Airbnb and hotel safety and security tips for guests

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Travelling is generally a wonderful and enriching experience, but if you want to help ensure that you have the best time possible, it's important to take precautions.

Your accommodation is going to have a significant impact on how your adventure turns out, so it makes sense that you'll want it to be both well suited to your itinerary and a safe place to sleep at night. While most hotels and Airbnbs are generally secure enough, taking steps to improve your safety is never a bad idea. 

Check ratings and reviews

You should always check ratings and reviews before you book any type of accommodation. This is because any type of website or listing is going to do what it can to make the accommodation you're considering look like the best option available.

While there are laws in place that prevent hotels and Airbnbs from outright lying, that doesn't mean that every experience will be as picture-perfect as they'd have you believe.

By checking what guests have to say about the accommodation (and taking overly glowing ones with a grain of salt) you're far more likely to get an accurate idea of what your stay is going to be like, so you can make an informed decision.

Keep an eye on what's going on in the area

Another helpful safety tip is to keep an eye on what's happening in the area. This is important in general but things such as weather alerts, power grid issues and other significant events like disruptive protests should be particularly noted in this instance.

This is because they could impact the safety of where you're staying and should therefore be paid extra attention when deciding where to stay.

Ask any questions before booking

If you have any questions about your accommodation, it's important to ask them before  booking. This is true for both Airbnbs and hotels. As a general rule, it will probably be a little easier to get answers from the latter purely because you can simply call reception during staffed hours. You do, however, also have the option to contact hosts on Airbnb and this is a wise choice if you're at all unsure.

Use secure payment channels

No matter where you've decided to stay, making use of a secure payment gateway is vital. Unsecured methods or those that don't seem particularly trustworthy could see you end up having your card or accounts compromised which can really put a downer on your holiday.

If staying in an Airbnb, this means that paying through the platform is your safest and best option. You should never use any other payment method as this could lead to double charges or further issues.

With hotels, payment should always be made through either their direct website, at the front desk, or through a trusted booking site.

Check that smoke and other alarms are working

Smoke alarms save lives and they're just as important in holiday rentals as they are in homes. Unfortunately, because the Airbnb host probably isn't at their rental property anywhere near as often as they are at home, alarms can sometimes go flat between visits. By the same token, although hotels do their best to keep everything functioning, they're large places and sometimes things get missed.

For these reasons, you should always check that the smoke alarms and other safety features (such as carbon monoxide alarms) are working properly upon arrival.

Look around upon arrival

Speaking of things that should be done straight away, it's a good idea to have a look around where you're staying when you first arrive. This helps you familiarise yourself with the layout and also means that if there is someone or something untoward hiding within the house or room you'll know about it straight away.

It also means that in the event that anything happens where you need to exit the building quickly, you'll have a better chance of being able to do so, as you'll already have an idea of how to get out.

Ensure there aren't any cameras where they shouldn't be

Most hotels have cameras in the hallways, and it's not uncommon for Airbnb properties to have external cameras to help the owners keep an eye on things. In fact, as long as it's clearly stated, it's even permissible for there to be cameras in your room or within your Airbnb in some areas.

It is never acceptable (nor, in most countries, legal) for there to be cameras or other recording devices in places where privacy can be expected. In general this includes the bedroom and bathroom but may also cover other areas of the home. It's not common for this to happen, but it is certainly possible, so we suggest checking for cameras upon arrival so you can be sure that your privacy and safety are maintained in this regard.

Common hiding places include lamps, alarm clocks, radios and vents, but cameras can be stashed almost anywhere these days due to their small size, so be sure to have a proper look.

Keep the doors locked

No matter what you do with your doors at home, it's important to keep your doors locked at all times when staying in an Airbnb or hotel.

Hotel hallways all look the same and it can be very easy for someone to accidentally let themselves into your room instead of theirs - especially if they're not entirely sober. This type of innocent issue is less common with Airbnbs but it is still important to keep your doors locked to help prevent more serious ones.

We also suggest adding a portable lock for extra safety and peace of mind. These small devices are relatively cheap and easily accessible but can make a big difference when it comes to the security of your room.

Portable travel lock

Price is accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Take a portable safe or lock box

Speaking of portable security devices, it is also wise to bring your own portable safe or lock box when travelling in order to protect your valuables.

Although these devices can certainly be stolen more easily than a fixed safe within the hotel room or Airbnb, they provide enhanced security for the things within them, as you're the only one who knows how to get into them.

We suggest storing your portable safe or lock box in a secure part of the premises such as a provided safe or lockable cupboard.

Portable safe

Price is accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Follow general travel safety advice

Finally, although this one isn't specific to your accommodation, general travel safety advice should always be followed. No matter how safe your accommodation is, if the area isn't, you're not going to be secure. 

Considering other accommodation options?

Hostels can also provide a safe place to sleep at night and come with the added bonus of social interaction. This makes them ideal for those travelling on a budget or looking to make new friends while they're adventuring around. We've got an article on hostel safety as well, so if you're considering them as an option, be sure to go check it out.

Final word

Airbnbs and hotels are, in general, perfectly safe. They provide you with somewhere comfortable to stay and are incredibly convenient. Having said that, however, you should still take steps to ensure that you have the best experience possible. So, follow these safety tips and have a fabulous holiday!

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Jessica Jones
Written by
Jessica Jones
Jess has been writing educational content for almost ten years with a focus on lifestyle content. She loves coffee, dogs and all things fitness, and can often be found with her nose buried in a book and her music blaring through her earphones.

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