No matter where you’re traveling or why you are traveling, chances are that a hotel will serve as your home away from home while you are on the road. Hoteliers go to great lengths to make sure that during your stay with them you feel like you are in your own personal space, like you are “home”. But while your hotel may make you feel like you are home, the reality is that a hotel is actually an unfamiliar space to you, so it is important for you to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings when staying at a hotel. To help ensure that your hotel stay is as safe and healthy as possible consider these few tips;
1 – Know the location of the emergency exits: If an emergency should occur, especially in the middle of the night or in a situation where visibility is reduced, it is very important that you know where the emergency exits are located. Most hotels will have an emergency escape plan detailed on the back of your room door and referring to this can help you to become more familiar with the location of emergency exits.
- As soon as you get into your room, take a picture of the emergency escape plan sign with your phone so that you can quickly refer to it in an emergency.
- Also, count the doors from your room to the emergency stairwell. Again, if visibility is reduced, this may be the only reliable way to find your way to the emergency exit.
- While it is common knowledge it still needs to be said. In the case of a fire never use elevators. Because you may need to avoid elevators if there is a fire, knowing the location of the nearest emergency exits can be even more important.
2 – Know the hotel’s gathering location for inclement weather: While rare, inclement weather can occur, even on vacation. Maybe we should even say especially on vacation depending on when and where you are vacationing. Most hotels will have a specific gathering location for guests to collect in case of inclement weather. If you are unsure of where this area is, contact the front desk and ask.
3 – Before you kick off your shoes, loosen you collar and relax, give your room a QUICK ONCE OVER: Most hotel rooms are outwardly nice and clean when you check-in. If yours is not however you should seriously consider changing hotels ASAP. But while most hotels are outwardly nice and clean when checking in there are still some hidden health hazards that you should consider before you truly settle in and unwind.
- Ditch that bedspread: Consider this disgusting but true little fact. Most hotels do not wash or even change the bedspreads on the beds between visitors. Unlike the sheets and other bedding which is washed and changed between visitors, bedspreads are only washed a few times every year. This means that hotel bedspreads are often covered in all of that stuff that gets deposited on bedding from people like dead skin cells, saliva, mucus, semen, blood and germs. So while the bedspread may be nice and fluffy and oh so inviting after a long day(s) travel, it probably is harboring TONS of germs, fluids and dead skin cells and those aren’t souvenirs you want to take home with you. So take that disgusting bedspread OFF of the bed and don’t look back!
- Clean the light switches. In fact consider wiping down any areas that frequently comes into contact with people’s hands Take out the antibacterial wipes and give those surfaces a good once over: While we would certainly hope that all hotels clean their rooms before welcoming new guests the reality is that any facility that is used by multiple people in rapid succession is bound to have germs lurking around each and every corner. So break out those antibacterial wipes and clean the bathroom sink, the bathroom faucet handles and toilet. Most germs are going to be lurking in the bathroom for obvious reasons and taking a moment to clean these germ havens, to clean these festering microbe repositories, will go a long way towards helping to prevent illness while on vacation. Also wipe down the telephone, the TV remote controls, the TV panels and all of the.
- Wash any non-disposable drinking glasses in the room. The non-disposable drinking glasses frequently are not washed between guests making them obvious potential sources of germs.
- Wash the coffee maker. Much like the non-disposable glasses, the coffee maker is not frequently washed between guests.
4 – Always think safety both while inside of your hotel room and while you are out and about. In many countries tourists are also potential targets for crime so….
- Park as close to the entrance of any building that you will be entering as possible. As much as you may want to forget the world’s problems while you are on vacation, the reality is that sometime the world’s problems don’t want to forget you. By parking close to the front door of any building you will be entering you not only decrease the amount of time you will spend walking from your car to the building but you also help to ensure that you are more visible to people inside of the building while walking from your car to the entrance.
- Keep your hotel room apart from the key envelope: Most hotel room keys are relatively nondescript in and of themselves, but most hotel room key envelopes frequently have not only the hotel name on the front but also the room number assigned to the key. Keep your room number in your cell phone if you cannot remember it or if you think that you may misplace your envelope but keeping your room key and key envelope separate will prevent anyone who might find your key from having too much information about what hotel/room the key belongs to. If do you lose your key, regardless of the situation, report the key lost to your hotel’s front desk ASAP so that a new key can be issued and the lock code changed.
- Mama always told us to never open the door to strangers and while in a hotel this is certainly good advice. When in your hotel room make sure to lock your door and to engage your deadbolt or security chain and do not open your room door for any strangers, even if they claim to be hotel staff unless they present a hotel ID or name badge.
- Always have a buddy around anytime that you use the hotel pool or fitness facilities. While it is always a great idea to stay fit while traveling, it is always best to use the gym and/or the pool when someone else is also present as well. Our bodies can respond oddly to travel sometimes and the fatigue that results from crossing multiple time zones combined with the strenuous activity of exercising or swimming can compound the effects of travel and put us at increased risk for exercise related injury or drowning. Having a workout buddy around however can help to lessen these risks.
5 – Leave the damn minibar alone! The only things you want to bring back from your epic adventure are great memories, cool souvenirs, nice pictures and maybe a great tan. What you do NOT want to bring back are ten extra pounds of flesh and a devastatingly empty wallet. So while we are all very tempted by Mr. Minibar to just throw caution to the wind and to eat our body weights in food every day while traveling, don’t! Traveling is suppose to be about discovery, de-stressing and refueling your body and when it comes to keeping your body healthy, the minibar is the devil. Not only will the minibar fill your body with a massive amount of empty calories, it will also quickly empty your wallet. So find the nearest big box store and get some healthy snacks to keep in the room with you just in case temptation strikes. So remember traveling is about pampering your mind and your body and not about tampering with the overpriced minibar!