The 9-Step Hotel Safety Checklist Used by Some CIA Operatives

July 8, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

You know how, when you’re on a mission, and you reach your hotel, you check for surveillance equipment, and secure the door against counter-intelligence operatives?

Not so much? Me neither.

Holiday Inn Express Daytona Beach ShoresDrew Dwyer does. He’s a Marine veteran and former CIA operative who shared his hotel check-in safety checklist with He’s been on countless missions in other countries, and developed a habit of making sure his hotel room was as safe as he could make it.

Our vacations may not be as danger-filled and exciting as Dwyer’s, but there are still a few things we can do to be safe while staying in a hotel. Here are a few of the items from Dwyer’s list.

  1. Don’t stay on the ground or top floor. The ground floor is too easily accessible, and Dwyer says the top floor doesn’t leave room to maneuver. Also, the lower you are, the easier it is to be rescued during an emergency.
  2. Keep the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. This will keep staff out of your room, and will make people think you’re already inside. (Also, spies are known for their good manners, and won’t break into an operative’s room if the sign is on the doorknob. Wink wink.)
  3. Keep a light on in the room when unoccupied. This lets you see your room the second you walk in. And if it’s off when you return, leave immediately, and ask someone from the front desk to check the room with you. Also, make them go first.
  4. Keep your drapes or blinds closed at all times, even when you’re not there. At the very least, closed drapes and a switched-on light keeps people from knowing when you’re actually coming and going.
  5. Finally, have a flashlight on your bedside table and within arm’s reach when you sleep. This is usually a good idea when you’re in a hotel anyway. Most electrical outlets are near the TV or the desk, which means your phone is several feet away, charging overnight. The flashlight will let you see where you’re going if you have to get up in the middle of the night.

What do you do for security in your hotel room? Do you have steps you take, or do you lock the door and hope for the best? Leave us a comment below on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Gamweb (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons)


Erik Deckers is a travel writer, as well as a content marketer and book author. He is the co-author of Branding Yourself, No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine. Erik has been blogging since 1997, and has been a newspaper humor columnist for over 20 years

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