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Hotel Safes Aren’t as Safe as We Thought

Thanks to an expert lock picker’s revealing video, it looks like most hotel safes can be rendered essentially useless in seconds – so it might be time to start rethinking how you’re storing your valuables while on vacation and away from your hotel room.

It’s one of the first things we learn about staying at hotels: lock up your valuable belongings in the hotel room safe if you’re going to be outside your room. But as it turns out, that may not be as secure as we originally thought.

According to a clip on YouTube uploaded by LockPickingLawyer, there’s an easy workaround to get into any locked safe – which, while that may be good for you if you forget the code, it’s also good for would-be thieves who want to steal your stuff. LockPickingLawyer starts by showing how the safes work (putting stuff in, sealing it up with your code) and then shows how to creak in by entering an administrator code: 999999. That code immediately unlocks the safe. Note this only works on Saflock brand safes, which are standard issue for hotel rooms.

“If you’re ever in a hotel that has one of these Saflok products and you need to use it to lock up some of your valuables, it might be a good idea to make sure the hotel reset the administrator password before relying on it to protect your goods,” LockPickingLawyer told Travel+Leisure.

And don’t just rely on safes to protect you and your family while on vacation. Rob Walker, who is the head of information and analysis for travel security at International SOS, offered T+L a few more tips on staying safe: make sure your room is on floors two through five, and pick a room away from public areas and not easily accessed from the street.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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13 Comments
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ssamuels February 3, 2018

I put high value items such as passports and large amounts of cash in the hotel’s safe deposit boxes which most high end hotels have. And only put small amounts of cash, daily jewelry, etc in the room’s safe. It should also be noted that the insured value of items in room safes is much lower than that of the hotels safes.

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BMGRAHAM February 2, 2018

They also have to get into your room in order to steal. It's a real community service of these people to tell everyone how to do this and for you to spread the word. Great job. Thank you. That's sarcasm by the way.

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vonsnooks February 1, 2018

I arrived at a hotel in Italy once and wanted to put something in the room safe, but it was already locked. After calling the front desk, a fellow from maintenance came to my door. Quick entry of admin code and door was open. Better than nothing, but clearly not foolproof (and really how can it be, given that people probably forget their access codes more than they should?)

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xela February 1, 2018

what are you even talking about? what safe? what valuables? what codes? Those two people that travel with diamonds and pile of cash should probably be figuring out things on their own. For the rest of us constantly on the road, just please take your wallet with you, don't leave it "securely" in your hotel room. Personally, I could never even figure out what that safe in my hotel room closet is for..... i mean how utterly stupid one must be to even think that that safe is there for you to think you could rely on it to be "safe".

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Debrian Travels February 1, 2018

I have used them but I will check for the admin code issue going forward. I have left my laptop in them while out sightseeing during the day. Since I am not going to carry all of my electronics during the day, the safe is better than nothing. In 2016, I took my wife to Europe and was planning to propose in Paris. I left the engagement ring in several hotel safes before popping the question. Fortunately, nothing happened but I still think that was wiser than toting it around in my pocket and risking getting pickpocketed or losing it!