The only time I’ve ever had things stolen from my hotel room was when I was in New York. I was sharing a bunk bed with a German tourist. I remember thinking when I met him that he wasn’t very friendly. That should’ve been a sign.
There were no lockers for luggage in the tiny room, but when you’re just sharing the room with one other person, the last thing you expect is for them to steal from you. Lesson learnt!
I came back after an afternoon exploring NYC to find the German had checked-out and my backpack open and missing my iPad charger. He’d also tried to smash the lock on my strong solid plastic suitcase. If it hadn’t have been for that sturdy suitcase he would’ve found my iPad inside.
I got lucky. I should’ve lost a lot more that day! Since then I’ve followed the below rules to keep my bags and belongings safe while travelling.
Securing your possessions (hotels & hostels)
- Prefer to stay at hostels with lockable luggage storage. Invest in your own lock to secure it too.
- Hotel room safes offer better protection than leaving valuables in your locked luggage, use them. If you want to be extra secure, there are locks available that add additional security to hotel room safes.
- If you have no safe, lockable luggage or storage, buy a portable travel safe and secure it somewhere such as the metal pipes under the wash basin.
- If you’re carrying something worth thousands of dollars, have it stored in the hotel’s own safe.
- Out of sight, out of mind: always have your bags out of sight in a cupboard to help staff resist the temptation to tamper with them.
- If you can’t secure your valuables in any of the above ways, carry them in your backpack with you.
Securing your room
- Hotels with electronics door entry are best because the codes are usually changed often, if not daily.
- Don’t stay on the ground floor; these rooms have windows open to the outside street. One level up offers security from that.
- Consider buying a portable door stop to secure your room door while inside the room.
- Hang the DND sign on your door, so no one enters while you’re out. Request the maid make up your room when you’re there.
- Double check your door is locked before leaving.
- Always use the peephole or door chain to check who’s knocking at your door before letting them in. If you’re not sure, call the reception and ask to verify the person.