Most travel tips regarding safety would encourage you to leave your valuables in a hotel safe.
If you carry your valuables on your person at all times, you could run the risk of losing them when you are out, or perhaps you could even be the victim of pickpockets and be robbed while you are travelling. But are hotel room safes really that safe? And how can you tell whether or not you should trust your money, credit cards and possessions to one?
Electronic Safes Versus Key Safes
If your hotel safe is a standard combination safe, as many are, there is no way to gain access to the safe without remembering the four digit code. Forgetting the code renders the safe useless. Before you use one, make sure you choose a code that you will remember!
On the whole, an electronic safe with a four digit combination lock, which can be programmed to your own personal specifications is considered safer than one which comes with keys, which could have been easily copied by an unscrupulous hotel employee. If you are considering leaving your credit cards in a safe, put them in a sealed envelope so that you will know if they have been looked at or tampered with.
You might be surprised to find out that it has been known for the electronic safes in hotel chains, which allow you to choose your own four digit code, to actually be opened by anyone who simply uses the default code (which is often made up of zeroes). Before you entrust a safe with your credit cards, passport and other valuables, it’s worth checking that this pass-code is not the default one! If it is, you might be well advised to leave your valuables in the hotel safe at the front desk instead, which usually can be trusted to provide a higher level of security than the one in your hotel room.
Using a hotel safe, whether you think it is safe or not, does usually provide you with an added level of insurance. Many hotels will compensate you for anything stolen if it was stored in their safe, but they have even greater liability for the safe at the front-desk, so it might be wiser to use that for very valuable or precious items.
In order to improve security many Hotels are now insisting on “AUDIT CONTROLLED” Hotel Safes. These safes have sophisticated locks that provide a time and date stamped list of each time the safe has been opened over a given period or number of openings. It also provides a list of the codes that were used when the safe was opened on each occasion. This enables Hotel security personnel to identify who had opened the safe in any given time slot. Hotels are not providing these safes (at extra cost) purely for their customer’s benefit, but also to reduce the number of fraudulent claims made by guests. One of the best Audit Controlled Hotel Safes is the Burton Lambent Plus
General Hotel Security
If you want to know how safe your hotel room is, have a look around you at your hotel. It makes sense to choose a hotel with modern electronic locks on the guest rooms, secure window locks, well lit grounds, parking and corridors, and limited access points to the hotel, which will discourage any trespassers and make it harder for an experienced thief to gain access to the hotel.
A new special lock is now available that can be purchased and placed on the outside of any hotel safe. It is suitable for 99.9% of hotel safes. This portable lock can be carried by travellers to prevent unauthorised access and adds an extra security feature to any hotel safe, especially for those without the “AUDIT CONTROL” feature.