By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — After a long day of travel — whether it’s by car or plane — a person on vacation still needs to be aware of their surroundings during their hotel stay.

“Travelers, when they get to their hotel, are tired, in need of a shower and food,” said Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart during his weekly interview. “Sometimes, a person will let their guard down to their surroundings.”

Before arriving at the hotel, said Lenhart, he recommends working with a hotel that you have stayed at in the past.

“Choose a hotel brand when traveling,” said Lenhart. “When I was doing a lot of traveling when I was employed in the private sector, I stayed at the same hotel. I would always get a room on the second through sixth floor.”

The second floor room, he said, discourages someone from trying to break in through a window, which could happen if the hotel room is on the first floor. He said most fire departments have engines with ladders that will reach the sixth floor rooms.

“Once you’re at the hotel, stay with your luggage,” said Lenhart. “People are watching you to see if you’re paying attention to where your luggage is.

“During check-in, the hotel worker should write your room number down on a piece of paper instead of staying the number verbally,” he said. “Also, don’t put your credit card on the counter.”

A person could snap of photo of the card, he said.

Lenhart also recommends asking for a business card for the hotel.

“That way you’ll have their address and emergency numbers if you need something while you’re away from the hotel,” said Lenhart.

Lenhart said when he’s traveling, he always enters his hotel room number in his cellphone.

“When I worked at the bureau, we stayed at a different room every night,” he said. “This way, I knew what the room number was for the night.”

Lenhart said when it’s time to go to your room, you should continue to stay with your luggage even if a hotel employee is taking it to the room.

“Do a visual on the room before you enter it,” said Lenhart. “Make sure the locks are working properly. Usually you’ll have a chain or dead bolt on the door. You should always use them when you’re in the room.”

Become familiar with escape routes from the room, he said. This includes stairs and emergency exits.

“Keep your cellphone by your bed,” he said. “If something happens, you’ll have your phone nearby to grab when you leave the room. Plus the phone has a flashlight which might come in handy.”

He said you should also keep the room tidy so you can tell if someone has entered it while you were gone.

“Also, take pictures of the room,” he said. “If you lose your room key, immediately go to reception and have it replaced with another number.”

A person with a conceal carry license can take their weapon into the hotel room “because the hotel room is an extension of your home,” said Lenhart. A traveler should make sure that Ohio’s conceal carry license is acceptable if they are traveling out of state.

“Use the hotel safe to keep your extra money in or jewelry,” said Lenhart.

His final tips concern germs and bedbugs. He said the place in a hotel room that has the most germs is a TV changer.

“When I was doing some research, it said you should slip a plastic bag over the changer,” he said.

And when you arrive in your room, check it for bedbugs, he said.

“Roll back the sheets and look,” said Lenhart. “You’ll be able to tell quickly if there are any friendly critters in there with you.”

Bedbugs, he said, can get into luggage and then “go home with you.”

“As a precaution, don’t store your luggage on the floor,” said Lenhart.

By Melanie Speicher

The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.

The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.