A former CIA and FBI agent has revealed her top tips for staying safe while traveling, including sleeping on specific hotel levels and avoiding private rentals.
Tracy Walder, 44, worked for the CIA as an officer and the FBI as a special agent between 2000 and 2005, and learnt how to take extra precautions while on assignments abroad.
Now the Dallas-based professor of criminal justice shared her top tips for safety in a TikTok video, including using a doorstop, sharing your itinerary with family and downloading a panic button app.
Before she even steps foot in a foreign country, Tracy researches the area for any threats and sets up an app that alerts contacts to her location in the event of an emergency.
A former CIA and FBI agent has revealed her top tips for staying safe while traveling, including sleeping on a specific hotel level and avoiding private rental accommodation
When visiting hotels, Tracy opts to stay in a room located between the third and sixth floors – low enough for emergency access but far up from any intruders who might enter on the ground floor, which is ‘most accessible.’
If you are staying on an upper floor level, it will be ‘difficult for you to get out quickly.’
Regardless of the floor level, she ‘bolts the room’ and ‘puts the security lock across’ on her door.
After bolting it shut, Tracy puts down a doorstop to give herself even more security and warns that some hotels may not have them or safety latches.
Tracy practices what she preaches. She recently went on a trip to Florida and requested to be moved from the first to the forth floor.
Tracy states that the safety protocols are ‘second nature now.’
One time when she was traveling for work her hotel ‘refused’ to move her room to a higher floor so her go-to was to place ‘towels under the door.’
In a specific country, Tracy noticed that ‘all the hotel doors faced outside’ and she had to take ‘extra precaution’ because ‘someone could fire something in.’
Tracy Walder, 44, worked for the CIA as an officer and the FBI as a special agent between 2000 and 2005, and learnt how to take extra precautions while on assignments abroad
‘My husband, Ben, 44, teases me about it and while it’s unlikely someone will break in, the reality is is that hotel staff have a keycard to get into your room,’ Tracy said.
Former CIA and FBI agent’s top tips for staying safe while traveling
Stay on hotel floors three to six
Lock security locks in hotels
Use a door stop
Download the Panic Button app
Share your itinerary with family
Put AirTags in luggage
Research country for threats
As well as controlling the security of her hotel room, Tracy shares her itinerary with her family as well using the Panic Button app, which alerts her emergency contacts to her location if pressed.
She is a huge fan of the ‘important’ safety button and loves that it’s free.
The mom-of-one refuses to stay in private rental accommodations and calls it ‘extremely dangerous and risky’ because you are ‘trusting’ a stranger ‘in their home.
She also warns that travelers don’t know who’s actually writing up the reviews for places.
While traveling Tracy places AirTag bracelets on her daughter in place of a phone and puts them in all her luggage.
Tracy began adopting her new tricks after a certain trip abroad left her feeling like she could be in danger.
She has a friend who travels alone and was ‘surprised’ to learn how much she didn’t ‘necessarily think about personal safety.’
Her mindset is that one should assume that when they’re in a different country, someone may ‘know who she is’ and is ‘maybe trying to do harm’ to her.
Now the Dallas-based professor of criminal justice shares her top tips for safety including using a doorstop, sharing your itinerary and downloading a panic button app
‘My hope was to give people all different variations [of] security control and encourage them to use things they can control or already have – without having to buy anything,’ she said.
She often posts videos about child internet safety, safety gear that she loves and her commentary on controversial news topics.
When she’s not posting videos on her TikTok account, Tracy serves as a national security contributor to News Nation.
She is also the author of The Unexpected Spy.