Tracy Walder, a 44-year-old former CIA officer and FBI special agent has divulged her essential safety guidelines for travelers, emphasizing the importance of choosing the right hotel floors and steering clear of private rentals.
Having served in the CIA and FBI between 2000 and 2005, Walder acquired a unique set of skills to ensure her safety during overseas assignments. Today, this Dallas-based criminal justice professor is imparting her wisdom to the public through a TikTok video. Her advice ranges from using a doorstop for added security to sharing travel plans with family and having a panic button app on hand.
Before embarking on any trip, Tracy conducts thorough research on her destination, assessing potential threats. She also sets up an app that notifies her contacts of her whereabouts in case of emergencies.
In terms of hotel accommodations, Tracy’s preference is for rooms situated between the third and sixth floors. These are easily accessible during emergencies but are also sufficiently elevated to deter potential intruders who might target the more accessible ground floor. She emphasizes that higher floors can pose escape challenges during emergencies.
To bolster her room’s security, Tracy ensures the door is bolted and the security lock is engaged. She further recommends using a doorstop for an additional layer of protection, noting that not all hotels provide them.
On a recent trip to Florida, Tracy exemplified her advice by requesting a room change from the first to the fourth floor. For her, these safety measures have become second nature. She recalls an instance when a hotel declined her request for a room on a higher floor, prompting her to place towels under the door as an added precaution.
In certain countries, Tracy has observed that hotel doors often face the outdoors, necessitating extra precautions against potential threats. She candidly shares that her husband, Ben, often teases her about her meticulous safety habits. However, she underscores the reality that hotel staff have access to rooms, emphasizing the need for vigilance.
Beyond securing her hotel room, Tracy shares her travel itinerary with her family and uses the Panic Button app, a tool she highly recommends due to its cost-free nature and vital safety features.
The mother of one strongly advises against staying in private rentals, deeming them “extremely dangerous and risky.” She cautions travelers about the potential pitfalls of trusting online reviews, as their authenticity can be questionable.
To ensure her daughter’s safety, Tracy uses AirTag bracelets as a tracking device and also places them in her luggage. Her commitment to personal safety was heightened after a particular trip abroad where she felt vulnerable.
She was taken aback when a friend, who often travels solo, admitted to not always prioritizing personal safety. Tracy’s philosophy is to always be on guard, especially in foreign countries where someone might recognize her and pose a threat.
Tracy’s aim is to empower travelers with various security measures that don’t necessarily require additional purchases. Apart from sharing safety tips, she frequently posts videos on child internet safety, her favorite safety gear, and offers insights on current news topics.
When not active on TikTok, Tracy contributes to News Nation as a national security expert and has penned the book, “The Unexpected Spy.”
Photo: Courtesy of Tracy Walder