Just how safe do you feel leaving your valuables unattended in a hotel room? It’s an interesting question because your personal perception of risk probably relies on unreliable anecdotes from many years ago concerning thieving maids.
But statistics about just how safe and secure a hotel room is are hard to come by and there are so many variables at play.
One 2009 study that looked at crimes committed at 64 Miami Beach hotels revealed that 38 per cent of all crimes reported were thefts from a guest room. That study is already old but it actually used data from 2002 and 2003 and doesn’t compare to crime levels in the general community.
What we do know, is that crime levels can rise during hard times and while hotels have worked really hard to drive crime down, thefts can still be perpetrated by insiders like hotel employees or contractors.
The surest way to look after your loot is to keep it with you at all times but that clearly isn’t always possible. Instead, we rely on a hotel room safe.
Admittedly, I rarely feel the need to use the room safe for personal travel and that’s partly because I’m scared I’ll lose stuff by leaving it in the safe after I’ve left. Thankfully it hasn’t happened to me yet but I do know people who have managed to check out with their passports, wallets and even expensive jewellery still locked away in the safe.
Luckily, there’s a very simple trick that flight attendants are taught to make sure you never accidentally leave something in your hotel room safe and it involves placing one of your shoes in the safe alongside your valuables.
The reason this trick works so well for flight attendants is that we obviously have footwear that we wear for work but won’t need to put on again until we change back into our uniforms just before checking out at the end of our layover.
If you’ve accidentally left anything in the hotel room safe, including your uniform shoe, you’ll very soon realise when you try to leave the room with just one shoe.
The key to making this work for personal travel is making sure you leave a shoe that you know you’ll be wearing to the airport… otherwise you could end up with no valuables and one less shoe.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.