Safety is one of the top priorities that most travelers consider when looking for a place to stay. Most hotels have federal regulations to follow to ensure the safety of their guests, but BnBs and similar rental properties aren’t as strictly regulated in most places. If you want to book the latter type of accommodation, how can you tell if the place is safe?
Before you book a bed and breakfast or rental property, here are some important tips to keep in mind:
The reviews of other travelers can give you valuable insight into the quality of a stay, including its standards for safety. When looking through listings, spend more time reading reviews, both positive and negative, to gauge the relative safety of the area and the stay itself. However, don’t focus too much on a single positive or negative review. Read more than a few reviews to get a general feel for the place–after all, every traveler has different standards that may or not align with yours.
Ask the property owner
A great way to judge the safety of a rental is to ask the property owner directly about their safety standards. Ask if they have carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms on the property. Ask about the lock situation on the place’s entrances. Ask when was the last time they got a boiler installation and replacement. Honest property owners will be willing to entertain your questions and help you determine if the rental is safe enough for you.
Look up crime rates
If you’re going to any unfamiliar place, especially in another country, it’s always a good idea to look up the crime rates in the area. Doing this will help you find a relatively safe area to get a rental, or at least help you prepare if you really want to stay in that particular location. If you know someone who has visited that place before, you can also ask them about the crime situation in the area and what safety measures do you need to take.
Check the safety features
Booking sites like AirBnb and Booking.com allow property owners to list down the safety amenities in their rental, such as carbon monoxide detectors, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits. Take the time to read through these safety features carefully. It will help you find a property that is safe enough by your standards.
Inspect the room
When you finally arrive at the property, don’t forget to do a basic safety check. Here is a quick checklist that you should run through:
- Check if the doors and windows are locking correctly
- See if the balcony railings are of sufficient height, especially if you have a child or pet with you
- Check if the emergency equipment and safety amenities are complete
- Find out where the first aid kit and fire extinguisher are located
- Look for an emergency contact list in the room; if there is none, ask the host for one
- Consider potential safe zones in case of an earthquake
- Find out where the emergency exits are
- Look for signs of pests; pests can be extremely hazardous to your health
If the safety amenities and emergency equipment are lacking, don’t be afraid to bring it up to your host. It’s their responsibility to ensure that the place is safe as per their listing.
As a guest, your safety also relies on your actions. Be responsible and remember to:
- Lock all the doors and windows before sleeping or leaving the place
- Turn off and unplug all appliances and electronics when not in use
- Avoid fire hazards such as smoking indoors, leaving a candle unattended, leaving a hair straightener plugged in, etc.
- Be careful when climbing stairs, walking around the property, stepping out of the shower, etc.
As a traveler, ensuring your safety should be one of your top priorities. A great way to do that is to do your research of the property you’re booking, as well as conducting a basic safety check when you actually get there.