Hotel Essentials: What To Leave Behind

what to leave in your hotel when travelling abroad

When travelling abroad, it's important to consider what to leave in your hotel room. While it's tempting to bring your passport with you everywhere, it's generally safer to leave it in the hotel safe, along with other valuables. Instead, carry a driver's license or a screenshot of your passport for identification. Additionally, consider leaving behind shaving cream and using conditioner instead, as well as skipping the hotel shampoo, which can be harsh and drying. Bring a water bottle, as hotel glasses tend to be small, and perhaps a scent from home to counteract unfamiliar odours. Lastly, if you're travelling for an extended period, bring photos of loved ones to remind you of home.


Leave your passport in the hotel safe

When travelling abroad, it is important to consider what to do with your passport when you are out and about. While some countries require you to carry your passport with you at all times, others do not. For example, in Italy, the government requires you to have an official ID on you, and a foreign driver's license will not count. On the other hand, in Mexico, it is not necessary or advisable to carry your passport unless you have an express reason to do so, such as exchanging money. Ultimately, the decision of whether to leave your passport in the hotel safe or carry it with you depends on your plans for the day, your destination, and your personal preference.

If you are engaging in activities such as swimming or scuba diving where you will not have a safe place to lock up your passport, it is a good idea to leave it in the hotel safe. The hotel safe is typically very secure, and unless someone is specifically targeting you or you have done something to anger the hotel staff, your passport should be safe. Additionally, some insurance companies may require you to lock up your passport in the hotel safe, and it is always a good idea to have a backup plan in case of loss or theft.

However, there are also risks associated with leaving your passport in the hotel safe. For example, you may forget it when you check out, or it may be stolen by dishonest hotel staff. To mitigate these risks, it is recommended to keep a colour copy of your passport with you, as well as a digital copy on your phone. This can be helpful if you need to quickly enter an embassy or prove your citizenship. Additionally, you can inform the authorities of your whereabouts and that your passport is in the hotel safe, as it is not difficult for them to verify this information.

Another option is to carry your passport with you in a secure manner, such as in a money belt or a secure inner pocket of your bag or jacket. This can give you peace of mind and ensure that you always know where your passport is. However, it is important to be aware of pickpockets and thieves, especially in busy tourist spots, and to take steps to protect your passport when out and about.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to leave your passport in the hotel safe or carry it with you when travelling abroad depends on your personal preferences, your destination, and your plans for the day. It is important to consider the risks and benefits of both options and take steps to ensure the security of your passport.


Avoid shared accommodation

While sharing a room with strangers can be a great way to save money and meet people, it's not for everyone. If you value your privacy and personal space, it's best to avoid shared accommodation when travelling. Here are some reasons why you might want to opt for a private room or hotel instead:

  • Respecting others: In a shared space, it's important to respect your companions' personal space, belongings, and quiet time. This might include keeping your area tidy, not touching others' things without permission, and being mindful of noise levels, especially after midnight or when others are sleeping. If you're a light sleeper or prefer to follow your own schedule, sharing a room might be challenging.
  • Social expectations: Sharing a room can be a great opportunity to make friends and find travel companions. However, it also comes with social expectations and the potential for personality clashes. If you're looking for a more low-key trip or prefer your own company, shared accommodation may not be the best option.
  • Hygiene and comfort: Shared spaces require adhering to hygiene standards to ensure everyone's comfort. This includes maintaining good personal hygiene, being mindful of strong scents, and respecting communal areas. If you're particular about your surroundings or have specific needs, a private space might be preferable.
  • Privacy: Shared accommodation often involves compromising on privacy. Whether it's sharing bathrooms, sleeping in close quarters, or having limited control over your surroundings, shared spaces may not offer the same level of privacy as a private room or hotel.
  • Potential for conflict: In any shared living situation, there is a potential for conflict due to differing expectations, habits, and personalities. If you're looking for a stress-free trip, avoiding shared accommodation can reduce the chances of unpleasant interactions or disagreements.
  • Financial considerations: While sharing a room can save money, it's important to consider the potential hidden costs. For example, you might need to purchase additional insurance or pay upfront fees. Additionally, if a roommate moves out, you may be responsible for making up the difference in rent.

Ultimately, the decision to avoid shared accommodation comes down to your personal preferences, budget, and comfort level. Weighing the pros and cons can help you make an informed choice that aligns with your travel goals and expectations.


Pick a room on a higher floor

When travelling abroad, there are a few things you might want to consider leaving in your hotel room. For example, you might want to skip the hotel shampoo and bring your own, as the former is often cheap and can dry out your hair. You might also want to bring a water bottle, as hotel glasses tend to be small.

Now, here is some information on why you might want to pick a room on a higher floor:

While it may be tempting to request a room on the ground floor of a hotel for convenience, or a room on the top floor for the views, these are not necessarily the best options when it comes to safety. Rooms on the first or second floors are easier targets for criminals to break into through exterior windows or balconies, while rooms on higher floors pose a greater risk in the event of a fire.

If you are staying in a major westernised city with modern firefighting equipment, floors three to six are generally considered the safest to stay on. In this scenario, fire departments will likely have aerial ladders that can reach up to six or seven stories. If you are staying in a less developed city or country, the fire equipment may only reach up to the third or fourth floor.

Staying on a higher floor can also come with other inconveniences, such as longer wait times for the elevator and the potential for a significant cardio workout if you have to haul your luggage up and down the stairs in the event of a broken elevator.

However, there are also advantages to choosing a room on a higher floor. Firstly, you are likely to have a better view compared to the lower levels. Secondly, you may experience enhanced privacy and less foot traffic overhead.

So, while there are safety concerns to consider when choosing a room on a higher floor, there are also valid reasons why some travellers prefer this option. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which floor you would be most comfortable staying on, taking into account the potential risks and benefits of each option.


Choose a room close to an emergency exit

When travelling abroad, it's important to consider not just which hotel to stay in, but also which room to choose within that hotel. This is especially true if you are travelling to a moderate or high-risk destination. One key factor to consider when choosing a hotel room is its proximity to emergency exits. Here are some reasons why you should choose a room close to an emergency exit:

Quick Escape Route

In the event of an emergency, such as a fire or a security threat, being close to an emergency exit can provide a quick and direct escape route. This is crucial, as every second counts in an emergency situation. The emergency stairwells in large hotels can be quite a long distance from some rooms, so choosing a room nearby can save precious time.

Advance Warning

Selecting a room between the third and sixth floors is generally recommended, as it offers a balance between advance warning of any ground-floor chaos and remaining within the reach of emergency responders. In the case of a fire, being a few floors above the ground can provide valuable time to react and evacuate safely.

Ease of Rescue

In addition to providing a quick escape route, a room near an emergency exit can also increase your chances of being rescued. In the event that you become trapped in your room, emergency responders may have easier access to you if you are located close to an exit. This is especially important to consider in undeveloped countries, where fire departments may have limited capabilities to reach higher floors.

Reduced Risk of Targeting

In the unfortunate event of a terrorist attack, rooms near emergency exits can offer a strategic advantage. Terrorists often target hotels due to their central locations and high occupancy, and they may use the emergency stairs during an attack. By choosing a room near an emergency exit, you can avoid being in their immediate path and reduce your risk of encountering them.

Familiarise Yourself with Exits

Even if you have chosen a room close to an emergency exit, it is still important to familiarise yourself with your surroundings. Take a few minutes to locate not just the nearest stairs from your room, but also the various entrances and exits from the hotel lobby. This knowledge can be invaluable in an emergency situation.


Ask for a room away from public areas

When travelling abroad, it is always a good idea to ask for a room that is away from public areas in the hotel. This is because rooms near public areas, such as the lobby or the pool, tend to be noisier and may not offer as much privacy.

By choosing a room that is located away from these busier areas, you can create a more peaceful and relaxing environment for yourself during your stay. This is especially important if you are looking to unwind and recharge during your travels. Additionally, rooms away from public areas may be more secure, as they are less accessible to individuals who are not guests at the hotel. This can provide an added layer of safety and protection for you and your belongings.

When booking your room, be sure to specify your preference for a quiet and private location. You may also want to request a room that is located on a higher floor, as these rooms are typically farther from public areas and can offer a more exclusive experience.

It is worth noting that rooms away from public areas may be limited, so it is advisable to make your request as early as possible. This will increase the likelihood of getting your preferred room and ensure that your stay is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

Remember, by being proactive and communicating your preferences, you can significantly enhance your overall hotel experience and create lasting memories of your trip.

Frequently asked questions

It is generally safe to leave your passport in the hotel safe when travelling abroad. You don't need to carry it around with you everywhere and can instead move around the city with your driver's license. However, always be aware of your surroundings and try to conceal your passport as much as possible.

There are a few things you can leave at home when travelling and staying in a hotel. You can skip bringing shaving cream and shampoo, as conditioner works just as well for shaving and can also be used to cleanse your scalp. You can also leave behind any strong-smelling perfumes or colognes, as hotels often have their own unique scents.

When choosing a hotel abroad, consider the location and avoid places that are too cheap compared to others in the neighbourhood, as this may indicate a high crime rate. Select a hotel with 24-hour reception and avoid shared accommodation. Pick a room that is not on the ground floor and is close to an emergency exit.

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