A former CIA and FBI agent has shared her top tips for staying safe while traveling, including sleeping on certain hotel floors and avoiding private rentals.
Tracy Walder, 44, worked as an officer for the CIA and as a special agent for the FBI between 2000 and 2005 and learned to take extra precautions when deployed abroad.
Now, in a TikTok video, the Dallas-based criminal justice professor shared her top safety tips, including using a doorstop, sharing your itinerary with family and downloading a panic button app.
Before she even sets foot in a foreign country, Tracy scouts the area for possible threats and sets up an app that will alert contacts of her location in the event of an emergency.
A former CIA and FBI agent has shared her top tips for staying safe while traveling, including sleeping on a specific hotel floor and avoiding private rentals
When visiting hotels, Tracy prefers to stay in a room between the third and sixth floors – low enough for emergency access, but high up from any intruders who might enter the ground floor, which is “most accessible.”
If you live on a high floor, you will find it “difficult to get out quickly.”
Regardless of the floor level, she locks the room and attaches the security lock to her door.
After locking the door, Tracy installs a doorstop to give herself even more security, warning that some hotels may not have doorstops or security locks.
Tracy practices what she preaches. She was recently on a trip to Florida and requested a move from the first floor to the fourth floor.
Tracy states that the safety protocols have now become “second nature.”
Once, when she was traveling for work, her hotel “refused” to move her room to a higher floor, so she “put towels under the door.”
In one particular country, Tracy noted that “all the hotel doors faced outward” and she had to take “special precautions” because “someone might shoot something in.”
Tracy Walder, 44, worked as an officer for the CIA and as a special agent for the FBI between 2000 and 2005 and learned to take extra precautions when deployed abroad
“My husband Ben, 44, teases me about it and although it’s unlikely anyone will break in, the reality is that hotel staff have a key card to get into your room,” Tracy said.
A 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 doorstop
Download the Panic Button app
Share your itinerary with the family
Put AirTags in your luggage
Explore the land for threats
In addition to controlling the security of her hotel room, Tracy communicates her travel route to her family using the Panic Button app, which, when pressed, notifies her emergency contacts of her location.
She’s a big fan of the “important” security button and loves that it’s free.
The mother of one refuses to stay in private rental accommodation, calling it “extremely dangerous and risky” because of “trusting” a stranger “in her home.”
She also warns that travelers don’t know who actually writes the reviews for places.
When traveling, Tracy puts AirTag bracelets on her daughter instead of a phone and stores them in all her luggage.
Tracy began using her new tricks after a particular trip abroad left her feeling like she was in danger.
She has a friend who travels alone and was “surprised” to learn how she “didn’t necessarily think about personal safety.”
Her attitude is that one should assume that someone in another country “knows who she is” and “may be trying to harm her.”
Now, the Dallas-based criminal justice professor shares her top safety tips, including using a doorstop, sharing your travel route and downloading a panic button app
“My hope was to give people all kinds of variations.” [of] “We’re improving security controls and encouraging them to use things they can control or already have – without having to buy anything,” she said.
She often posts videos about child safety online, the safety gear she loves, and her comments on controversial news topics.
When she’s not posting videos on her TikTok account, Tracy works as a national security staffer at News Nation.
She is also the author of The Unexpected Spy.