Parking garages are a fact of life for many travelers. On your next trip, whether you are parking at the airport or a hotel, a little planning and common sense can help you feel confident about your safety.
- Hands Free – Pack everything into a rolling suitcase or a bag with a shoulder strap. It is important to keep your hands free. Place all expensive jewelry or cash into your largest carry-on bag; never put these items into your purse or wallet (which can be easy to steal), or in your checked luggage.
- Call Ahead – Call ahead to your hotel and verify if valet parking is available. Often you will find that it is worth the few dollars to have the hotel staff park and retrieve your car. Your luggage can be unloaded by staff directly in front of the entrance, allowing you to immediately head to the lobby. Not only does this save time, it also decreases the possibility that you will be a target. If valet parking is not an option, be sure to ask for an escort from the garage to the lobby.
- Be Alert – Pay attention to your surroundings at all times. Be sure to look around as you arrive, noting your nearest exit location, the parking spaces closest to other vehicles, as well as cameras that are the most visibly lit.
- Park Carefully – Park your car in the best lit space. Do not park in a crammed space or one that is too close to a wall and leaves you without an exit. If possible, select a space that is near other vehicles and that is also covered by cameras. If you have luggage, open your trunk while you are inside the car then quickly get out, get your things and head out of the garage. Do not hang around or wander.
- ICE – Have your hands-free cell phone clipped to you and ready for use. If possible, program 9-1-1 on your speed dial. Also set your emergency contact number under the title of ICE (In Case of Emergency). Many police officers and paramedics are trained to search for this.
- Dress Wisely – Avoid wearing items such as scarves, necklaces, or braids that someone can grab and hold onto. Avoid wearing items such as big hats and tall heels that will make it difficult for you to escape or to watch your surroundings adequately. If you carry an iPod, remove your earphones until you are safely outside the garage and have arrived at your destination.
- Look Like You Belong – As you are walking, be sure to glance around and continue to observe your surroundings. Do not present the appearance that you are a victim; walk with your head high.
US Travel Insurance Association (UStiA)
UStiA is a national association of insurance carriers, third-party administrators, insurance agencies and related businesses involved in the development, administration and marketing of travel insurance and travel assistance products.