Do You Use The Hotel Safe?

Confession time: prior to a few days ago I’ve never used a hotel safe. That’s despite having spent well over a thousand nights in hotels. I’m not quite sure why… I guess it just never occurred to me to use one.

I used one for the first time after seeing the following sign on the desk in my room at the Westin Cape Town:

Hotel-Safe-1

Hotel-Safe-2

So I threw my passport, wallet, headphones, and camera in the safe for the duration of my stay.

Hotel-Safe-3

After doing this for the first time I asked a friend if he uses hotel safes when he travels, and he was shocked to hear that I don’t.

So I thought about why I don’t. I suppose it just never occurred to me to do so. It’s strange, because I’m not typically an overly trusting person, and I’m also rather security conscious in other ways… some might even say I’m paranoid (I have certain “tricks” I use to ensure no one entered my room while I’m gone, etc.). I guess my logic up until now has been as follows:

  • There are cameras in the hallways, so I doubt they’d try to steal my laptop; besides, it’s a lot more convenient to have it charging when I’m not in the room
  • I suppose someone could steal my camera, though I usually have it with me when I’m out of the room anyway
  • I don’t carry a lot of cash
  • Someone could steal my credit cards, though credit card protection is excellent; I give my credit card to dozens of people a week, and they could “steal” my information at any point if they wanted to, but I choose not to think twice about it (though I did once deal with an issue of someone fraudulently trying to use my card)
  • I need new Bose headphones eventually anyway, so take ’em if you’d like 😉

While I used a safe for the first time during this stay, I’m not sure I’d use it again in the future. I totally get why people would use it if they were traveling with expensive jewelry or tons of cash, but neither applies to me.

Do you use a safe when traveling? If so, what do you put in it?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

Comments

  1. but what about your passport? it’s a hassle to carry it around everywhere, and if its stolen from the room, you’re stuck.

  2. Forget about the safe, what do you do on flights? I’m assuming that at the very least you travel with a relatively valuable camera, and a not too crappy laptop. When you decide to go to sleep on the plane, do you stow away the camera and laptop in the overhead?

  3. When I saw the title of this post, I thought you were going to be asking if we use the hotel’s main safe. That I have never done. But I almost always use the in-room safe … at least for my passport, for my laptop if it fits (I have a rather big, clunky laptop so it doesn’t always), for cash of any countries other than the one I’m in, sometimes my Kindle and/or camera.

    Peeves: safes that are too small, safes that are not well secured. I stayed in a hotel in Amsterdam two years ago that had an in-room safe, but it wasn’t bolted down at all. It was fairly heavy, of course, but I had no problem picking it up and carrying it under one arm.

  4. Anyone can pull up a manual or get a cheap set of purpose built keys to unlock any hotel safe. Even worse, they can clip past the hotel maid and make up a story about how “they forgot the combination and stepped out to tell the front desk”.

    The safes are more psychological.

  5. Your passport is your most valuable item. Pickpockets love them. The first thing I do when I check in is put my passport in the safe.

    I am a supporter of housekeeping staff, however if you think 100% of them are honest, you are wrong. As often as you stay in hotels, 99.9% still leaves you vulnerable.

    Hotels aren’t liable for things not left in the safe.

  6. Always, for passports (and wallet if I don’t need it where I’m going). Have seen enough info,.including your posts, not to trust housekeeping with them left out in a room.

  7. Of course you should use them!

    While room safes might not be on par with Fort Knox but they’re certainly not merely psychological. A dedicated thief with a kit or some sort of Mission Impossible hacking program will surely break through your hotel safe but thems the breaks. For the real world, however, a simple four digit code is barrier enough to deter a would-be thief. I use room safes for passports, cash, and headphones: the three things most likely to be stolen.

  8. I use hotel safes all the time for my passport and money. I figure it is more secure than leaving them in the unlocked luggage, or carrying them on my person when out and about. That said, there have been at least one occasion when the hotel maintenance man was able to open the safe with disturbing ease, using their special key, after I had mucked up the initial setup, and could not reopen the safe. I just hope that “special key” is not widely available.

    Before putting anything of value in the safe, I recommend testing the safe after you setup the code, to make sure it is working properly 🙂

    I have also found out the hard way that it can be easy to accidentally leave things (e.g. house keys) behind in hotel safes because the interior tends to be dark. So look thoroughly before you check out.

    If something is truly valuable (e.g. jewelry, lots of cash), it will probably be better to leave them in the main hotel safe.

  9. Sometimes if I’m traveling with my laptop. Otherwise, only if the hotel makes a special point of encouraging it — as several in South Africa did! I figure if their trust in their staff and security is that low, I ought to take heed. That said, in many years of traveling, I don’t think I’ve ever had a single thing stolen from a hotel room.

  10. It’s not hard to make a habit of removing your stuff from the safe when you check out. I once left something behind on a nightstand but have never forgotten anything stashed in a safe. The minor inconvenience of using in room safes is nothing compared to the headache of losing your passport. There is just no need to walk around with it in your pocket.

  11. The hotel safes do have a master code and a real key (the keyhole is hidden behind a faceplate that screws off) So it is very possible for an unauthroized hotel employee to enter the safe. I’ve stayed in some hotels where they don’t even bother to change the factory set password that is in the online manual.

    I do use hotel safes but I use a device called Milockie that allows me to put a small padlock on the safe. It can also be broken into but it takes a lot more effort.

  12. If the room has a safe, I usually use it, even in “safe” cities. For me, I do it to remove the temptation for someone to steal something valuable sitting around in the open. It’s enough of a hassle to get theft straightened out at home; can you imagine how difficult it would be if you had to deal with it while on a trip, especially overseas? Even the best people have moments when they exercise bad judgment, so I try to keep my valuables (passport, computer, cash, etc.) locked up whenever I’m gone to reduce the risk of theft.

    Even with the best theft coverage (through a credit card or otherwise), it’s not worth months/years of careful credit/identity monitoring and prevention measures.

  13. Always: headphones, passport, ID, credit cards, laptop and keys.
    If not to avoid tempting a weak soul, then at least to satisfy my insurance company .

  14. I’d love to know some of these tricks to ensure a room hasn’t been entered while I’m out. Partly out of my own paranoia… And partly out of curiosity that there’ll be some ingenuity involved!

  15. @Donny
    Sure it will stop someone from walking in and collecting things, but it doesn’t stop the very real chances they’re clever enough to slip past the door anyway means they can obviously bypass a safe.

    Crosspicks aren’t specialty. Buy them online for 5-10$ as an investment for 1000$ laptop. You’re not connecting the safe to your super-elite haxor program. You’re simply Googling the safe number on your smartphone and clicking the first result which is usually the five page PDF manual for the safe.

  16. I always put my laptop in the safe – if it fits. I know its not fool-proof, but doesn’t hurt.

  17. Put one of the shoes you will wear when you check out, into the safe with other valuables. You will never leave without emptying the safe.

  18. always lock up all my valuables into the room safe. why tempt the staff to steel. that’s plain simply foolish. in the very least, lock it all up in your suitcase, if you’ve not going to use the room safe.

  19. The same cautions apply to using the safes in cabins on cruise liners.

    A friend of mine recently went on a cruise and secured in her safe a pair of very expensive earrings. On getting ready to disembark she went to the safe and removed the little drawstring bag holding the ear rings and it was empty!

    She immediately contacted security who then arranged to recall her bags which were about to be off-loaded from the ship. Security also called in the cabin attendants and cleaners of the cabin. A complete search of the cabin was undertaken and then security requested a search of her luggage and and the luggage of her partner.

    Surprise, surprise security found one ear ring in one suit case and the other ear ring in the other case.

    Knowing our friends for many years their honesty is beyond reproach. They suspect that during the search of the luggage the ear rings were dropped in.

    So be warned, use hotel safes and ship’s cabin safes at your peril or when going on cruises leave expensive jewellery items at home

  20. I always use the safe for anything valuable after having my passport, wallet, all my credit cards and cash stolen by while I was in the room. ( I came down with the flu. I remember hearing someone come in but I was so out of it I didn’t react.) I even lock up my passport, wallet, and anything else I don’t need to have out or charge while I sleep.

  21. Before I stayed in South Africa last year? No. Same as you, I read the sign and now use hotel safes habitually.

    BTW, does your room have a latch on the door? All the rooms I had in South Africa didn’t. Varying quality of establishments, different hotel chains, but nary a latch on the door. I didn’t think it was a big deal til one of the hotels accidentally checked someone into my room at 2am one night. Now I’m curious if it’s a South Africa thing or just an anomaly with my hotels.

  22. I don’t think it’s just mission impossible safe crackers who can open the safe. I found this video where a guy with a heavy magnet and a sock can do it pretty quick. http://sploid.gizmodo.com/watch-a-magnet-inside-a-sock-break-open-a-hotel-safe-in-1757450162

    But that being said I think that the hotel safe is better then keeping stuff in your pockets (pick pockets etc) and I normally dump my passport and most of the cards/cash I won’t need for the day or the night out there. That way if something bad happens I at least have a way to get home or some sort of access to funds. I figure the safe makes it a little tougher for the petty criminal (or maid) to walk away with my stuff. I agree you can always cancel credit cards etc but you can’t image the pain that is when your traveling internationally. Also from a practicle perspective you could always get an emergency passport but also a huge trouble and also assumes your near your country’s embassy. I had a friend who had to travel half way across Spain to reach his embassy because his wallet and pocket contents got pick pocketed. Not a fun way to spend a couple days on his trip (especially as he had to borrow cash to get the train tickets). As I try to carry the minimum I need I hope they if robbed or pick pocketed it isn’t a huge impact. Someone told me once that professional cat burglars love hotel safes as the valuables are in one easy to find place. But I’d rather worry about making it difficult for the amateur there then the pro. As I assume if the pro targets me I would loose my stuff regardless of the safe, but it is hopefully much less likely.

  23. I’ve never used them; I’ve generally noticed that my tendency to forget things (especially the small sorts of things that would be placed in the safe) would result in far more lost items than even the worst rash of thefts.

    That aside, when traveling I usually carry everything of value on me except for my laptop. Money, keys, phone, earphones, and even my passport usually go with me for convenience. Passport especially since I often visit stores that will waive taxes for foreigners when provided with a passport.

  24. Those things are so hackable my 4th grader can break into them. I never use them as you are more likely to forget things in them than have them safe. If I really have something of value I take to the front desk for storage.

  25. Never used it. I figure all of the safes have the same master reset code and I assume that any dodgy housekeeping staff know the code anyway?

  26. Question: how many of you had your locked luggage opened by someone inside your hotel room? Just wondering since I usually leave my passport inside my locked luggage (I place it inside the liner that covers the inside of the luggage). I never had anything stolen from my luggage in a hotel room. I never trusted those safes. Also if someone sees it is locked they will probably be tempeted to use the master key to check what is inside.

  27. Why did you use s safe for the first time now? You don’t say, other than the sign in the room, and I would think you’ve seen signs like that in other hotels.

    Just curious is all.

  28. I used to always use the safe, but then I went to Japan and a small small earthquake occured (>5) but at 18 stories it felt bigger. So from this my question is, what about if the power goes out?

    I know someone said there is a key, but it seems like hotel would have to go manually room by room and open. Just wondering as the only thing worse than having your passport stolen would be having your passport stuck in a safe during a natural disaster!

  29. Routinely use the safe and aside from some valuables, I put the toiletries for myself and other family members in them. Otherwise I try to remember to use a lock on my suitcase, but the safe is easier. Maybe someone could get into the safe, but I figure it has to reduce the chance. And I really like knowing that my toiletries are not available for anyone to go through!

  30. You guys are overthinking this. What happens to the safe if the power goes out? What if the staff has the master code/key? How about an additional lock on the safe? If you are that much of a worrywart, hotels are not for you. Of course things could go wrong even using the safe, but they are less likely than when valuables are left out in the open, in luggage, or carried around unnecessarily in your purse or pocket. As for an extra lock, that’s just putting out a neon sign.

  31. I rarely use them largely due to worrying about forgetting something in them or setting the combination.. but also assuming most of the hotel staff have the combination anyway.. and many of the older model safes that are in hotel rooms (as they are rarely replaced) factory by-pass combos can be found on the internet… I’ve even done this for my home safe when I forgot the combo and found a factory by-pass code (prompting me to replace the safe).

    I figure like any lock it is creating another barrier / deterrent to slow one down from thievery…but I also see it as directed target.. ‘oh look they used the safe’.. but even when traveling to some poorer areas I have yet to have anything stolen from my room.. yet..my car at a hotel yes.. but not the hotel itself.

    I am surprised about the many comments about locking away headphones.. I guess if you are going to purchase $200-$400 headphones that makes sense and are easily flippable.

  32. Even hotel safes are really not that safe. I’ve read plenty of times that they can be opened even without the combo you set. But why make it easy. I always use the safe if there is one for my laptop and other valuables like cash, credit cards, camera lenses I’m not using…

    I typically always carry my passport with me.

  33. I forgot the combo once and called the front desk. It took them less than a in ute to open it without using a key. I still use the in room safe though. The hotel safety deposit boxes at the front desk are much safer

  34. Absolutely. It’s where my passport lives and where I place all valuables including my laptop and tablet before I leave the room for the day.

  35. @anon: Hotel safes are usually battery-powered and they can always be opened with a mechanical key as well (people frequently forget their code or the batteries die, so it is necessary to have this mechanism).

    I use the safe by default, though I am not overly optimistic with regard to the security it provides. But I figure it is better than the alternatives.

  36. What do people think about leaving cash in the main hotel safe in a cheap guesthouse in Phnom Penh? No in room safe, streets not completely safe, no hard lockable luggage, potentially dubious stranger in my room .

    (No not John-Sebastian from LL writing this)

  37. I never did until recently. I stayed at the andaz papagayo last fall and actually planned to use the safe but it was broken. there was a maintenance guy in the room trying to fix the door handle (we got locked inside our room – wasn’t the first time that happened during our stay). We left to go to the pool and he (or someone) stole $100 from my wallet. never used the safe in the past but I do now.

  38. I was in St Maarten at a resort and heard stories about people having things taken from their hotel room safe. I always use it but stories like that make you feel uneasy.

  39. We usually use the safe but I also try to leave items of value at home if I won’t really need them on a trip.

    I’ve often wondered how the safe at the front desk works. Is it just one safe or is it like a safety deposit box where you get a key that has to be present to open the box?

  40. I had my passport stolen once. I always use hotel safe for passport and ID. I don’t worry about much else as while inconvenient, not that big a deal.

  41. I travel extensively in the Far East/Southeast Asia (live in Hong Kong) and always use the safe, for the Passport especially.

    A passport is super easy to take, and you may not notice it’s missing for some time. Remember that a passport from a “rich” country is worth a lot in some under-developed regions, not to mention the huge visa and exit hassles you face in places like Indonesia and China if you lose your passport (had it happen to couple friends).

  42. While not exactly the same scenario, I had Argentian friends staying at an Air B&B in the Caribbean who used the safe in their house when they went diving. They took a boat from a dock walkable from their place so there was no need to carry extra cash and didn’t want their passports sitting on the boat while diving. They all had the ability to work remote so they also had their work laptops on the trip. Before leaving they put their laptops, US Dollars, passports, and iPads in the safe and headed out. They returned to a busted door and a whole in the closet floor where the safe had been. The police station said these things happen and we’ll probably not recover anything so no need to worry. This was the last day the house was paid for and they were going to book a different island last minute. Money, passports, credit cards, cell phones, and computers were all gone and they were stuck in one place. One guy had held onto $50 so they stayed in a hostel, visiting the proxy Argentian embassy daily for passport updates, which were being printed at The Hague. Think about, without a passport you can not leave a country. Period. Once the passports arrived they had to convince an airline to waive all fees and fly them home because none of them had anyway to pay.
    We don’t think about it but things can get out of control very quickly if you are robbed while traveling. Not that it should stop anyone from traveling but split your money and identification (passport/drivers license) between what you carry on yourself and what you leave behind.
    Just a learning experience I learned from and everyone should take note of, it can be rough out there if something goes wrong.

  43. Never, never, never!

    At least in the USA and some European countries, the hotel is *NOT* responsible for contents left in the room safe. They *ARE* responsible for anything you leave with the front desk. That right there tells me all I need to know. Occasionally I’ll travel with some nice watches and always check them in the front desk’s safe deposit boxes. Every hotel I’ve ever done this at has a signature card/log for access and usually makes a copy of a photo ID to go along with it.

    I keep my passport in the suitcase liner and keep the suitcase locked.

  44. I used the hotel safe until one morning late 2012 when I checked out of a hotel in Delhi leaving my wallet, house keys, car keys and Bose noise canceling headphones in the safe. That was an experience. I got my keys and headphones courioured to Bangalore and my credit cards courioured back to the US. They couldn’t send the cash in my wallet (c. $300) as it was against Indian law.

    I survived on my company credit card and personal AMEX I had with me, and the cash which I changed to about $40 on returning home, until the cards arrived on the Monday (I’d canceled my debit card and the new one arrived that Monday too). I visited Delhi a couple of months later and the hotel still had my cash which they handed back, minus the courier charges.

    So from now on I don’t use hotel safes on short stays (valuables go with me or are in my locked case in the room). I still use safes on long vacation stays when my laptop and camera gear go in there and it’s blindingly obvious that I’ll check the safe before checking out.

  45. @Chris D – Upon return to your hotel reception/room, you can ask the front desk for a list of access times/codes(user – maid etc) for your room. In certain countries I request housekeeping while I’m in the room, and have a strict no entry policy while I’m not present.

    The only staff members that have the master unlock to the safe would/should be management. Now of course if management is dodgy, then its a problem!

  46. Thanks als always for the nice blog!

    I just wanted to ask, which “Tricks” you use, for getting sure nobody goes in your room? Would be interessting !

    Kind regards from Germany
    Stefan

  47. For the naysayers:

    The percent of hotel thefts from safes is maybe 5% or less of all hotel room thefts.

    Does it stop someone planning to break into a safe? No.

    Does it stop the “opportunity” thefts, I.e the other 95%? Yes.

    If you don’t believe in the safety of safes, I suppose you don’t lock up your house while traveling either.

  48. i dont use hotel’s safes.
    my friend once had his ipad in it and staff, using the override combination code, opened the safe and took it. this was down in Texas last year.
    What i do is just travel with a padlock and whenever i leave my room, all put my valuables in my bag and lock it with my won padlock where no one knows the combo but me.

  49. I always use them for my passport, ipad etc.. Basically for all valuable things that I do not take with me that day. My wife even puts some cosmetic stuff in the safe ^^

  50. I don’t often use the safe but if I do, I always put a shoe in it in order not to forget my valuables in the safe.

  51. I’ve noticed that more and more safes in Asian hotels have outlets inside. So you can charge your iPad or laptop while waiting for someone to break into your room, hack into the safe, and steal a fully-charged item. Much nicer than making them steal something with a dead battery.

  52. LOL your ‘tricks’ don’t ensure no one enters your room. They merely let you know that someone has entered. And if someone is stealing from hotel rooms, then chances are, they aren’t your average joe theif so they’ll probably be able to get past what ever amateur tricks you have.
    Sorry to burst your bubble

  53. I use the safe since my passport was stolen from my room (in the States no less) several years ago. It’s not going to stop a determined thief, but it hides items from easy view and reduces “crimes of opportunity”.

  54. Some commenters are complaining that the safes are not 100% secure. I agree with Kevin, using the safe is better than leaving your items elsewhere in your room. And how about hooking up your own camera so you can observe what happens in your room when you’re not there? Then if someone breaks into the safe you’ll have proof of it.

  55. I always use the in room safe. I use it for my passport, extra cash / surplus credit cards, and my sunglasses if I’m not wearing them (Polarized Ray Bans cost $200.00). For sleeping I leave my wallet and phone on the desk and I deadbolt the door.

  56. I used to but don’t anymore after seeing how easy it is to get a master code or break in. I generally just distribute my valuables in many places so that someone can’t easily steal everything. I don’t travel with anything tremendously valuable anyway. I think if someone really took all my electronics, I could file a homeowner’s insurance claim anyway.

  57. The master code/keys things are the problem. Several times I’ve either forgotten the code I used, or the safe simply wouldn’t open. And each time I found a maid or manager who were able to open it in no time at all with a master code or key.

    In each case, by the speed at which the safe was opened, it was obvious that the same override code and/or key was being used in all the safes.

    And yes, half the time they’re lightweight metal that’s just screwed into a shelf. Easily enough to remove with just the mini Leatherman I always carry.

    So I see no point in the safes. If you can’t trust hotel management to be diligent about the safekeeping of override codes/keys, and not using the same code on every safe in the hotel, then you can’t trust the safe.

    I simply put my valuables in my suitcase and lock it. I use a decent Master lock and not one of those junky TSA compliant locks.

    Sure, someone could potentially remove my whole suitcase from my room. Or they could even take a knife to the zipper to open it. But I, like some other posters here, frown upon having housekeeping in my room. I will usually decline it altogether if my stay is less than 3 days. (Since I don’t change my sheets and towels every day at home, I see no need to do so on the road.)

    In the end it’s a crapshoot either way. But ive been traveling for over 20 years and spent a lot of time in hotels/motels.
    The only times I’ve had things stolen were when I didn’t lock them in my luggage.

  58. Like another said, hotels are not responsible for room safes, it’s psychological and makes it difficult for opportunists. One time I was carrying a DoD laptop and just didn’t want to take chances and went to the front desk for locked storage. They got one key to the container, I got the other. Needs both keys to open.

    Another time I was carrying a big wad of cash, and did the same at another hoity toity hotel. I don’t think the price of the hotel makes a difference, if it’s super valuable it goes in the front desk safe. If it’s every day valuable it goes in the room safe or more likely a locked hardside suitcase.

    Usually I carry the passport, half the cash and half the credit cards with me, with the other half in the room/suitcase safe.

    Now that I think about I’m only using TSA locks and those can be opened too, so maybe I need a SECOND set of Hotel lock and keys….

  59. Sooo I have nest at home maybe I should travel with a spare nest camera and connect it thru the hotel wifi .hmm

  60. Hotel safes are a total waste of time. Go to youtube and search ‘open hotel safe’. Opening one is quick and mind numbingly simple. Your hotel door is a much better barrier largely because anyone that makes it to the other side of the room door knows how to open the room safe. All safes provides are nice centralized points for a thief to quickly collect anything of value.

  61. Used the safe recently on a stay at a resort in Belize, but before that very rarely does the safe get used.

    I will put items in my suitcase if I feel I need to “hide” them knowing full well anyone with access to the room can open the suitcase.

    Been lucky that I have never had anything stolen. I’ve forgotten items before and had the hotel ship them to me.

  62. I typically use it for cash/credit cards I don’t want to carry, passport, and laptop. More than once, I’ve appreciated a safe that has a built in electrical outlet for charging the laptop: very handy.

  63. I work at at 5 star hotel and we had an old lady call down that she couldn’t get her hot dogs out of the microwave in her room. We explained the rooms have no microwaves – she insisted hers did. When security arrived they found she had put her hotdogs in the safe and locked it thinking it was a microwave – my question was, how come someone is cooking hotdogs in a 5 star hotel….

  64. @Ben, For someone who wrote such an absurdly paranoid post like “Please don’t rob me,” it seems like you might not spend much time outside your hotel room anyway or you avoid any place where you don’t feel totally comfortable by not “standing out.” Maybe that’s why you never used a hotel safe. Btw, why would you care if you got robbed in Bogota since you only carry credit cards?

    I use a hotel safe abroad for my passport and excess cash (US and local currency). I take my wallet with me though. I never thought of using the safe for my laptop. Do they really fit? If so, I’ll try it next time, but not to avoid theft as much as to prevent any accidental damage from the maids.

    I haven’t seen comments about what people do with their phones. My cell phone is probably more valuable than my wallet in many ways. I almost always have my phone with me.

  65. @john
    Most people carry their phone with them … the only reason I can think of to leave in your room is if you’re going to the hotel pool or spa or sauna where you have to undress

  66. Never and especially never in South Africa. Forget to click it shut?, different maids coming into your room, the whole little safe taken. No way. Passport stays next to my skin. $50 and one cc in my purse. So what if they steal that.

  67. I always use it for my passport, the most important thing I have when I am abroad, especially in a less developped country.

  68. Why would you NOT use the safe? What is the downside, besides forgetting to remove your laptop when you check out? (this happened to me once – I had it fedex’d back to my office)

    Seriously, most hotel thefts are crimes of opportunity. The maid is cleaning the bathroom, somebody sees an open door and grabs something in sight. Or pretends to be you. Or maybe a dishonest hotel employee.

    A safe is not bulletproof. But it does effectively deter most theft, which may save you hours (stolen passport) or $$. Why would you NOT?

    The better question is what do you do when there is no safe or your laptop is too big for the safe? Now that would be a more interesting blog post.

  69. I always use the safe and I particularly love those (infrequent) ones that have a power point inside so that I can securely leave my stuff charging while I’m not there.

  70. My husband and I always use the hotel safe. For passports – US money (when outside the US) – prescription drugs (about as hard to replace outside the US as passports) – credit cards we won’t be using – etc. Apart from the security aspect – it means that we keep all our valuables in one place – and we don’t have to root around the hotel room to figure out where we might have put them when we’re checking out. The safes can be a bit dark. OTOH – we always travel with 2 small LED flashlights these days. Which we keep on the night stands next to our bed. Just in case something bad happens. Or – much more typically – we use them so we don’t wake one another up or trip over something when we have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Easy to see what’s in the safe using a flashlight. I don’t keep my laptop in the safe. Then again – I am staying in luxury hotels in major first world cities. I do use a wire safety cable on the laptop. Won’t deter a serious thief (with a bolt cutter) – but will deter a casual one. Guess if I had a zippier laptop – I would worry more. In all honesty – I am too old these days to go to places where I’d have to worry about someone stealing a safe from my hotel room! On the other hand – in 40+ years of travel (often to more out of the way places when we were younger) – we’ve never had anything stolen.

    Note that this thread prompted me to look at our current hotel safe (in a luxury hotel in Madrid). It is bolted into a cabinet – bottom and back. Would take more than a bit of doing to remove it without a lot of tools. It also has a plug where you can charge a device (230V only).

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