimes they have that bar lock that is better than the chain.  My guess is if they are coming in after you that little chain hasn't really stopped anyone.  Seems like in the movies, they just blow through that anyway.

4.  Don't needlessly display guest room keys in public or carelessly leave them on restaurant tables, at the swimming pool, or other places where they can be easily stolen. - Needlessly display?  Does anyone display their keycard as a trinket of status? "Hey guys, check out where I'm staying...awwww yeahhhhh, that's right, I'm at the Hampton!  That's RIGHT.  FREE Breakfast!  Check out the key card!'  Yup, no more show-boatin for me.

5. Do not draw attention to yourself by displaying large amounts of cash or expensive jewelry. - My dad was always breaking this rule.  He loved to show a lot of cash and pay for everything in cash.  I NEVER saw him with less than a grand in his pocket.  He always looked like he was ready to play Vegas.  He was the favorite target of pick pockets and there are at least 2 incidents I know of where he was picked.  He didn't like to talk about it so I suspect there were more.  But he didn't stop flashing the cash.  It was like it was a part of who he was.

6.  Don't invite strangers into your room - Well duh.  Don't talk to strangers either.  Don't take candy from them.  And whatever you do, don't let them take your picnic basket and eat your grandmother.  I'm not sure who would invite a stranger into their room, but I guess it bears repeating.

7. Place all valuables in the hotel or motels safe box - Wow, I dunno about this one.  I have a different tip.  No matter what you do, adjust the lock on your hotel room safe.  I've heard that sometimes the housekeeping will put your passports in the safe and lock them up and then after you have paid them a safe keeping fee, they will let you know what the combination is.  Viscous scam, I know.  So if you change the lock on the safe, then at least you are protected from them using YOUR safe.  The other ones in the hotel are of course a different matter

8. Check to see that any sliding glass doors or windows and any connecting room doors are locked - As a kid, I always like that 'other' door.  Who knows who was behind there?  It was this strange mystery door in our hotel room.  Mom and dad never checked it, I never did except as a kid to see if there was another room in our mini house.  Don't all of these doors auto lock?

9.  If you see any suspicious activity, please report your observations to the management - I'll bet they love this.  All these people suspiciously eyeing each other because they all look like they are from out of town.  Who knows what THEY are up to.  So what is management going to do?  check the name in case you wind up dead, then they have a suspect.  Nobody will rescue you, but they will point the finger on your behalf.

10.  Upon arrival please notify the Front Desk if you require special evacuation assistance in the event of an emergency - Yes, I would like to be escorted out FIRST!  I would like a bunch of your complimentary shampoo's and soaps as well. Thanks.

Sorry folks, They can't all be good ;)

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