With holiday season in full swing TripAdvisor is awash with both glowing hotel recommendations and stay clear complaints. We’ve also noticed a host of comments regarding hotel safes and deposit lockers failing to provide full protection in hotels across the globe. Not exactly what you wanted to hear before jetting off on holiday with a suitcase full of valuables.
Whilst most travel tips suggest that you leave your valuables in your hotel safe, we wonder just how secure they really are.
Why Use A Safe in The First Place?
When travelling, particularly abroad where a different currency is required, it is highly likely that you will be carrying large quantities of money. Along with a passport it is common for travellers to carry a multitude of valuables such as watches and jewellery which cannot simply sit on the bedside table of a hotel room.
For this reason, many hotel guests turn to their in-room safe to secure their belongings. But could this be lulling them into a false sense of security? Unfortunately the answer to this question is all too often yes.
All That’s Wrong with a Hotel Safe
In many hotels, the in-room safes are not covered by the hotel’s insurance which is controversial considering the encouragement to use them by hotels themselves.
All hotels will have a ‘backdoor’ into the safe which is added in case a guest forgets their code or loses the key. There is usually a master code provided by the manufacturer, which is meant for similar emergencies. Therefore programming a code at the beginning of your holiday is often arguable as an overriding sequence is always in place.
Unfortunately hotel owners often fail to change the overriding code on a regular basis ultimately making life easy for thieves. When a safe has a way for unauthorised people to get in, whether staff or not, you are always going to run the risk of theft.
And it isn’t only these features that let us down as we’re about to explain. A couple of years ago two Russian thieves stole large quantities of valuables from in-room safes. How? After paying for their own room they would wait for cleaning staff to arrive at the neighbouring suites before walking in and claiming the room as their own. They would even go as far as taking showers or changing clothes to prove a point before claiming to have forgotten the passcode to the in-room safe. The maid would then open it for them allowing the thieves to walk off with money, credit cards, watches, and jewellery.
Your Hotel Checklist
If you decide to use your in-room safe be sure to use our simple checklist before leaving your valued possessions behind. Having done so you may want to place your belongings in the front desk safes, which are generally more secure and known to have better liability protection.
- Check that it is securely fixed in place – Give it a tug, if you can move your safe then surely having a safe is meaningless. Any thief could just pick it up and walk out of your room.
- If it looks cobbled together and is more worryingly secured by a padlock, then avoid at all costs.
- Never leave your room key on display when you are sat around the pool or at dinner – potential thieves will know what room you are in, that it is currently empty, and that you could be away for some time.
- Ask yourself whether you really need to bring all that fine jewellery along with you.
- In-room safes vary in size and all of your large valuables like laptops or tablets may not fit. It is a good idea to enquire about safe sizes before embarking on your trip and you can therefore choose to leave them at home. Alternatively, take them to the front desk.
Securing Your Valuables
At the end of the day there is no definitive answer to this question. When using a hotel safe you may be perfectly secure, as these things are often down to chance. However, it is important to keep all of the above in mind to ensure that you are fully aware of the risks when using your in-room safe.
For more information on any aspect of security or domestic or commercial safes, why not give our friendly and experienced team a call on 0117 967 4994.