Hotel room safety is one of the top areas of concern to women travelers. News stories such as that of Erin Andrews, an ESPN reporter, having video taken of her walking around naked in her hotel room has elevated the concern of hotel safety, and the video was taken through her hotel room peephole, which had been reversed.
Almost all hotel room doors have a peephole for looking out into the hallway and viewing anyone knocking at your door. Women staying in hotel rooms should always use the peephole before opening the door, even when expecting visitors or room service.
But very few peepholes have a cover to close up this peephole when not in use. Why is this important, especially for women? Because Erin’s story isn’t the only case of hotel room peepholes getting reversed. While the chances of peephole crime are very low, it can happen.
It’s not only perverts tinkering with the peepholes; sometimes the peephole mechanics just come apart. A hotel may tape up the peephole to keep it in place or jam a piece of paper into it (from either the outside or the inside of the door), or accidentally put it in backwards. If it’s loose or backwards, it can freak a traveler out!
What can you do to help protect yourself against the chance of peephole snooping? If there is no provided cover for the peephole, make your own. Solutions women have shared with me:
- Duct tape. Take it with you and use it for all kinds of things, and not just when your peephole is broken, but when it’s working as intended as well.
- Stuff toilet paper into the peephole. A female American Airline pilot told me that she does this in every hotel room she stays in. This is easy to remove and replace if someone does come knocking on the door. A smart woman traveler must have done this in a hotel room where I stayed this past weekend in San Diego as I had a knock on the door and discovered the paper still stuffed in the peephole.
- I’ve also heard of women smearing Vaseline on the inside lens of peepholes to prevent anyone from looking in. While this may make it impossible for someone on the outside to use a modified peephole, it will also make the peephole unusable from the inside as well, so this is not a recommended solution.
Hotels can also help. Housekeepers could add checking the peephole’s functionality to their room cleaning daily tasks, or weekly checks by the maintenance crew could be done. Some hotels use cameras to monitor hallways. Video monitoring can increase hotel security substantially. All of these solutions can help lower our fears, especially when we know that they are in place.
Hotel guest privacy violations are rare, but when they do happen, they can be high severity incidents. Help keep yourself safe by these simple precautions when it comes to hotel room door peepholes.
To receive a free copy of our ebook, 70 Secrets to Safe Travel — Because Your Life Can Change in a Heartbeat and for more travel savvy info to help you travel smarter, safer and with more enjoyment, visit SmartWomenTravelers.com and PearlsofTravelWisdom.com.