Hotel Safety Tips for Travelers

Going on vacation somewhere, especially when you’re visiting the place for the first time, is seen as the perfect opportunity to “let loose”, set aside your worries, and simply enjoy yourself. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should take hotel security for granted. A number of trips have been ruined once travelers go back to their hotels only to find it ransacked, looted, and their things stolen. This could happen to anyone – frequent business travelers included.

Just because you’re staying in a 5-star hotel does not mean you’re completely safe. Here are some things to remember regarding your safety and security while staying in a hotel.

Hotel Safety Checklist

  1. Preparedness is key. When booking your hotel accommodations prior to your trip, look up reviews and testimonials of the hotel, inn, or bed-and-breakfast you’ll be staying at. Assess how safe the location is – particularly with respect to fire hazards, break-ins, and other crimes
  2. Rooms in the upper floors are harder to break into, so book a room that’s not located on the ground floor or the second floor
  3. Most hotels provide lockers or safety vaults for their guests. Place your valuables (passport, travel documents, gadgets) in these safes when leaving your hotel for the day
  4. Confidentiality and privacy are your rights as a hotel guest. Front desk clerks are not supposed to announce your room number (and room phone number) for everyone to hear. Ask for a different room if that’s the case
  5. Check the locks of the windows and the doors of your room. If you find them to be faulty, or some windows are stuck, ask to be transferred to another room
  6. Make sure you know where the fire exits on your floors are located. The hotel should also provide you with a list of emergency phone numbers you could call. Program them into your phone or bring a copy of the list with you everywhere you go
  7. Being friendly with locals and other tourists is not a bad thing, but you should still practice caution, especially if you’re all women in a new place. Do not allow other people inside your rooms, not even if you’ve known them for more than a couple of days. While befriending people you should also be knowing the culture and ethnic practices of people in your travel destination so as to avoid any racism related issues
  8. The most important security tip is to maintain a high level of vigilance. Double-check that the doors and windows are locked when you’re leaving the hotel for a day of exploring the town, and when you go to sleep. When someone knocks on the door, do not immediately open it, not even if they announce that they’re Housekeeping or Room Service (especially if you didn’t order anything). Peepholes are there for a reason

You never really know for sure what could go wrong on your trip, so make sure you do all you can to be prepared for any eventuality. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry

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Homestay for Tourists: Advantages and Disadvantages

Homestay Holidays are becoming more and more popular these days especially in countries within the Asia and Oceania region. In Malaysia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia and many other countries, homestays for tourists are more than just an alternative.

What is Homestay?

The homestay – in the context of tourism – allows the tourist (or family) to rent a room or the whole house from a local family in the visiting country. This helps the visitors understand the local culture, lifestyle, food, custom and improve in the local language etc. (There’s another type of homestay in the context of education abroad. This student homestay aspect is not in the scope of this article)

In order for the home-stay system to work, the modalities regarding the contract between the host and the guest must be established in advance. This mainly includes the facilities (meals, recreation, family activities, Internet-phone usage, entertainment policy, pets policy and so on) that can be consumed by the guest, when to make payment, smoking rules etc.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Homestays

The main advantage of homestay is that it’s really like a home away from home as you get to stay with the host’s family. You will never feel like a stranger in an alien land if you have a few friendly faces out there.

The home stay host and his family can really help you to get accustomed with the new land, its rules and customs and that’s a big plus to hear and learn it directly from the local people than reading books etc.

Cost-wise most homestays are a lot cheaper than the hotel accommodation and it can get very cheap and affordable for long stays. Further, most homestays are in good residential areas than commercial areas of main streets. This means more peaceful and pollution free life.

In a homestay environment you hardly miss celebrating your festivals. Most hosts like to celebrate the festive activities with their guests and that’s a major positive as well.

However, homestays can have certain disadvantages too. Sometimes, there can be privacy issues when the host or his family members do not know where to draw the line. This is particularly an issue in certain Asian countries.

Very rarely there have been issues of cheating (or not respecting the contract) reported but that’s why you have to read the homestay online reviews etc to find the right homestay for you. Travel review sites such as Tripadvisor has so many travelers writing reviews on homestays. Browse such sites to pick your homestay for the next overseas holiday.

Modified American Plan

When you search the Internet for your dream vacation resort or holiday home, one of the statements in your package could be something like “Modified American Plan all inclusive”.

What does it mean?

American Plan, Modified American plan etc are basically the hotel meal plans that comes with your lodging package or room reservation.

Hotel Meal Plans

The following are the typical meal plans that you get to see in hotel or vacation packages

American Plan
American plan (AP) means that you will get all three meals a day for the lodging deal or package that you signed up.

Modified American Plan
Modified American Plan (MAP), on the other hand, is a hotel plan that has two meals – typically breakfast and dinner – covered as part of the lodging package. Some MAP plans offer the flexibility of choosing breakfast plus either lunch or dinner as an option where as in most places it is fixed (i.e. breakfast and dinner)

Continental Plan
Continental Plan (CP) is a hotel meal plan where by only breakfast (a continental breakfast per se) is served as part of the package.

European Plan
European plan (EP) includes only the cost of the room and no meal is served to you for the specified tariff.

So you already figured out that “Modified American Plan – all inclusive” is probably the wrong claim or statement. I should be ideally “American plan all inclusive“.

The following non-standard term also is used by certain package tour operators and holiday agents.

All Inclusive or AI
AI typically means that the room tariff, taxes, all meals and sometimes even drinks included. You should however clarify it with your tour operator as to what it means in your case.