How secure is your hotel room safe?

The advent of safes in hotel rooms has made everyone feel a little bit executive.

Prior to the hotel room safe, valuables such as passports, currency and jewellery had to be kept in the main safe at reception. Part of the routine of a package holiday used to be a trip to reception every few days to check on your passport and air tickets home, draw out some more holiday spending money and inspect the state of your jewellery box.

Nowadays we expect our hotel room to have its own safe, which we can spend many happy hours on holiday trying to program and re-program with an ingenious code that would defy Bletchley Park’s finest.

But how safe are hotel safes?

More holiday makers are reporting having items go missing from their rooms – and if this can happen, surely the room safe could also be interfered with, or even removed from the wardrobe with your valuables still inside.

Such events are rare, however – but if you are keeping money inside your hotel room safe, it is a good idea to keep a little spare cash in a lockable suitcase (hard shell suitcases are excellent for this).

Most thieves are opportunist, so if there is a safe with a code which needs to be cracked, it is more likely they will look for a designer jacket or expensive perfume to steal, which can be sold or passed on quickly.

If you are nervous about using hotel safes, ask in advance of booking at a hotel whether there has ever been an incident of theft from a hotel safe or guest room – and also make sure you take out comprehensive travel insurance to cover theft on holiday.

It is also wise not to take valuables to destinations where the local infrastructure may be underdeveloped or still developing, as wearing expensive watches or carrying expensive mobile phones can make you vulnerable to organised crime.

The best thing to do with valuables when you go on holiday is to leave them with family or friends at home – or place them in a safety deposit box at your high street bank for safekeeping. There is usually a charge for this and you should enquire well in advance of your holiday.

Also read reviews of your hotel before you go away. Many people who have had things stolen from their safe will most definitely report it on a review website such a Trip Advisor. Another option, is to refrain from leaving large amounts of cash in the safe. Stick to travellers cheques or a prepaid debit card.

Spending a holiday without the trappings of modern life to worry about can be as liberating as the holiday itself – so if you are worried about the safety of the hotel, resort or even the hotel safe itself, travel light and only take jewellery you can keep with you and wear clothes which will not send out signals that you are loaded. If you do have items stolen from your hotel room, you can complain to your tour operator.

  • Peter Anderson – I love to blog about holidays abroad, travelling and sight seeing! I just love holidays and travel but it’s always important to remember things cannot always go to plan… Google+

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]tourismedition.com

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