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Travel Safety 101: The Return of Field Season

By Angela Haines, Project Archaeologist and GIS Coordinator and Anne Lee, Project Manager and Principal Investigator at Commonwealth Heritage Group, Inc.

We’ve flown into the new field season full force, and it’s good to have some reminders for many of us and our staff about safe travel practices. Just think about how many of these tips many of us (especially seasoned travelers) completely ignore…and think about what small changes you can make to increase your own safety and security when you’re On the Road Again 

Lesson 1: Hotels

Although many of us consider ourselves to be “seasoned” when it comes to living and working out of hotels, it’s always good to have a refresher on simple things you can do to help yourself and your staff be safe while staying at hotels:

  • Check-In
    • Have your ID and a printed hotel confirmation ready for the desk clerk, so that your information (name, length of stay, phone number, etc.) is not overheard by others in the lobby). This is the type of information others can use to get a duplicate key to your room.
    • Ask for one key to your room and clarify to the hotel staff that you are the only person that can get a duplicate or replacement key to your room.
    • Ask for a room between the second and fourth floor. This provides maximum security while also providing the safest location in the event of a fire.
  • Room Inspection
    • After you check for insects, make sure that your window and door locks function properly.
    • Look at the room. If anything feels weird, it may be; trust your gut.
    • Best practices during your stay
    • Familiarize yourself with the hotel layout and evacuation routes.
    •  Park your vehicle near a well-lit entrance.
    • At key-controlled entrances, don’t hold the outside door open for someone you don’t know.
    • Don’t leave any valuables or anything with sensitive information in your room or vehicle.
    • Always use the secondary door lock when you are in your room.
    •  Never hold open your room door with the secondary lock while you are inside or while you run down the hall to the ice machine.
    • Look through the peep hole before you open the door to anyone. If someone identifying themselves as hotel staff is at your door at an odd time, verify their identity with the front desk before you open the door.
    • Leave your TV and a light on when you aren’t in the room to create the appearance that someone is in the room or plans on being right back.

Lesson 2: Unfamiliar Places

One of the best parts of traveling for work is getting to see new places across the country. But each new exotic locale, whether a rural farm town in Iowa or a big city on the coast, can present its own safety issues. Here are some simple things you can do to help you stay safe while traveling to unfamiliar places:

  • Familiarize yourself with local laws. Remember, the places in which you are staying and working may have different laws than your home town.
  • Utilize the hotel staff to find out about the area. The hotel lobby staff typically lives in the area and knows the surrounding trouble spots; use their knowledge or advice when it comes to any question about the area.
  • When outside the hotel be aware of your surroundings. Remember: having your head down, looking at your phone, having ear buds in, or other such body language makes you an easily identifiable and vulnerable target.

 

 

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