By Adriana Diaz
A former CIA and FBI agent is sharing her secrets for traveling safely — including which hotel rooms to book.
Tracy Walder, 44, has worked as an FBI special agent and CIA officer.
Both jobs taught her how to take extra precautions while on assignment, especially when abroad.
Before she begins any trip, Walder researches her destination for terrorism threats and sets up an app that alerts her contacts to her location in the event of an emergency.
The professor of criminal justice from Dallas makes sure to place an Apple Air Tag in her luggage and has her 8-year-old daughter wear a bracelet with the tracking device too.
When planning her trip, she never books private rentals, which she claims are “extremely dangerous and risky.”
“You also really don’t who is writing those reviews.”
Once she selects a hotel, Walder requests to stay in a room between the third and sixth floors.
She explained that these rooms are low enough to the main floor for emergency access, but far enough from intruders who enter on the ground floor.
“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,” Walder said.
“With getting out, if you’re too high on the 20th floor or 21st floor — it’s going to be really difficult for you to get out quickly.”
Once she’s in her room, Walder is always sure to lock and bolt the door and put a doorstopper down for an “extra level of security.”
“My husband, Ben, 44, teases me about it, and while it’s unlikely someone will break in, the reality is that hotel staff have a keycard to get into your room,” she shared.
Walder revealed that she added these safety measures to her travel routine after a classified work trip abroad left her feeling unsafe.
“Obviously I can’t be extremely specific as it’s still classified, but generally speaking, I am coming at it from the idea that I am in another country spying on them — so I have to assume the other country maybe knows who I am and is maybe trying to do harm to me,” she teased.
“They refused to move me from the first floor when I was on a job once, and so I started putting towels under the door.”
Walder also makes sure to give her family her itinerary so people are aware of her whereabouts and can locate her if needed.
“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,” Walder said of sharing her tips.