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When it comes to travel, hotel room safety is a top concern for many of us. We all want peace of mind, knowing that we can relax and rest securely in our temporary home away from home. Hotel security measures vary from place to place, and even the best locks and key cards can sometimes leave us feeling a bit vulnerable.

Why Door Security Matters In Hotels?

Travelers often worry about the safety of their belongings and themselves while staying in unfamiliar places. While most hotels invest in secure locks and professional staff, it’s always wise to take proactive measures to ensure peace of mind. Despite their reliability, hotel room locks may sometimes feel less secure due to factors like previous guests having access to keys or card copies.

The Towel As An Improvised Doorstop

Similar to using a hanger to secure your hotel room door, the concept is straightforward: a towel can serve as a makeshift doorstop. It’s a low-cost, easy-to-implement method that can deter unwanted entry, even if the hotel room’s locks are compromised.

  1. Preparation: Start by selecting a clean and dry towel from your luggage. A hand towel or bath towel will work, depending on the gap under your door.
  2. Placing the Towel Under the Door: Open the door slightly and slide the Towel underneath. Make sure it’s centered under the door, covering the gap entirely.
  3. Securing the Towel in Place: Close the door as much as possible while ensuring the Towel remains in position. If your door has a hinge at the bottom, you can also use it to secure the Towel further by closing the door until it holds the Towel in place.

How Effective Is The Towel Method?

The effectiveness of the towel method for securing a hotel room door depends on several factors, including the door’s design, the type of lock in use, and the skill level of potential intruders.


The towel method can work as a deterrent against casual or opportunistic intruders. It’s a visible obstacle that may discourage someone from attempting to enter your room, especially if they believe you’re inside.

Limited Protection

While it can provide added security, it’s essential to recognize that the towel method is not a foolproof security measure. It won’t prevent someone with a master key or advanced lock-picking skills from entering your room.

Door Design Matters

The effectiveness of the towel method also depends on the design of the door and the gap underneath it. Some hotel room doors may have more significant gaps or uneven floors, making creating a secure barrier with a towel more challenging.

Peace Of Mind

For many travelers, the towel method offers a psychological benefit by providing a sense of control and security. Knowing that you’ve taken an additional precaution can contribute to your peace of mind during your stay.

How To Know The Towel Method Failed At Securing The Room?

Knowing when the towel method has failed at securing your hotel room is essential for your safety and peace of mind. Here are some signs that indicate the towel method may not be effective in ensuring the security of your room:

Resistance From Outside

If you notice resistance or pressure against the Towel from the outside, it’s a clear sign that someone is attempting to enter your room. This resistance can be accompanied by slight movements or sounds at the door.

Towel Displaced

Check if the Towel has been moved from its original position under the door. If you find the Towel has been pushed aside or is no longer blocking the gap, it’s a sign of an attempted breach.

Unauthorized Entry

In the worst-case scenario, if someone manages to enter your room without your permission despite the towel method, it has undoubtedly failed. Take immediate action to protect yourself and contact hotel security or authorities.

Visible Gap

Check if there is still a visible gap under the door, even with the Towel in place. If light or air can pass through the gap, it suggests that the towel method may not be effective due to a poorly designed door or uneven floor.

Uneven Door Fit

Some hotel room doors may have design flaws or poor maintenance that make them difficult to secure with a towel. If you notice that the door doesn’t fit properly in its frame, it may compromise the effectiveness of the method.

Inadequate Locks

If your hotel room’s door lock is compromised or not functioning correctly, it can render the towel method less effective. Always test the door lock’s functionality upon entering your room.

Staff Assistance

If hotel staff or security personnel inform you that there have been unauthorized attempts to enter your room despite the towel method, it’s a clear sign that it has failed.

Personal Concerns

Trust your instincts. If you have a gut feeling that your room’s security is compromised or that someone may have tampered with the Towel, take immediate action to address the situation.

What If The Towel Method Doesn’t Work On Your Hotel Room Door?

If the towel method doesn’t work effectively on your hotel room door, you should take alternative measures to ensure your safety and security during your stay.

  1. Contact Hotel Staff: Explain the situation and express your concerns about the door’s security. The hotel staff is trained to handle such issues and may offer solutions.
  2. Use the Deadbolt Lock: Regardless of whether the towel method works, always use the deadbolt lock on your hotel room door when you are inside. This is usually more robust than the standard lock.
  3. Doorstop Alarm: Use a portable doorstop alarm. These devices emit loud sounds when pressure is applied to the door, alerting you to any attempted entry.
  4. Room Change: Request a room change to one that offers better security. Hotels typically prioritize guest safety and will accommodate your request if there is a genuine security concern.
  5. Consider External Security Devices: In some cases, travelers may bring their own security devices, such as portable door locks or security bars, which can be placed on the inside of the door to provide an extra layer of protection.
  6. Room Safe: Use the room safe to store your valuable items, including passports, electronics, and jewelry. This way, your most important belongings are protected even if someone gains access to your room. Make sure to set a security code.
  7. Keep a Low Profile: Avoid drawing unnecessary attention to your room by broadcasting your presence with loud conversation. Don’t discuss your whereabouts with strangers or leave a “Do Not Disturb” sign judiciously on the door for extended periods when absent.

What Other Hotel Room Security Tips Besides Using The Towel Method?

While the towel method can add an extra layer of security, there are several hotel room security tips you can implement in addition to enhancing your safety and peace of mind.

  1. Door Viewer (Peephole): Before opening your hotel room door, use the peephole to verify the identity of anyone knocking or attempting to enter. If you’re unsure, call the front desk to confirm their legitimacy.
  2. Travel Door Locks: Invest in portable travel door locks or security bars. These devices can be placed on the inside of the door to provide an extra layer of protection, even if the door lock is compromised.
  3. Secure Your Valuables: Secure your valuables by using safety deposit boxes at the front desk for essential documents and valuables like passports, electronics, and jewelry that you don’t need during your stay.
  4. Store Room Key Securely: Be mindful of where you keep your room key and avoid leaving it in easily accessible places like pockets that can be easily picked.
  5. Check Windows and Balconies: Ensure windows and balcony doors are securely locked when not used. Some hotels have balcony access, so maintaining their security is essential.
  6. Hotel Security Information: Familiarize yourself with the hotel’s emergency procedures and locations of fire exits. Knowing how to exit the building in case of an emergency is crucial for your safety.
  7. Secure Curtains or Blinds: Keep curtains or blinds closed when not in your room to prevent prying eyes from seeing inside.
  8. Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers theft and loss of belongings. This can provide financial protection in case of theft.
  9. Personal Vigilance: Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings inside and outside the hotel. Trust your instincts and take appropriate action if something doesn’t feel right.
  10. Keep Your Room Key Secure: Be mindful of where you keep your room key and avoid leaving it in easily accessible places like pockets that can be easily picked.

Potential Concerns And Limitations

The towel trick works well as a deterrent, but it won’t guarantee that your hotel room will be more secure. If a person has a master key or another way to open the door without using a lock, it won’t stop them from accessing your room. It may also not work well on doors with significant gaps or uneven floors. In such cases, you should consider using a doorstop alarm or requesting a room change.


The security of your hotel room should never be taken lightly, and while no method is 100% secure, using a towel as a temporary doorstop can give an extra layer of security while you’re away. Using this technique and other promising security precautions, you can sleep better knowing that you’ve taken steps to increase your safety and peace of mind when traveling. Remember that your safety is the top priority, and taking extra precautions can assist in guaranteeing a worry-free stay.

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