How Safe Are Hotel Room Safes?

BY Beth Williams

Every “how to” article about keeping your valuables secure in a hotel recommends placing them in the in-room safe. So how safe are hotel room safes? Your hotel safe is a very good place to keep valuables out of view and it is a much better solution than trying to hide them in your room. So how safe are hotel room safes?  The answer is no hotel room safe is 100% secure, here’s why.

Hotel Room Safes Have a “Backdoor” to Gain Entry

All hotel room safes have a backdoor or “special way” to access room safes so the staff can get into the safe in case a guest forgets the code, or loses the key to the safe, or electronics fail. Some safes may use a master key or card while others may have a special override code to open the door. Either way, when a safe has a way for someone other than you to get in it, your valuables are never 100% safe.

If a dishonest hotel employee does take something from your hotel safe, it is always going to be hard to prove who exactly stole from the safe during your stay, and hotel management may not always be willing to cooperate, especially in foreign countries.  Worst of all, without any evidence, your travel insurance usually won’t cover your loss.

Here is a video of a dishonest hotel employee who gains access to a hotel room safe and removes only a portion of the money inside so as not to raise suspicion.  It takes place at a hotel in Spain/Canary Islands.

What You Can Do To Help Stop Theft From Your Hotel Safe

Employees know that many people set very simple access code—like 1234 or 0000.  A dishonest hotel employee may be likely to try out these codes making a passkey or override code unnecessary to facilitate the break-in, so the first piece of advice, make your code a random series of numbers like a birthday or house number that only you would know. The next thing you can do is use a theft deterrent device designed just for hotel safes.

Hotel Safe Theft Deterrent Device

One unique way to secure your valuables inside your hotel room safe is with a device called the Milockie Hotel Safe Lock. The Milockie is a special lock and strap device. It allows you to secure the safe with your own padlock, preventing anyone else from gaining access to your safe. The Milockie Lock fits most hotel safes. It is a deterrent and a layer of additional security that only you have the key or combination for removing it. Tip: the lock that is included with the Milockie is not robust, we highly recommend that you use a stronger padlock

The Milockie Hotel Safe Lock helps protect your valuables and provides peace of mind as it is a visual deterrent to hotel personnel or anyone else who enters your room. The bottom line is not to become completely paranoid about your hotel room, but to use your common sense. Don’t leave large amounts of cash or irreplaceable jewelry in your room. Always lock valuables away out of sight in the hotel room safe and use a secondary lock like the Milockie on the hotel safe to stop the safe door from opening.

A Portable Travel Safe is something you take with you to lock up your valuables. Designed to fit flat into your travel bag it is made with a cut-proof material and locks closed with a steel cable. The cable has an important second function as you can wrap the cable around a stationary item like a bed frame, exposed plumbing, or a clothing rod so no one can just carry off the safe with your valuables inside. This is a useful item for the office, a vehicle, or a dorm too.

Should You Be a Victim of Theft From Your Hotel Room Safe

Hotel liability is a confusing issue made even more so by the fact that it varies from country to country, from state to state, and from hotel to hotel. Unless you can prove that a property was negligent, you virtually have no recourse, even if the hotel cooperates and entertains the claim, following up on it—especially if the hotel is in another country—can entail an insufferable wait. That said if you feel that you have a legitimate claim and that the property was negligent, be persistent. And always file a police report as evidence of the crime.

Since hotels routinely refuse claims, explore an alternative source of relief: homeowner’s insurance. It usually covers thefts that occur while policyholders are on vacation, although you may have to pay a deductible leaving you out of pocket in the end. The solution is to do whatever you can to mitigate loss by using a secondary hotel safe lock, or by packing a portable safe.

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e best bet here is to never assume that your hotel door lock is secure. All sorts of people have access to your room, starting with cleaning staff. There are also lots of other ways to defeat hotel door locks including traditional lock-picking and key card magstripe locks. This is why they give you a hotel safe in your closet. Oh wait, people can trick hotel staff into opening the safes or just use a paper clip. The bottom line is not to become completely paranoid about your hotel room, but to use your common sense. Don’t leave large amounts of cash or irreplaceable jewelry in your room and make sure that you carry copies of your passports with you.

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