‘I’m a former FBI agent – you should always sleep on the third floor in hotels’

A former CIA and FBI agent has revealed her top tips for staying safe when travelling – including trying to book a room on the third floor in hotels. .

Tracy Walder, 44, worked for the CIA as an officer and the FBI as a special agent between 2000 and 2005, so she knows a thing or two about taking extra precautions when abroad. She has now shared her top tips for safety including using a door stop, sharing your itinerary and downloading a panic button app.

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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.

When staying in hotels, Tracy opts to stay in a room located between the third and sixth floors – low enough for emergency access but far away enough from any intruders who might enter on the ground floor.

She also always uses the security lock in hotel rooms and travels with a door stop – she also ensures she has an Apple AirTag tracker in her luggage.

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The former agent even uses an AirTag bracelet for her daughter, eight, to wear while abroad, and refuses to use private rented accommodation because of security risks.

Tracy, now professor of criminal justice, from Dallas, Texas, US, said: "The tips that I was sharing weren't necessarily things that I was able to take advantage of while working as an agent all the time but I always do them now. I was surprised by how much a friend didn't necessarily think about personal safety when she was travelling alone.

"When it comes to floor level, there's two things – first is entering. Typically, someone who's trying to do harm is going to go the easiest way that they can and that would be entering through the first floor as it is most accessible. With getting out, if you're too high on 20th floor or 21st floor – it's going to be really difficult for you to get out quickly.

"For me it's second nature now, I just got back from a trip to Florida this weekend and they had me on the first floor. I asked to be moved and they put me on the fourth floor."

She added: "The other thing I do is bolt the room and put the security lock across. 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."

The travel pro said she adopted the new tricks after one particular trip where she felt in danger, although she says she can't be "specific as it's still classified".

She added that if she was "spying" in another country she would "have to assume the other country maybe knows who I am and is maybe trying to do harm to me".

After bolting the door shut, Tracy puts down a door stop to give herself even more security.

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.

"I think that's a really important thing to do – and it's free as well," Tracy said.

The mum-of-one refuses to stay in private rented accommodation – calling it "risky."

She said: "I will not stay in those sorts of places – I find them extremely dangerous and risky. You are really putting your trust in someone that you don't know to stay in their home. You also really don't who is writing those reviews."

Tracy always uses AirTags, and even uses them in place of a phone for her daughter.

She said: "I always put AirTags in all of my luggage. If you are travelling with your child, they make AirTag bracelets so just incase you get separated, they have that on. So that's something to think about too."

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