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No safe - now what?

Not a "Packing" question exactly. It appears that 3-star hotels in Denmark (Copenhagen) do not have in-room laptop safes, and 4-star hotels are out of our budget. We travel alot, and stay in quite modest places, but it's been a very long time since we've not had a room safe to safely store passports, extra money and laptop/tablet, etc. Since it's not very practical to shlep everything including the laptop around when sightseeing, just curious how others deal with the issue.

Posted by
5235 posts

Well...I deal with the issue by not using a room safe. I've never used one in a dozen trips to Europe, staying at all kinds of lodgings. Maybe I've just been lucky, but I've never had a problem. I do travel with a laptop and always leave it in the room. Careless? Just lucky? Maybe.

You might consider not traveling with an expensive laptop. Mine cost only about $200 new. I have some really sensitive stuff encrypted on mine, but you can encrypt everything on your laptop if you are worried about data theft more than physical theft of your laptop.

Posted by
2651 posts

I have never used an in-room safe and have never locked a suitcase. And I still have all my stuff. I keep my passport with me and leave the laptop at home. In Europe my phone is my computer and my camera.

If you're staying in 3-stars, I wouldn't worry about it. Put your valuables in the bottom of your suitcase and have a good time.

Posted by
3579 posts

How I deal with hotels/B&Bs/inns that have no in-room safe:

I leave nothing of value in the room....ever. Thieves go through suitcases. If they're locked, they can steal them. They'll look under the bed, in a drawer, on a high shelf, etc for the suitcases so it isn't like you can "hide" them. Nothing escapes these lowlifes.

If there is no safe, I take anything valuable with me. I never travel with a laptop on leisure trips because there is no way I can carry even my Macbook Air all day. Too heavy. So I leave it home. I travel with a mini tablet and mobile phone and I take both with me. The only other thing of value I have with me is jewelry which I wear.

Posted by
6959 posts

I've never used a room safe, even when available, on any of my travels - domestic or international. Like you, I guess I've gotten by pretty well by habit alone. I've never had an issue (and even if I did, I don't take anything with me that I can't replace). Having said that, I'd never leave "extra money" anywhere other than a wallet, which goes with me everywhere.

Posted by
2626 posts

I would not deliberately choose a hotel that did not have a room safe. If I was stuck with one I’d carry the money, credit cards and passport with me in a money belt. I have an iPad and it’s pretty old so it would get locked in a suitcase or left out. For your hotels they probably have a safe at the front desk.

Posted by
1179 posts

I use soft luggage. I’ll lock stuff in my luggage and then shove the luggage in a drawer.

Posted by
5137 posts

We've stayed in several hotels in various countries that didn't have a room safe and many that didn't have a safe large enough for a laptop. My husband is a real estate agent, so he always brings his along.

When you're leaving the room, place your items in your luggage and place the luggage in a location away from the front portion of the room. I've seen so many rooms with the doors propped open by the hotel cleaners (for their safety) while they're inside the bathroom cleaning and personal items are visible from the doorway. That's a risk for theft.

We always take our passport with us.

Posted by
6378 posts

My theory is that the only person that is likely to be locked out of a room safe is myself........ An experienced thief probably wouldn't have much trouble with one.
I bring a mini-ipad, not a laptop. I keep important documents, credit cards with me.

I suppose it would only take one bad experience to make me change my mind on room safes, but fortunately I have not had the experience.

Posted by
108 posts

I rarely use hotel safes, I just keep my valuables in my carryon. I do wear a money belt and usually have my passport on me. I have copies of important documents stored in Dropbox so I have access as needed, as long as I can connect to the internet. I have never had a problem nor do I know anyone who ever had a problem.

The problem with safes is security. Unless you have an institution type safe (think banks) a safe is meant to keep honest people honest. Small safes are easy to carry off unless very securely fasted in place. In any case many are easily opened using a variety of methods depending on the safe. There may be some good hotel safes out there but I would not count on it. When you think about it if you forget the combination, you notify hotel staff and they come to your room to "magically" open it for you. Google "hotel safe cracking" to see how easy it is to break into hotel safes.

Posted by
92 posts

I usually travel with my IPad and sometimes my laptop and have never had an issue with theft from hotel rooms. I rarely use a safe because I’m afraid I’ll forget whatever it is I put in there when I leave to my next destination. I typically put whatever valuables I have in the bottom of my suitcase and I put my suitcase either in the closet or in a dresser drawer so it’s not sitting open in the middle of the room. Have done this for approximately 15 European trips and so far no issues but maybe I’ve just been lucky.

Posted by
100 posts

PacSafe makes portable safes (which can be locked around something stationary), as well as lockable bag protectors. I haven't used these personally, but a couple travel bloggers I follow have touted them. The safe looks like it would accommodate a laptop.

Posted by
7344 posts

It appears that 3-star hotels in Denmark (Copenhagen) do not have in-room laptop safes, and 4-star hotels are out of our budget.

after I found that the 3 star hotels in Copenhagen did not have safes I booked all 2 star hotels with a safe to lessen the risk of the laptop getting stolen

Posted by
2364 posts

Anything I consider valuable-and I don’t travel with a laptop, etc—gets locked in my suitcase. I never use a safe.

Posted by
261 posts

I do many of the things already mentioned, but I didn't see the suggestion to contact the hotel and ask if they will keep things for you. Doubtful a big laptop, but your extra cards, $, etc. in their office safe. I have yet to find a hotel that hasn't.

Posted by
31675 posts

I deal with the issue by never using the Safe, even if one is installed in the room. I only travel with a cheap Netbook, and just lock it in my luggage if I'm out of the room. My expensive camera gear is with me when I'm out touring so the only thing that's left in the room is the empty camera case. My Passport, credit cards and money are with me as well, safely stored in my money belt.

Posted by
971 posts

I Think you should cancel your vacation.
Copenhagen is a hive of scum and villainy anyway and hotel maids are only out to steal your belongings!
Or maybe hotels don’t have safes because they are unneccesary.

Posted by
3789 posts

Denmark carries a low risk rating for travelers and locals tend to focus more on stealing b3jcycles, park benches and vodka.
I travel with a tablet, camera and may have a wad of cash when in Africa or South America. Rarely does my room/tent have a safe. I put anything I don't want stolen in my suitcase and lock it. I carry the bulk of my valuables (minus the tablet) on my person or in my purse. Sure, a suitcase could get stolen, but room theft is generally opportunistic due to things being left around.
I have often received 2 pieces of travel advise:
-Take twice the money and half the luggage
-Never take anything you cannot afford to lose

Posted by
971 posts

@Maria

locals tend to focus more on stealing bicycles, park benches and vodka.

The bicycles I am aware of, but the park benches and vodka are new information to me. I will be sure to look out for these gangs of bench and vodka thieves in the future!
In all seriousness you should be more concerned about pickpockets in crowded areas, but also in the hotel lobby or restaurant. But i doubt thet will be able to get access to your room and it is unlikely that the maids will go trough your belongings. Another issue is eastern European criminals impersonating police officers, who will demand to see tourists ID and proceed to pickpocket them while they are off guard.

Posted by
526 posts

I keep money, passport, and credit cards on my person. I will leave my Ipad at the hotel. I sometimes place it under clothing in a drawer or put it under the flotsam left in my suitcase. I usually place the suitcase in an out of the way place, for my benefit, as I don't want to trip over it. So far, knock wood, I have not had anything stolen.

Posted by
3789 posts

@Morten.....benches and vodka....that' what came up on Google searches. At the least, it is good for a smile 😁

Posted by
971 posts

@Maria there was a case recently where the worlds most expensive vodka bottle was stolen in Copenhagen. Apparently the bottle was made of gold and gemstones or something like that, the vodka itself was nothing special. Russian oligarks who own gold vodka bottles are pretty low on my list of people i sympathize with and I don’t think the OP is one of them.
Stealing park benches sounds like drunken shenanigans and something I might have done in my younger days.

Posted by
14 posts

Thanks, everyone, for your very interesting comments/opinions. We'll work out a new system for ourselves on this trip. Good to see that folks feel that theft is not a large issue for travellers in Denmark.

Posted by
2162 posts

I find it useful nowadays to leave things I don't want the cleaning staff to throw away near the laptop on the desk or table,
because they are more apt to leave not only the device alone, but the things around it, too.
For instance, I may want to hold on to an empty bottle or some spare napkins, and if I leave them by the laptop, they are less likely to get thrown out by the maid.

Maybe I should be keeping empty bottles and extra napkins in the room safe from now on? Or locking them in my bag?

Posted by
32 posts

When in a pinch, I've been known to slide my laptop between the mattress and box spring in a hotel room since a locked suitcase can still take a walk. Hasn't happened all that often, but it's worked since (IMO) if someone enters the room, they're going to be looking in the obvious places for valuables...by putting the laptop in the bed, and leaving the suitcase unlocked, I think they'd look in it, check drawers and closets, find nothing and leave. Who knows?

Posted by
240 posts

Have you heard of Loctote? They have a virtually indestructible backpack that can lock itself to a stationary object. Mine was about 100 bucks, but it really came in handy when the room we stayed in didn't have a safe. It's also handy for the beach. My other suggestion would be to buy a cable lock (about 12 bucks on amazon). Lock your suitcase and then lock it with the cable to a stationary object. This would work unless someone can bust the zipper or cut the fabric. Good luck.

Posted by
1426 posts

We have never used a safe. When we do stay in a hotel we usually request our room to NOT be cleaned and just request clean towels when we return to the hotel. We leave everything in the luggage including passport, cash and credit cards. We leave our hotel room very clean, all of our stuff is in our suitcases or in a wardrobe/closet, except for toiletries, food and my electronic items for my hair. We will usually place a small item on the top of the suitcase so we can tell if it has been moved or touched. Every time we have looked, the case is exactly the same and we have never had any suspicion that anyone has messed with our stuff. In an apartment we never have a fear of anyone messing with our stuff.

Posted by
3031 posts

I'm always a little amazed at the people who obsess over safes/locking up their stuff in their room. It just doesn't make sense. Hotel staff who want to keep their jobs cannot steal. I suppose you could be incredibly unlucky and be staying the day a criminal who got the job with the express purpose of robbing tourists decides to pull of their grand heist before fleeing, but that's unlikely.

i've traveled all over Europe (and Mexico!) and never used a hotel safe and never worried about it. Cash of course is carried on us. I have left phones, netbooks, and passports in plain view in most places I've stayed.

If you want to worry, worry about pickpockets. I've never heard of any of my traveling companions or friends having dealt with hotel theft, but many have been pickpocketed. I leave my passport in my room because it's safer there than in my purse (the only time I've had something stolen off me was two passports from a messenger bag when out and about in Strasbourg.) My father-in-law had his wallet stolen - on the tram in Prague. My friend had his wallet taken from his back pocket (what? amateur hour!) in the Barcelona airport. And another friend had her iPhone stolen from a cafe table in Madrid where she'd set it down and some kid thieves came and put a map down on the table to "ask for directions" and snatched it and ran off.

When we're going out for the day from a hotel we usually leave a reserve credit card in the hotel room so we have access to money in the event that we're pickpocketed. We just leave it in our luggage. Unlocked.

Posted by
72 posts

Due to my work, I always carry a laptop of some sort when traveling. It's much quicker for me to connect back to work and solve a problem than it would be to try to walk someone through trouble-shooting over the phone. Not to mention, the phone call charges back to U.S. would add up pretty quickly and getting reimbursed is a pain in the backside.

When staying in hotels that cater to a lot of business travelers, I usually leave the laptop out on the desk, connected, running but in hibernate/sleep mode, and I use strong passwords on everything.

In other hotels, I keep the laptop stashed in my luggage when not in use.
If you want an added measure of security, lock or zip-tie the zippers of your suitcase before leaving the room. Most casual thieves won't break into anything locked or secured.

Posted by
3507 posts

My husband always takes a laptop and we never use the safe-but then we use points to stay at Hiltons and Marriotts. Travel Fashion Girl had a great idea on her website-take a fake wallet, put a little cash in it and a fake credit card and leave it visible in the hotel room and in your pocket. A thief will think s/he's accomplished his/her purpose and not look further.

Posted by
1056 posts

Been to Europe more times than I can count and never use a hotel safe. Never had anything stolen either. If you are concerned that someone could wander by your room while the cleaning staff has the door unlocked and open, lock your valuables in your suitcase.