GREENSBORO, NC -- Spring is so close we can feel it (literally, with this unseasonably-warm winter). Our eyes are on the beach, our noses can smell the sunscreen, and we are actively searching for the best hotel-flight deals in town. So, is safety top of mind? Maybe not, but it should be.
2 Wants to Know found and tested three non-obvious travel safety tips that can save your life.
1. BOOK A SAFE HOTEL ROOM
Travel safety starts before you even go anywhere.
- Do your research. Ask if the hotel has overnight security and parking lot cameras.
- Ask for a room on floors three to six, especially if you are traveling alone. Below three, criminals have quick, easy access in and out of the hotel through the emergency stairwell. Above five or six, standard US fire truck ladders can't reach you.
- Get two room keys, so anyone who overhears your conversation at the front desk doesn't assume you are staying alone. Hampton Inn Gate City Boulevard manager Karen Grissom said front desk receptionists usually give two keys anyway and are trained not to say the room number out loud.
2. USE A MOBILE CHECK-IN
If you are in trouble, a subtle and easy way to let your friends know where you are is to use your smart phone to share your location.
- Select a friend from your contacts.
- Click on the information button (the blue circle around the I in the top right corner of your message) and choose 'send location.'
- Your friend will receive your 'pin' and know your location. It is not always precise, especially if you don't have strong cell service when sending the pin.
There are several apps that allow you to 'check in' with your friends, but a few travel blogs and women's magazines recommend Kite String. It works with any kind of phone, as long as you register online.
- Go to the Kite String website.
- Type in your phone number and set an emergency contact.
- Set the time you are going out, the time you want Kite String to check in and how long you want Kite String to give you to respond.
- If you don't respond in the pre-selected response time, Kite String will text your emergency contact that you might be in trouble.
3. DON'T TAG YOUR TRAVEL LOCATION
Do not tell social media your location, at least not until after you leave. On social media, less is more.
- Turn off 'location' settings on your Smart Phone.
- If your location settings are on, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will prompt you to tag the location it has generated. For example, if you are at the Hampton Inn and upload a status or picture, Facebook will prompt you to "tag" Hampton Inn, allowing others who search for or tag the hotel to see your status or picture.
- Greensboro police officer Heather Jefferson said, "Definitely don't post everything on social media, because then you advertise to the world where you're going to be, and if you have someone who might be stalking you, they know where to find you."