Just how safe is your hotel room safe? You might be surprised…

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With travel season about to begin in earnest, it’s a good time to begin preparing ourselves, including going over the laundry list of things to do and stuff to pack. While many us may feel that if we simply have our airfare or rental car all set, we’re ready to go, there are other factors we need to consider.

When it comes to booking a hotel room, one of the main safety and privacy features we can take advantage of in is the hotel safe. These safes come in handy: When we’re going on a daylong excursion and really only need some swimming trunks and towels the last thing we want to carry is a billfold, passports and other valuable items that could be lost.

Just how safe is that hotel room safe?

For many of us, keeping our wallet in our hotel room safe is second nature. But we need to be careful. Many safes that require an electronic four-digit code can actually be overwritten by a master code as basic as “9999.”

Some models also come with master keys that can open a safe in a matter of seconds.  Other safes can be pried open with special tools. There a plethora of videos on YouTube showing how easy it is to break into hotel room safes.

Andrew Hayter, with G-Data, a global software and security firm, says that the privacy and safety of each hotel guest and their possessions is only as secure as the precautions taken by their respective hotel managers. When it comes to safes, that is especially so, he said.

“Many times the master code never changes, and that master code is available on the internet, believe it or not,” Hayter says in a viral video from 2015. “And if the manager has not changed that master code then you’re in for big trouble because anybody that wants to can get into your safe and steal your valuables and ruin your perfect vacation.”

A more recent Youtube video shows that a popular model of hotel safes can easily be hacked in no time. So with so much at stake, how can we protect our possessions in hotel rooms. Here are three ways:

Here are 3 ways you can protect your possessions in a hotel

  • Leave your wallet at the front desk: The hotel check-in counter is a safe space because it is typically under camera surveillance and in a secured area accessible only to a handful of employees. Also, nearly all hotel offices have a safe. Ask to store your wallet there.
  • Hang a Do Not Disturb sign outside your door: Even when you leave, if you put the sign out. It signals to housekeeping, as well as any would-be thieves, that you are still in the room and your possessions are not unattended.
  • Put a cable lock on your bags: If you’re worried about someone walking off with your luggage, lock it to the bed post with a cable. This way, thieves won’t be tempted to take it — unless they want the whole bed.

The key safety rule is to always be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. If you do decide to use the hotel room safe, make sure it is locked down or fastened to a wall. You’d be surprised how many hotel safes in exotic locales can be simply lifted up and transported away by anyone.

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