The Official on line magazine of the

North American Frontiersmen

Smoke Signals

TIPS FOR SAFE OVERNIGHT LODGING

   Having security at home and in your vehicle is only the basic steps, use your choice of lodging based on; Hotel or Motel location according to: parking, surroundings and distance to eating locations and safety of security near-by.

*  Donít let your travel agent make your decisions for you. (usually manned by someone who hasnít been where you are going).

*  Look at a good map of the area of lodging and decide on safety, not convenience, where you stay.

*  Call local police and ask them if the area you have chosen is safe or is there a better area to stay in. What is the incidence of room break-ins, car - thiefs and vandalism in their parking area? Is there a police substation near-by?

*  When arriving donít go straight to the office, drive around the area that borders it, look to see if the area is undesirable and for public access to entrances of the Hotel. Note the  location of parking from front desk of the office of Hotel.

*  Ask for someone to show you your room when checking in and check location of fire escapes and access from the street. Remember a security door can be easily broken, if thatís all the separates you from the outside, you may want to choose another room. This is your right, if needed use it.

*  When not in your room leave the TV on, to an outsider this means someone is home.

  Look through the peep-hole in door from the hall. if it shows a clear vision of room put, use the label off of a can or box from your travel accessories to cover it. Make sure it removes easily for your peeping out at vistors.

*  Locking devices and alarms for doors work very nicely, cheap and sold everywhere. No reason not to have one and use it.

*  ďCan SafesĒ are very inexpensive and are good for small valuables and cash, especially traveling long distances and other countries. Still many questionables are catching on to them, as are Third World countries thieves.

*  Call Hotel/Motel you have chosen and ask them pertinent questions; Do they have security in the parking lot? Do they provide hotel transportation? Are there restaurants in the immediate area which are safe to walk to?

*  Have a good flashlight with you in your room, I like a mini Mag Light, small and easy to carry.

*  For a weapon; pepper spray or OC gas are good, a firearm will fall under all local laws for the area traveling and becomes less-than-legal. (a firearm is the last line of defense, meant to be used in the event the intruder breaks through your layers of physucal security). Donít rely solely on the firearm.

*  Your security in how you conduct yourself around the temporary lodging will help greatly; ex. if you use hotel laundry, use room number only not home address. Donít use the provided early morning menu, this alerts wayward types roaming hallways that someone and their belongings are in the room. Donít use your name and address on anything you hang on your doorknob for everyone to see.

*  When coming and going, make sure unwanted guests are not following you, someone who perhaps watched you shopping or eating out. If you donít like what you see in the Hotel elevator, DONíT GET ON. There is no obligation to ride with anyone you donít feel comfortable with.

*  Human frailty normally provides more than ample opportunity for criminals. Donít drink to excess when traveling and donít bring home anyone you donít trust. Read the paper of the ones who did.

   The bottom line is you have more control than some may lead you to believe when you travel. Failure to pay attention to these and other things happening around you can make the difference between a good and bad experience. These items listed above are just a few that come to mind, ask your travel and insurance agent about others, some companies have a small book of ideas.

This column is written by the members & friends of the North American Frontiersmen to provide ideas, hints and address needs in this sport.

Page 8