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The CIA Operative’s Guide to Staying Safe in Your Hotel Room

A Marine veteran and ex-CIA operative has the ultimate guide to protecting yourself in hotels.

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Drew Dwyer, a Marine veteran and former CIA operative, has compiled his list of top tips to keep you safe in hotels whilst you’re away. 

As you might expect, both of those jobs took Drew to some pretty unusual – and often dangerous – locations.

These days, most hotels are safe places to be. But you never know what might happen, and you wouldn’t want to be caught off guard in an unfamiliar country.

So, take it from someone who knows. This is how to keep everything – and everyone – in your hotel room secure.

  • 1. Avoid staying on the ground floor and the top floor. The ground floor far easier for potential intruders to gain access to, whilst the top floor doesn’t leave you much room for escape, and you could end up trapped. The first or second (European) floors are a good bet, as they are accessible for most emergency service vehicles in third world countries.
  • 2. Find the fire escape plan on the back of the door in your room, or make a copy of it to be extra safe. These are easy to lose.
  • 3. Keep the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door handle, even if you’re not in your room. You might have to sacrifice the daily cleaner’s visit for your own safety on this one.
Jason Hanson, another former CIA Officer, with his own take on the hotel safety tips.
  • 4. Feeling paranoid yet? Drew recommends assuming that your room is always bugged, so you should keep a radio or TV turned on, with low volume, at all times. This will muffle your voice so that hidden mics can’t pick up what you’re saying.
  • 5. Keep curtains/blinds down always, even when you’re not in the room.
  • 6. Make sure to leave a light on in the room whenever you’re out somewhere.
  • 7. Keep a small “bug-out bag” packed with must-have items (money, ID, passport, etc.) in the event of an emergency departure.
  • 8. Carry a motion alarm like this one, which costs £20 from Amazon (similar alarms are also available online). It’s perfect for placing on the hotel door.
  • 9. Keep a torch by the bedside table. Failing that, make sure you’re quick at turning on the torch on your phone.

Follow Drew’s steps to the letter, and you’ll give yourself a much better chance of staying safe abroad. 

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