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Using A Safe On Holiday? Think Again.

15th June 2022

Welcome to the Platinum Jubilee special of this blog. Yep, I’m totally jumping on the bandwagon, waving the imaginary Union Jacks, and maybe even having a glass of wine or two to celebrate Liz’s 70 years at the helm. And not just because of the extra bank holiday, but also…well, mainly it’s about the extra bank holiday. 

But how is this a Platinum Jubilee special, you may be asking. Well, apart from the fact I’m writing this over the long bank holiday weekend whilst wearing my Queen Elizabeth II limited edition souvenir pair of underpants, I’ve also built in a tenuous link to holidays – the very thing some of us are enjoying at the moment. Okay, tenuous, and yes, I was also lying about the underpants, but let’s move on.  

Despite being half term, it’s probably not been the best experience if you’ve tried to get away for a holiday this week, especially if the news coverage of long queues and significant delays or cancellations at airports are to be believed. Nevertheless, many of us will soon persevere with trying to get away this year in August, having been mainly confined to the UK for the last couple of years what with one thing and another. 

When it comes to holidays, long-term readers will recall my advice usually revolves around how to keep your home safe whilst you’re away – making the house look occupied, letting neighbours use your drive, cancelling deliveries etc, but today I’ll touch on the other side of holiday security, and look at ways you can keep your personal possessions safe whilst on holiday. And if you’re not going away, you can either read for the pure enjoyment of it, or to put the tips into place in the home setting. 

First things first, I was reading a report the other day which caught my attention. It explained how, contrary to what you might think, the hotel safe may not be as secure a place for your belongings as its name might suggest. I was intrigued by this as when it comes to home settings, I do recommend the use of a safe. However, in the specific circumstance of being on holiday, I can see a couple of drawbacks to using a safe. 

Firstly, in the case of combination safes in hotels, it is often the case that the management have never changed the default engineer code to the safe. This means that even if you change the user code to one of your choosing, it can still be overridden by anyone with knowledge of these default codes, and these are worryingly easy to find on the internet for some brands of safe. The more responsible hotels will have changed the code and only let certain members of staff know it (in case it’s needed when the customer forgets their own number) but unfortunately you can’t be sure that this is the case.

The other drawback of using a room safe in your hotel room is simply that this is the first place any thief will look. And even if the hotel has been very careful in changing codes, this will not always prevent a determined thief, as the safes can be torn from their surroundings. A story emerged recently about a holidaying family who had their passports, money and mobile phones all stolen when thieves ripped out of the wall the safe containing all of these. Safes in hotels are not always the largest, nor are they always securely fixed into the wall, and if this is the case and you have your valuables stored there, you’ve basically assembled together all the items a thief will be interested in, and put them in a handy box ready to be carted away. 

I’m not just being a Derek downer here though, in pointing out problems without suggesting any solutions. As that would just be annoying, which is clearly not me – stop laughing at the back. One remedy to the problem if you have particularly valuable possessions that need to be kept safe is to see if the hotel has a safe behind reception. This will usually be manned 24/7, giving added security. Not all hotels have this facility, though, so there are some low budget solutions you can put into practice. 

One cunning plan I came across was to hide cash inside used shampoo or sunscreen bottles. The bottle has to be washed out thoroughly first, and then you simply cut a hole in the top that’s large enough to accommodate your cash, whilst leaving enough of the thread of the top in place so that the lid can be screwed back on. Voila, you have what looks like an ordinary shampoo or sunscreen bottle, but in reality can be used to store banknotes and the like. That’s as long as you don’t encounter that rare phenomenon – the burglar who targets bottles of shampoo and sunscreen. But you’d have to be fairly unlucky for that to be the case.  

Whilst on the subject of putting old products to use, another tip I read about was using used tubes of lip balm as a storage spot. A hollowed-out tube is a perfect hiding place for a couple of hundred rolled up Euros. Which, at current exchange rates, might get you at least a sangria and a pack of crisps. 

Moving on to personal safety, perhaps you have chosen to venture to a slightly more exotic and dangerous location and want to feel safer in your hotel room. In this case, a rubber doorstep wedged against the inside of the door can provide simple, cheap, but effective added protection against any intruders. This is particularly useful in places where there is perhaps added risk of terrorist attacks, kidnaps, or robberies. Use of a doorstop does need to be balanced against the risk of not being able to quickly get out of your room in an emergency too though. What you gain in protection against intruders, you lose in ease of exit in the case of a fire. But it’s an option to weigh up. 

Hopefully you’ve found one or more of those tips useful, whether you’re going on holiday this year or not. I appreciate many of us still won’t be able to for financial or other reasons, and if that’s the case, maybe a tip or two can be put into practice in your own home. Right, off now to watch the rest of the Platinum Jubilee concert and trying to recognise anyone who’s been in the charts later than 1998. 

For advice on anything lock-related, or to enquire about repairs or replacements, call 07990573858 for a Locksmith Rotherham 


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