Most of the time, safety advice centers around protecting your property while you are in the process of traveling. But there are certain times when you do leave your luggage and even valuables unattended. This happens when you leave items in your hotel room. Here, 5 tips for storing valuables in your hotel room:
1. Don’t Be Paranoid
It is important to say this upfront because many travelers can find themselves getting so swept up in security that they end up not enjoying the trip. Most hotel property crimes are just crimes of opportunity, and there is no reason to assume that you are being targeted personally. As long as you take some necessary precautions, you will thwart the low skilled thieves who prey on hotel guests.
Being too wrapped up in fear increases the chance of being targeted. If it is obvious that you are trying to hide something, you will be recognized as someone who has something to hide. And once you are believed to be in possession of something valuable, you may find that you have attracted the attention you were intending to avoid. You should be aware, but general anxiety is not helpful for keeping your valuables safe.
2. Do Not Advertise Your Valuables
In the same way that paranoia can lead potential thieves to target you, being unaware of any threats can cause you to inadvertently advertise the valuables in your possession. As a general safety tip for tourists in Argentina, it is best to keep the display of cash and even credit cards to a minimum. Violent criminal interactions are not so much a worry as petty theft, so it is more likely that a criminal will look for an opportunity to be alone with your wallet in your room, rather than attempt to rob you.
Besides attracting attention in restaurants and shops, which could potentially follow you back to your hotel (especially at night or when solo), you can also incidentally advertise what you have in your hotel room by leaving valuables in view of open windows. Without closed curtains, the items in your room, such as electronics, might be visible to people passing by. This could get the attention of local thieves as well as other guests that could be looking for an easy mark. Keep everything out of full display.
3. You Can’t Always Trust The Room Safe
There are several issues with almost any hotel safe. The one that most people are aware of is the hotel staff has access to the reset codes for the room safes. People are often afraid that a staff member will open the safe, but this is very rarely an issue. As long as the hotel has done a good job of limiting the number of people with the reset code, only trusted individuals will be able to open your safe who will only do this upon your request and keep from having to call a safe locksmith to deal with the issue.
One of the more real threats to using hotel room safes is that they are almost always very light and incredibly insecure. Most are vulnerable to a bypass method called “bouncing”, which will open the safe by simply striking it while attempting to turn the door handle. Most people can use this method successfully, but seasoned thieves have tools to make these attacks easier. There are also physical overrides that can be done with probe tools. Essentially, if a criminal wants inside your safe, chances are they can get in without having to damage the safe.
4. Focus on Concealment
Because almost all security precautions in a hotel are built with overrides, which allow employees to have access during emergencies, storing valuables with the hopes of having them be secure is not really an option. What you should be focusing on instead is concealing your valuables. Rather than having a location that you are confident someone would not be able to break into, chose a place that you do not think someone is going to find.
These locations can be complicated, such as disassembling certain unassuming devices and placing your valuables inside, then putting the device back together. You can also choose a random pocket in a pair of pants or a shirt to store smaller items. The trick is to choose an area that is likely to be overlooked by a thief. Try to keep your hiding spot counterintuitive. If it is a bit inconvenient for you to access, that is even better.
5. Get The Most Out Of Your Hotel Security
If you are just briefly staying in a hotel because you are planning on heading out on your backpacking trip, it is still good to get a sense of the type of security the room and the building has. Utilize all of the door locks while you are in the room. You are a valuable item, so it is important that you take the proper steps to keep yourself safe.
In cases where you have planned a family vacation, older children will sometimes be left in the room. In these situations, always practice safety tips, such as telling your children not to open the door for strangers. It is also a good idea for hotel staff to know how many people are in the room so that they can report if there are any unrecognized visitors. Keep your “do not disturb” sign on the door to reduce foot traffic in the room. And when the room is scheduled to be cleaned, be sure that everything is concealed properly.
By lowering your state of paranoia without losing site of your overall security, you can go about achieving safe and effective storage for your valuables. Instead of using the hotel safe you should conceal your valuables in discrete locations. From there you can take full advantage of your hotel’s basic security measures.
– Ralph Goodman
Guest Author Bio:
Ralph Goodman is a professional writer and the resident expert on locks and security over at the Lock Blog. The Lock Blog is a great resource to learn about keys, locks and safety. They offer tips, advice and how-to’s for consumers, locksmiths, and security professionals.