It is difficult to feel safe in a hotel. I don’t know about you, but when I am not in the comfort and security of my home, many little things bother me easily. It might be only details, but those details surely add up. It can lead to bad or interrupted sleep. And security is an important issue. Let’s see how we can feel as safe as possible, for ourselves and our belongings.
How safe is the safe provided with my hotel room? Should I use it? Hotel safes have several advantages. First, your belongings are hidden, out of sight. Secondly, a burglar can’t open a safe in a couple of minutes, and can’t afford to make noise or stay long. Thirdly, if the safe is blocked closed because you have forgotten your combination, the hotel manager will have a key or another combination to open it for you. Lastly, you will be better off leaving your valuables in the safe rather than putting them at risk in a taxi, bus, restaurant, meeting, etc.
But what if the hotel safe is not safe enough? What if someone has the code and takes advantage of it? And we shouldn’t forget that hotel safes are of poor quality. I will share my experience in this post and tell how I think a hotel safe can be further secured and in what circumstances.
Hotel Safes are safer than you think
Think about what you should do if you do not leave your valuables inside a safe. You should hide them in your hotel room (think under the mattress, behind the towels, in the cupboard, the fridge, etc.) This is not an easy task because you have to be pretty imaginative in an unfamiliar and small environment. And your valuables are at risk anyway. The safe might be a better option.
Or you have to take your important stuff all day long with you. You have to carry a bag, to put your valuables inside, or in the pocket of a jacket, jeans, in a briefcase, in your laptop bag, etc. And you will be hanging around all day in an unfamiliar city, taking a taxi or an Uber, a bus or a tramway. You will be attending a reunion together with many people. You will be going to the restaurant and even out at night. During all this time, where are your valuables less at risk? I definitely think, if they are not too small, the answer is in the hotel safe.
You might lose your valuables or have them stolen during the day if you bring everything with you.
The door or the window of your hotel room has to be broken for someone to even get access to your safe. Think about that. Not many people walk past your safe during the day. If the door is broken, it is a scandal, the hotel insurance has to cover you. You will file a complaint and be compensated. It is an order of magnitude more difficult to be compensated if a pick-pocket steel your valuables in the public transports.
Where does the danger come from?
Hopefully, you have read with interest the above explanations. But it is easy to find in the internet videos of hotel safes easily opened. This is scary.
Keep in mind that there are tens of thousands of safes out there and few videos are uploaded. That is to say the danger is overrated. When you want to have views on Youtube you upload only the video that show when you manage to open the safe, and make some buzz.
But understandably, I understand you want to take zero risk when it comes to security. Let’s see why hotel safes can be a problem.
Why are hotel safes not so safe?
- They are cheap safes. As such, they might sometimes be opened with a big screwdriver or a big punch while turning the knob (I will explain this on another post. But basically, if the lock has a magnetic part preventing the bolts to slide as opposed to mechanical, a big punch makes it move slightly allowing the knob to turn the bolts in that exact instant).
- You don’t know if there is a master code, or which special procedure allows opening the safe. In any case, the integrity of the hotel employees is the only guarantee of your security. Which is not always reassuring. But if there is a standard master code which hasn’t been changed by the hotel manager, an employee or a cleaning person might have a go…
- You don’t know who has access to the master key, who has a spare key. Those keys should be put inside a fire resistant safe in the manager office. And only the manager should have access to them. It is not of the responsibility of any employee to have those keys and use them in case of an emergency.
- Employees integrity. I see quite often several doors open at once when the cleaning is done. If the cleaning staff cannot keep an eye on each and every open room, this is definitely a danger. Usually, only if a room is empty, can it be left open for cleaning. But it is not often the case. Furthermore, even with a closed door, we never know each and every employee’s honesty.
3 Tips to secure your hotel safe
What to do to secure your hotel safe, then?
- First, check the usual factory codes. Check 00000, 123456, 1234, 0000 to see if the safe can be opened by those codes. If it is the case, you are better off taking your belongings with you all day, even if it is an inconvenience.
- You can leave some stuff against a receipt to the hotel manager to put in the central hotel safe. That is a possibility. Not in every country, I would try that though.
- Put an additional and personal lock to the hotel safe. The downside is you have to carry such an object with you. It takes space and is not really light. But it might prove to be helpful and save you the day.
Additional locks create a barrier that only you have the key to open and get access to the safe. Even the staff with a master key or a master code to override the lock can’t do anything to open the safe. Milockie Hotel safe lock is a bit light but might discourage someone willing to have an easy try. It is an additional barrier, at least a psychological one if someone needs tools to open the door of the safe.
You might also try out the BloXsafe Hotel Room Safe Security Lock. It is stronger but heavy and cumbersome. It won’t be easy to carry it with you on a plane, for example. But in your car, this is totally possible. It is easy to attach and quite sturdy. You can even use it to secure file cabinet and drawers. Only you have the key, not even the hotel manager. Furthermore, it is tamper-evident. Your safe can’t be against a wall to use this lock.
Be as safe as possible and read how to use a safe in a hotel : I have gathered interesting advice that will make you save time and effort in an unfamiliar environment.
Don’t be too afraid by Youtube videos. Hotel safes are often the safest place to put your valuables during a journey. Remember that your room is closed. But it might not be always the case. In order to secure further your belongings, you can put an additional lock to the safe. A master key or code can’t open the safe. If someone tries to tamper the additional lock, you will see it. If you don’t want to do that, another way to protect your valuables is to wear a portable pocket under your jacket. It works well. You feel it on you. But it is good only for light things that you won’t bother having with you all day.