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Safety of hotel baggage storage?

Rather unbelievably, we’ve never had to store bags at a hotel upon arrival—even when we’ve arrived early, our room has been ready. But on our upcoming trip to Rome we’ll be arriving very early on a Sunday morning. We’re staying at a relatively small boutique hotel, and I suspect there will be one specific room already assigned to us (specific room class and specific number of nights) and that is very very unlikely to be available early. So we’ll be checking our bags for 4+ hours while we go out to sightsee. We will each have a small carry on suitcase and a day pack. For the flight, I’ll have all my prescription meds, my iPad, and a number of other valuables in the daypack. Also all our back up paperwork (copies of credit cards, passports, etc). When we get to the hotel, should I transfer all of this to my suitcase before turning everything over for storage? Would that be a weird thing to do in a hotel lobby?

My suitcase has a 3 digit lock in addition to the TSA lock, so it’s relatively safe. I could put a tsa lock on my daypack before we store it, but anyone can open a tsa lock. Alternatively we could purchase non tsa locks with keys and lock the main compartments of our day packs that way. What would you recommend?

Am I overthinking this? How concerned should I be about the safety of valuables and medications?

We will be jet lagged and wandering around Rome so I absolutely don’t want to carry anything other than bare necessities in my small travelon bag and money belt.
Thanks!

Posted by
1597 posts

I have left luggage at hotels many times and never had any problems. Leave it there and enjoy yourself.

Posted by
376 posts

I always leave my suitcase and handcarry with my hotel on arrival and after checkout, normally with laptop, passport etc in my (locked) handcarry bag. In 15+ trips a year on average, I have never had a problem. I'm not really worried about it being stolen, and a lock doesn't make a lot of difference - if someone wants to break into your bags, they can do it pretty easily.

I have quite a high risk tolerance. If yours is lower, I would probably suggest you keep your passport upon your person until you can check into your room, as it would be a major hassle to have to replace.

Posted by
15577 posts

Am I overthinking this?

Yes. (LOL). Hotels usually either have a storage room for left luggage or they put it in their office. No one will have access to it except the front office staff. If there were thefts, word would get out fast.

If you feel better putting a small lock on your daypack, fine. But being concerned that someone is trying to pick the lock is really overthinking it.

Posted by
890 posts

Am I overthinking this? How concerned should I be about the safety of valuables and medications?

Yes, you are overthinking it, but I do the same mental gymnastics every time I face that situation. My clear headed feeling is that in the jet lagged state, carrying around anything of value is far more likely to be lost or snatched from me than it is in danger of theft in the hotel's baggage hold room. Those storage rooms are typically under lock and key and adjacent to the front desk area. I might be less sanguine about any holding area that is not secure, so you might ask the hotel in advance how they handle and store your stuff.

What thought do you give to those same bags and valuables when you leave them in your hotel room during your stay? Arguably those bags and items are more secure when you have the hotel hold them for you upon arrival...just sayin'...

Edit: in case you don't know, in my experience the hotel will tag each item you leave with them and give you a claim check. They will also write your name and hotel room on the tags...in other words, they have safeguards to avoid giving away your bag to someone else, losing track of your items, etc...and I have had them also deliver our items to the room if we are out for the day and don't check in precisely when the room is available, and that is nice not having to schlep the stuff up to our room ourselves.

Posted by
919 posts

Just lock up your luggage and let the hotel store it. We have never had or heard of any type of issue with stored luggage.

Posted by
512 posts

I have never had a problem with storage of baggage in a hotel. The storage is usually in a locked room adjacent to the front desk where staff is mostly present, though they might step out for a few minutes here and there on errands.

Once I stored my bag in a store in Rothenburg, Germany, a service of the shopkeeper, so I could go sight seeing. I've stored baggage in lockers in train stations and youth hostels.

Posted by
7404 posts

Ruth, I frequently am leaving my bag with my small hotels or B&B reception because I change cities a lot during trips, plus I arrive at the next location mid-morning by train.

The reality of what I have experienced is that nothing has ever happened to my bag. Often the bag is placed in a back room or behind the hotel desk. But, I have also had places where the bags people leave are just set to a side of the lobby, in a luggage “collection”. Someone coming to retrieve their luggage could easily pick up an extra bag and leave with it, so the lock idea wouldn’t help.

I do take the minimum critical items with me. My passport, credit cards, ATM cards, any larger Euros are always in my money belt, anyway. Phone is in my purse. But, I also place a week’s worth of my prescriptions in my purse. I don’t transfer my iPad, etc. - only the critical “must have tonight” items.

Posted by
11356 posts

We have left luggage on every trip we have ever taken worldwide. Never had a problem and it never even has ever occurred to me that there would be one. It is just clothing in them.

Posted by
23437 posts

You are absolutely over thinking it. Who wants you luggage? No thief wants to haul your luggage down the street just to find it is full of clothes with no value. They want more guaranteed results like your billfold or pursue. Many little hotel do not have a locked storage so it sits in the corner or behind the counter. It is fine. We have traveled since 72 with no problems in the hotel or on the train. But always next trip ----------

Posted by
16003 posts

Ditto to the above: we've left ours in hotel bag storage any number of times and never worried about them. Other than a small-ish PacSafe cross-body for some of our valuables when sightseeing/changing locations (nether of us can tolerate a money belt), we've also never locked our bags.

Posted by
23437 posts

We always lock our bags with the small combo locks or sometimes with plastic wire ties. Not from a theft standpoint but to insure the zippers stay shut. We remember once a couple decades ago watching a luggage cart headed to a plane with a bag hanging on the back of the cart and slowly dumping out the contents of the bag. Someone had a big problem that day.

Posted by
4 posts

Am I overthinking this? How concerned should I be about the safety of valuables and medications?

Hotel storage over the years for us has run the gamut. Some had a locked room, others had a room just for luggage but anyone could go into it, and at a few they literally parked bags in the lobby by the desk. I wonder/worry about safety as well but so far nothing has happened.

Posted by
33141 posts

I've never had an issue, either behind the desk or in a luggage room

I've also never had an problem leaving my luggage at the hotel. Anything I can't finish the trip without gets moved to my purse and I have a small lock on my suitcase.

If it's a small hotel, chances are there isn't a designated luggage room as someone mentioned- it could be the corner of the lobby.

I like to consider the pros and cons- is it better to lug around a suitcase on small, uneven streets looking even more like a tourist than I usually do? My luggage is insured and my trip can go on even if it gets stolen (which has never happened.) To me it's a risk worth taking.

Posted by
27362 posts

I've never had an issue but it's something I think about because I change hotels 25+ times each year, and sometimes my room isn't ready. I've definitely seen piles of luggage in open areas, including one occasion at a 4-star chain hotel in the US.

I wear my money belt (with passport, back-up cards, etc.) until I can get into my hotel room and can leave the money belt (but not the passport) inside my locked suitcase. My prescription meds are not bulky, so I transfer that one pill bottle to my cross-body bag on hotel-change days. (I suppose just having a week's supply of those drugs with me might be smarter.) The major issue is my tablet, which is really too heavy to carry around while sightseeing. It's usually in my tote bag when I'm on a bus or a train (since my suitcase may not be near me), but I really want it locked in my suitcase while I'm out sightseeing. The business of transferring what is obviously a tablet computer into the suitcase in the hotel lobby is what makes me uncomfortable. I try to be unobtrusive about it.