HOW TO ENSURE YOUR SAFETY AT A HOTEL

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A few years back, I worked at Virgin Australia in the cabin crew team whilst I was studying at university full time by correspondence. Yes it was a busy couple of years, and I wanted to explore Australia, not find myself stuck in a lecture theatre with no windows. When I worked at Virgin, many flight attendants would share the best things to see and do in each port and what other flight attendants were getting up to; such as where to get the best coffee in Cairns, which flight attendants were dating the same pilot, which was the best camel to ride in Alice Springs that wouldn't spit on you, and who got up to what at the Virgin birthday party - these nights were very, very fun. You get the drift. However, not all pieces of information that were traded in the back galley were fun, or funny. In my first year I met a girl who's friend was also a flight attendant and was based in Dubai. She had just returned from a trip where sadly another flight attendant had been attacked in her hotel room. How this happened will always stay with me. And I've always gone by the ethos of 'knowledge is power', so please read on.

When we arrived at a hotel, we would check-in, grab our keys and head up to our rooms. We were usually given rooms on various levels of the hotel we were staying in, so we would say our good byes as we each got out of the elevator. Sometimes we would make plans to catch up shortly after arriving at the hotel, and sometimes we would organise to catch up the following day.

Now we've all been guilty of the next thing I am about to talk about; when we arrive at our hotel room we usually open the door with our key, enter the hotel room and simply close the door behind us. That's ok, isn't it? No, it is not. Sadly the girl who was attacked in her room did exactly that. But what she did not realise was that there was a man already in her hotel room, hiding behind the curtains. He waited until she was in bed before attacking her. So with this in mind, it is time I share my vital tips to assist with your safety in a hotel room. And please, share this with as many people as you know.

1. Do not divulge the name of your hotel Never tell anyone you don't know or you don't trust the name of your hotel. You only need to see the movie 'Taken' to figure out why.

2. Do not divulge your hotel room number The same applies for your hotel room number. Never tell anyone the number of your hotel room. If you do, you are basically inviting a stranger into your safe place without your consent.

3. Do share your hotel details with a friend or a loved one When you arrive at your hotel and you are given your room key, always give these details to a trusted friend or a loved one. You can simply do this by making a quick phone call, or sending a quick email or text. If you are worried someone may read your email or text, simply delete the information after sending.

4. Do block the entrance of your hotel room with your suitcase Upon arrival to your room, use the key to open the door, then use your suitcase to keep the door wide open. If anything is to happen when you walk in, you already have a clear and quick exit.

5. Do check your room first Always, and I repeat always, check your hotel room before you close the door. Keeping a keen eye on the front door where possible and check the bathroom, pull the shower curtain open, check the wardrobe, look under the bed and couches, look behind the curtains and anywhere else it might be possible for someone to hide. Once you feel confident the room is empty and safe, then pull your suitcase into your hotel room and securely close the door.

6. Do lock your door Even when the hotel room door is closed and can only be opened using an electronic key, always lock the door behind you simply by turning the door lock or placing the chain across the door.