What can be the biggest nightmare when moving to the apartment you’ve booked for your trip?
Rude host? Mold? The apartment doesn’t look like the photos displayed on Airbnb?
That is definitely a horrible experience. But there could be nothing worse than having an aggressive intruder kicking the door in the middle of the night or somebody trying to open your door.
Traveling and booking your new home on Airbnb can be extremely exciting. We all spend hours choosing accommodations that will meet all our needs and requirements, browsing through the reviews of the previous guests.
Yet, no matter how thoroughly you check all the information – safety levels in the city, and neighborhood, hundreds of reviews, photos, and the amenities offered in the listing – there’s still no guarantee that your stay will be 100% safe.
There are hundreds of stories like:
“…. a night later we wake up to someone trying to get into the apartment at 3 a.m.”
“I noticed black footsteps on the tile floor and some noise from the living room…”
“It was 3 AM and I was asleep when suddenly I heard somebody yelling a kicking my door .”
For this reason, we decided to share some top tips on how to prevent break-ins, what gadget could be a real lifesaver, and what to do if an intruder gets in.
7 Top Safety Tips to Prevent Break-Ins and Burglaries
As long as you keep yourself focused, use common sense, and keep in mind at least basic safety precautions, you should enjoy your stay in the apartment or hotel abroad without any issues.
1. Choose an apartment in a building with a doorman
The main job of the doorman is security. You won’t have to worry about who’s entering the building. The doorman will monitor all the movement, who is coming, and why, and ward off intruders.
2. The higher floor the better
A ground-floor apartment is usually an easy target for a burglar. Even the 2nd and the 3rd floor are still not the best options. The intruders may climb in and enter the apartment if you didn’t lock the window or patio door. Try to rent an apartment on a higher floor to reduce the risk of a break-in.
If it happened you had no choice but to rent an apartment on the ground floor, ask your landlord whether locks can be installed on the windows.
3. Lock up everything
Unless it’s really hot or you leave at least on the 4th floor, make sure to keep all the windows and patio doors locked. When you’re going out, it’s worth taking an extra minute to double-check whether everything is locked.
4. Keep your expensive belongings hidden
Don’t leave expensive electronics, cash, purse, or jewelry near open windows. Make sure to place your valuables in places where intruders cannot easily see them. If there is a safe in the room or drawers with a good lock, use them.
If there is nothing where you could lock your belongings, just find some hard-to-reach spots, where intruders cannot easily notice your stuff. You can put your laptop on the top of the cabinets, behind the couch, or somewhere in the kitchen behind the cooking pots, packages with pasta, and cereal boxes.
5. Choose an apartment in a modern building
It’s very romantic to rent an apartment in the old town of the city. But the old buildings can have disadvantages like old doors, squeaky stairs, and shabby entrances.
When you rent via Airbnb, always send the host a message to clarify whether the apartment is in a modern or old building. It is great if there is a camera on the entrance door or at least a door viewer, so you can see who is calling before opening the door.
Renting an apartment in a better building with a good security system will eliminate 95% of all potential problems, including the risk of break-in or burglary.
6. Think like an intruder
When you check-in, try to inspect your home for possible safety problems. Make sure all windows and sliding glass doors close and locks work. If there is any issue, notify the host immediately and request to fix it. Be alert and watch who is lingering in your building.
7. Ask to reset an Airbnb lockbox
When you rent Airbnb, you do not always meet the host on the first day. Sometimes you just need a code from the lockbox to enter the apartment. It’s good to ask how often the lockbox code was updated, and whether it is possible to reset a code before your arrival.
Top 5 Products Every Traveler Should Have to Prevent Break-In
1. Travel Door Alarm
The travel door alarm is very useful and highly portable, you can buy it for around $15 on Amazon, and it can be a real lifesaver. As soon as the door alarm is triggered, you will hear a strong sound that will wake you up and make the intruder run away.
2. A Door Stopper or Door Jammer
When you pack for your next trip, do not forget to pack the door jammer or a door stopper. A door jammer works like a tiny barricade, it is almost impossible to open the door. The only problem is that a door jammer may not fit a door that has a tight space between itself and the floor. Normally, a door jammer costs around $35.
If you’re looking for something smaller and cheaper, you may try a door stopper, which also helps secure the door and prevent intruders from entering the apartment.
3. Addalock Portable Door Lock
Addalock portable door lock is a must-have for every traveler. Whether you are staying at an Airbnb or hotel room, it will help you to make your door much more secure. This lock really works, and whoever will try to open the door will fail, and you’ll have enough time to call the police or security staff.
When you purchase Addalock portable door lock, try to practice removing it, so that in case of emergency, you could easily remove it and open the door.
4. Ultra-Slim Window Alarm
If you’ve rented an apartment on the first floor, and you’d like to make windows a bit more secure, you can also try a tiny portable window alarm. If it gets triggered it’s very noisy, and it will ward off intruders immediately. The only disadvantage of this alarm is that it’s attached to the window with a sticky adhesive, and it’s really hard to remove it.
5. Wifi Door and Window Sensors
If you travel with kids and you’re worried about the safety levels, consider buying one or two security sensors. SEHOMY sensor is very easy to attach to the door or window and connect to the app, and it works seamlessly with Alexa.
As soon as somebody is trying to open the window or door, you’ll receive an alarm signal from your phone. It will wake you up and scare an intruder off.
It’s extremely convenient, even when you’re not at home you can still check whether all the windows and doors are closed.
By the way, you can even put this sensor on the door of the fridge to detect who is sneaking to the fridge for a midnight snack.
Products to Protect You & your Belongings from Burglars
1. Locking Steel Anti-Theft Ratchet Bracket
There might be safe in the room, but if you’re searching for the extra layer of security, an anti-theft ratchet bracket may come in handy. It is small and foldable. You can use it on safes and drawers.
2. Anti-Theft Portable Safe
A tiny portable safe could help you keep everything valuable locked in one spot, and you can hide it somewhere in the room, in a place that nobody can see easily. For instance, you can hide the small safe at the bottom of the laundry basket under the dirty clothes. Maybe it sounds like too much, but the potential intruder/burglar won’t start his search for valuables in the basket full of dirty laundry.
Another reason to have your personal safe is that there is no really 100% secure safe in hotel rooms. You should be aware that every hotel gives staff access to the safe in case the guest is losing the key to the safe or forgets the code. But sometimes the staff gets access to the safe when there is no emergency.
2. Pepper Spray (Mace)
Pepper spray is the most effective weapon to stop an intruder from attacking you.
This is the best option when traveling and/or living abroad. It is hard to travel with firearms to most countries. A knife is an excellent weapon but you might end up killing someone. There is quite a bit of uncertainty regarding legal issues like self defense when you are non a citizen of a country.
It is better to use pepper spray to stop a bad guy and get out of there. Permanently injuring or killing someone opens you up to possible legal charges, civil actions and even retaliation from family members. You don’t want part of any of that.
What to Do When an Intruder Is in Your Home?
1. Detect the Presence of Intruder
One you realize that someone is inside your place, its time to take quick action.
2. Keep Calm, Don’t Let Emotions Take Over
When you are in a stressful and threatening situation like having an intruder in the house, your adrenaline will be pumping. Take 5 short breaths in through the nose and then out through the mouth. This will slow your heart rate and calm you down.
Analyze the situation and decide: is there a way for you to escape or is there is a safe room to lock yourself and call the police?
3. Try to Escape
Do not confront the intruder, they may be armed. If you live on the ground floor, try to escape through the window. If there’s a fire escape ladder, use it. Do not put your life at risk.
4. Hide and Call Police
If there is no way to escape, then hide in the bedroom or bathroom. Take your pepper spray with yourself. Lock yourself and barricade the room. Be as quiet as possible, and try to call the police. Then notify your host, close friends, or neighbors that could potentially help you.
5. If the Intruder is in Your Room
If the intruder managed to enter the room, avoid confrontation at any cost. Keep yourself as far as possible and be cooperative with an intruder. Try to place yourself near the possible escape way like a window.
Look around to identify what you could grab to protect yourself if the intruder gets aggressive. Maybe there is a key or a pen next to the bed, that could help if you’re forced into a physical confrontation.
As soon as there is a chance, just run and try to make as much noise as possible to attract the attention of your neighbors.
Personal assaults are rare but they do happen.
Robberies are much more common.
The best way to avoid them is to plan ahead and make good choices.
It is worth some extra money to stay in a nicer building with security and a safe.
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