A stranger is knocking on my hotel room door, what should I do?

If your Internet search for hotel stay safety tips brought you here, you have come to the right place, because we understand that solo travelers, whether they are men or women, must be wondering if it would be a good idea to sleep alone in a hotel room nowadays, abroad and in a place where you don’t know anyone, and nobody knows you. So in case you are that solo female or male traveler looking for advice on how to be safe in the event that a stranger knocks on your door trying to trick you into opening it with any kind of ill intention, continue reading below and, more importantly, always make your reservation on a reliable hotel booking site to prevent unpleasant situations from happening.

How to avoid unexpected events when staying alone in a hotel

First and foremost, as a solo traveler, you need to know how to watch your own back to avoid risky situations, and that is something easy to achieve just by being discreet and cautious. Someone who sleeps in hotels frequently will tell you to follow the advice below so as not to be identified as a candidate to be robbed or assaulted while sleeping alone in your tourist accommodation.

  • Never reveal or say out loud that you are traveling without company. Avoid telling this to anyone you meet along the way, hotel staff included. The personnel at the reception can see the info in your reservation and are already aware that you will be staying there alone, and if they are careful enough, they won’t say it aloud either.
  • Do not hang the “do not disturb” sign or a room service order on your door. Such an innocent act will let strangers know that there is someone inside and, in the case of the order, the number of people staying together.
  • If someone you know will be dropping by, ask them to call you on the phone beforehand and identify themselves when they reach your room.
  • Never take it for granted that any person knocking on your door will be a member of the hotel staff. The front desk rarely sends anyone to your room without calling you first. Only once, the reception sent someone to deliver a welcome gift to my room after I checked in, but they said my full name when they knocked and I opened. Even so, I could have called the reception to check whether it was safe to open the door, because it might have been somebody who overheard my conversation with the staff during check-in.

Somebody is knocking on the door of my accommodation, now what?

You may use different strategies to dissuade the stranger from bothering you:

  • remain quiet until they get tired of knocking without getting any sort of response, although this entails the risk of their assuming there is no one in the room and so trying to break in. In a hotel, bursting into your room would be virtually impossible, but beware if you are staying in a guest house or hostel;
  • pretend that you are not alone by speaking out loud with an invisible room mate, playing a conversation recorded on your phone or turning up the volume of the TV or music player;
  • call the reception to confirm that the person outside is not hotel staff and inform them of what is going on. They will probably send security or look after you if they know you have felt unsafe;
  • do not go out until you hear other guests on the corridor.

Bottom line

Under no circumstance should you ask “who is it?” or open (not even left slightly ajar) the door of your hotel room to a stranger. This will probably lead to engaging in unnecessary (and risky) conversation, or to giving them an opportunity to push you and assault you in your own space.

If you have any concerns about your safety in a hotel because somebody knocks on your door, or you have noticed someone following you or prowling around your room, don’t hesitate to ask the staff to move you to a different floor until your time to check out comes.

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