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Hotel, Traditional B&B, Airbnb, VRBO and more!  There are many great options for both short-term and long-term stays.  Before you book and check-in at your next rental, keep these safety tips in mind.


  • Research.  Know what the entrance to the building looks like and how to get there - check out the street view on Google Maps so you know what the surrounding area looks like. Do your research on the local area and understand the vulnerabilities. is an excellent resource. 

  • Read the reviews.  Although some you will have to take with a grain of salt, others can be quite helpful.  If you plan to rent from Airbnb, I recommend booking from an Airbnb superhost when possible, as they are the most experienced and top-rated hosts.

  • Make sure the rental has both a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless, poisonous gas that can be deadly.  (You can also bring your own portable smoke/carbon monoxide detectors).  It's also a good idea to ask if the property has a fire extinguisher and first aid kit.

  • Regarding financial security:  If you're booking through a home share website such as Airbnb or VRBO, never pay a host directly.  Always pay through the third party.



  • Bring a small portable door stop alarm.  This one from Damsel in Defense is one of my favorites. 

  • Wipe down common surfaces (light switches, tv remote, doorknobs, etc) with disinfecting wipes.

  • Check drawers and even under the mattress to ensure the previous guest didn't leave anything that you don't want in your possession.

  • Ask the host or front desk for the building's emergency escape plan and the phone numbers for local emergency services.

  • For the safety of your belongings, ask if the unit has a safe.

  • Find out if your rental has locked exterior doors (especially after hours), a security system, outdoor sensor lights, or a security guard.

  • If you're renting a private room in a home, check to make sure your room door has a working lock.

  • Regarding your privacy: Ask the host if there are security cameras.  Note:  Hidden cameras are prohibited, but for your own privacy, you may want to do a scan inside the building to make sure you don't unwillingly end up on camera.  There are phone apps that can assist with this.  Tip:  Use a flashlight and shine it around a dark room.  If you see anything reflecting back at you (such as a reflection from a camera lens), that's a red flag.

  • If you're venturing out around the neighborhood, carry a portable keychain alarm or pepper spray for protection.

Entering Hotel Room
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