Flight attendant reveals her hotel safety tips when staying in sketchy areas: ‘I’d rather just sleep in the airport’

A flight attendant shared her safety routine when her job brings her to shady hotels and motels, and now her tips and tricks are going viral.

TikToker Haley Simpson (@haleymichellesimpson) gained more than 14.8 million views, 1.6 million likes, 63,000 saves and 8,400 comments when she uploaded her safety tips to the app.

While we’ve seen important PSAs go viral on TikTok before — like the ICU nurse who gained millions of views when she took to the app to beg people not to rent e-scooters — Simpson’s video is inspiring travelers to closely inspect their hotel rooms, especially those in seedy areas.

Simpson’s video — captioned “& thank God that remote was there because it definitely fell & I woke up to see a shadow under my door running away. 🙃” — begins with what she does immediately upon entering hotel rooms.

According to Simpson, the area she was staying in for this particular video is known for human trafficking, so she was taking no chances when it came to her safety.

Immediately after locking the door, she checks each of the mirrors to make sure they’re not two-way.

She then ensures her phone is working, looks under her bed, clears the bathroom area, plugs the peephole with a napkin, plants a remote control booby trap on her door handle then ensures her window curtains are pulled shut.

Simpson later filmed a follow-up video to clarify how she ended up in this particular hotel, and how travel booking tends to work for flight attendants.

In additional follow-up videos, Simpson further explained her mirror check, and clarified that she also checks for bedbugs.

‘I’d sleep in the terminal before sleeping there’

Nearly 8,500 viewers reacted to Simpson’s video in the comments.

“No way. Couldn’t pay me to stay there 😳” commented @beachlife0805.

“Ohh my. I’d rather just sleep in the airport,” wrote @noelmulk0.

“I’d sleep in the terminal before sleeping there. Glad you’re safe,” commented @conchpiston.

“Aaaaand that’s life as a Woman. Don’t let anyone say that’s too precautious, it’s literally your life,” commented @stephaniewatt92.

Other TikTokers weighed in to share their own safety tips.

“my rule of thumb is never stay in a hotel that has access into the room from the parking lot/streets 😳” commented @tgr5724.

“Bring hair clippies for holding curtains together,” wrote @drkittymcfluffyballs.

“Make sure the windows are locked,” commented @babyydawsonn.

To this, Simpson replied, “Oohhhh, never even thought about this one! Thankfully I think these windows didn’t open, but good to add for future checks!”

‘Come up with quick lies’

To learn more about how to stay safe while traveling, In The Know by Yahoo spoke to safety and security expert Cathy Pedrayes of Mom Friend Guide, who provided the following tips:

  1. Do your research. Before selecting a hotel or vacation rental, look at the reviews, the photos online, what the area looks like, how you’ll get to the hotel, etc. This will prevent any surprises of you showing up to a place that doesn’t meet your standards or ending up stranded because you can’t find transportation.

  2. Avoid hotels with exterior facing room doors. This isn’t always possible, but I avoid hotels where I can enter my room directly from a parking lot. Unless it’s a resort or there’s an outdoor room feature like a balcony or a pool, I’d rather have to walk through the hotel to access my room. The reason being that I know the lobby will often have a 24-hour front desk and if someone was making me uncomfortable, I could always hang out in the lobby with the staff as a diversion instead of having to go directly to my room.

  3. Be familiar with common travel scams. One of the risks when traveling is getting caught up in a scam. Whether it’s booking a vacation rental that doesn’t really exist or getting a scam call to your room pretending to be hotel staff, be familiar with what some of the common red flags are.

  4. Opt to arrive during daytime/business hours. When possible, try to avoid arriving at your destination in the middle of the night. If you need any support services, it’ll be much easier to contact people during business hours.

  5. Always deadbolt and lock your door. This is for safety, but also sometimes hotels make mistakes and accidentally assign two people to the same room.

  6. Get comfortable lying. Sometimes a friendly conversation can get too personal with strangers asking where you’re staying or who you’re traveling with or if it’s your first time visiting the city, etc. These can seem innocent in conversation, but ultimately they end up giving away too many details that can affect your safety. Come up with quick lies so you’re prepared for these seemingly innocent questions, especially in instances when you don’t want to be confrontational.

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