Travel Tip: How I Keep from Spoiling My Hotel Key Card

key card

You may have had this happen, too (perhaps it is more of a problem for guys than for ladies), but I would find myself at my hotel room door, trying to open the lock with a key card, and only see a red light in response. This has happened when I was tired and needed some sleep, or while on a five minute break during a conference.

A key malfunction requires one to make a mandatory visit to the front desk, as the clerk is the only person who can solve the problem at hand. This is especially troublesome when at a conference hotel, and there is already a line of people waiting to have their key cards reactivated.

I’ve been told that my cell phone is most likely the culprit, as the phone demagnetizes the strip on the card. The solution, I am told, it to keep the card away from my smartphone.

This sounded simple, so I would put the key in my left front trouser pocket, while my phone would safely rest in my right front trouser pocket. This would work, as I made my way back to my room. Later in the day, however, while back at the conference or touring the city, my phone and card would somehow make a connection, and the key would, again, deactivate. Sometimes I would find the card and phone in a warm embrace in one or the other pockets. I would have to go back to the front desk and humbly repeat my plea for assistance, “My key doesn’t work, can you please help me?”

Another way I have tried to solve this dilemma was by placing the key in my shirt pocket, but the problems with this included the following:  (1) The card fell out when I bent over; (2) I didn’t have a pocket on my shirt; (3) Or, embarrassingly, I forgot I had placed it in my shirt pocket (they are light as a feather, by the way). and asked for a replacement key.

One day, I noticed a young lady who was wearing her younger sister’s jeans (I am sure of this, because they were very tight fitting, and certainly were not the correct size). Inside her back pocket was a smart phone. About 75% of the phone was exposed, and I wondered if she were about to lose it. But, honestly, I’ve seen this type of behavior around the world, and wonder how many young ladies lose their phones in toilets, on busses or simply while strolling through a park. Ah, but then I also recalled that most of the time, smart phones are not in pockets, but in hands, as people often are looking at their phones. And contrary to what my wife thinks, I am not always looking at my cell phone, just usually when she is talking (!).

Anyhow, my eureka moment caused me to consider stuffing a key card in my back pocket, like the young lady had stuffed 25% of her phone in her back pocket. And now, that is exactly what I do: I keep my phone in my front pocket and my card in my left back pocket.

And in the three months that I have been following this policy, (in about ten separate hotel stays), I have not had the pleasure of interrupting a hotel clerk (while she was playing games on her cell phone) in order to reactivate my key card.

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