Just The Tip: Hotel Room Security

Just The Tip: Hotel Room Security

We find ourselves on the road on a regular basis (check out our Traveling Armed series). Staying in hotel rooms just becomes a fact of life. The rooms and locations themselves have spanned the spectrum from flophouse to fantastic, but the vast majority of them fall right in the middle. At home you might have cameras, a sophisticated alarm system, and a fur missile or two in your onion of security. But on the road? Not so much. Today we’ll go over some simple tips to increase security in even the worst rooms without having to resort to a rotating firewatch.

Choosing a Room

As long as you’re in a place with interior hallways (otherwise it’s called a motel), higher floors are less likely to be broken into. Most fire ladders will be able to reach up to the fifth floor, so ideally you’re between floors two and five. A room by the elevator has more traffic going by and is a less desirable target, whereas a room right by the fire stairs gives a criminal quick egress.

Check the Fire Evacuation Plan

It’s right on the back door. Not only does it tell you how to get out in case of a fire or other emergency, it literally maps out all alternate exits.Examine all Door and Window Locking Hardware

..and if any of it isn’t up to snuff, ask for a different room.

Cover your Peephole

It sounds dumb at first, but it’s not. Peephole reversers are available publicly, and you may recall the case of Erin Andrews being recorded through one (she was recently awarded a $55 million dollar settlement). A band-aid works perfectly for this because it’s cheap and easy to peel back and reattach.

Yes, Princess Band-Aids. Don't judge us.

Do Not Disturb

Keep that sign up all the time. If you need the room cleaned or require towels, just call down to the desk. Keeping a television or radio on when you’re gone will also give the impression of occupancy–and besides, you’re not paying the electric bill.

Extra Door Security

No door is impenetrable. What you’re really giving yourself with an additional layer of security is extra time or notice. While there are numerous specialized products on the market like doorknob alarms etc, these are all very inexpensive and some can be done on the fly with contents from a dollar store. Also, even if someone has a key to the room, it’s going to make their job a bit harder. Bear in mind that some of these methods may violate local fire codes.

-Door Wedge

A $3 hard wedge is easy to pack and works really well.

-Stick a Fork in It

This one takes a little explanation. All you need is a dinner fork. Cut the head off or just bend it back and forth until it snaps off. Bend the tines as shown, ensuring they aren’t deeper than the latch hole. And well, just look here:

This video goes more in-depth. All this can be accomplished with a multi-tool, though obviously a vice, hammer, and saw makes everything a bit faster.

-Zip Ties and a Carabiner

Many of life’s problems can be solved with zip ties.┬áThe carabiner goes around the bolt latch, and then it’s secured to the door handle. The handle in this case does not move in the upward position so it keeps everything in place. The second zip tie acts as a stop for the main loop. The carabiner itself is very easy to remove in the case of an emergency.


And finally:

Pack Heat

Which kinda goes without saying…

We know we haven’t covered all possible methods in this short piece. How do you do it when you’re away from home?

Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!

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7 thoughts on “Just The Tip: Hotel Room Security

  • September 2, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    I never take a room that has a door inside the room that opens to the next door (for family groups) The locks on those doors are easy to breach.

  • September 2, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Roll up some TP and stick it in the peep hole. Easy to remove if needed and cheaper than a band aid.

  • September 2, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    This really hits home with me, as my family and I had our hotel room burgled while we were out. Heads up to anyone staying in the San Antonio area- stay away from “affordable” downtown hotels! Ours was actually decent, just this time it happened to be surveilled. Luckily my son got a good look at the guy who was checking out the entering guests. Turns out the day manager wasn’t very good about keeping non-guests out of the lobby. I had to leave my pistol in the room, in one of those rinky dink hotel “safes”, as we were going to a museum downtown that didn’t allow weapons. Never again. My favorite 1911, that I had just gotten a new Cerakote finish on, is now in the possession of whatever thug ripped the door off the room safe. The SAPD was, and is, awesome. They’re keeping me advised about all aspects of the case. The only lesson learned for me is keep your gun on you when you travel, at least on the ground. Well, that and don’t always go for the good deal. It may turn out to be a lot more expensive than you thought.

  • September 1, 2016 at 6:14 am

    In addition to the peephole being covered I usually lay a towel along the base of the door. If a reverser is easy to apply, so is a camera (Bosch CP7669). I echo the advice to keep the do not disturb sign on the door. I generally meet the staff in the hallway and ask for towels directly.

    As with everything in a hotel- I keep my blaster in a obvious spot- nothing like waking up in a daze (in yet another hotel room) while Mr. Meth and his friends kick in your door.

  • August 30, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    I bring small LED tea light type candles and set them on top of my stuff. Then if the power/lights go out I can find my flashlight/gun in the dark. Also tip the house keeper early and well, they usually clean more and steal less.

  • August 30, 2016 at 10:48 am

    Make sure to hide the heat when the hookers show up.

    • August 30, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Hide the heat before the meat


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