Why This Commonly Overlooked Hotel Habit Might Put You In Danger

Hotel room keys can be a pain. Whether you're always leaving it behind accidentally or keep losing it in a sea of receipts and gum wrappers at the bottom of your bag, there are few things as inconvenient as having to carry around a little piece of plastic to let you back into your room. But did you ever imagine that a simple hotel keycard could actually be putting you and your travel buddies in danger — especially if it got into the wrong hands?

According to TikToker @waltermasterson, your hotel keycard sleeve has a lot more information on it than you may realized. From the hotel name to the specific room number you're staying in and even your full name, this seemingly innocent piece of paper can give away much more information than you're comfortable with strangers knowing.

Moreover, these details could even lead to someone charging meals or drinks to your room or even tracking you down online to know more about your whereabouts. Even worse, losing your keycard with the sleeve on it could even result in unwanted visits when you least expect them. Terrifying, right? Yes. Absolutely.

Lost key? No problem

The most important thing you need to do in order to avoid this is pretty clear: don't store your card in the hotel sleeve. Instead, keep it safe in your wallet along with other personal items — think credit cards, ID, etc. — or elsewhere in your bag where you know you can find it. And if you do happen to lose your keycard, try not to worry too much. Just make sure to report it to the hotel immediately so they can deactivate it and provide you with a new one. Fair warning, though: some hotels might charge anything from a few bucks to $50 for a replacement.

Luckily, though, and contrary to popular belief, your hotel keycard doesn't have any significant personal information you need to worry about being out in the world. In fact, most room cards only have two details stored in them: your room number and the dates of your stay that determine how long the card should work for. This means that the chances of identity theft from a lost room key are slim to none.

If hotel room safety is still a concern — even after the original lost key has been deactivated — there are other measures you can take. Whether it's trying the viral coat hanger TikTok hack, using a towel over the door latch, or traveling with a portable lock and alarm combo, safety doesn't have to be an issue.