Lonely Planet Writer

How you can check if your hotel safe is secure enough to use

Storing valuables like passports and electronics can be stressful when staying in Airbnbs, home shares or hostels. Most hotels give travellers a bit of extra comfort with their very own in-room safe – but it turns out they might not be as secure as we think.

A new video posted by the “Lock Picking Lawyer” on his YouTube channel shows that there is a pretty simple way that some hotel safes can be broken into. In what he describes as a public service announcement for the Saflok brand of hotel safes, he shows just how someone could gain access to your room’s safe without knowing the password you set.

The lawyer, known only on his YouTube channel as the Lock Picking Lawyer, shows just how it can be done by placing a bottle of expensive whiskey in the safe and setting his password.

Travellers should check their hotel safes to make sure they’re secure. Image by gmutlu/Getty Images

He tries an incorrect code and the safe fails to open, but then he explains that “what this hotel did not do is reset the administrator password that comes from the factory”. That code is used to override the password, useful in scenarios when a guest might forget their password. But unfortunately, the factory password is incredibly simple – and was not changed to something more complicated that only hotel staff would know.

He then sets the safe to “super-user mode” by pressing the lock key twice. He then enters the generic factory code of 999999 – and voila. When it comes to staying in a hotel with one of that brand of hotel safes, he explains that it is important to check if the administrator password has been changed from its factory setting.

While this recent video has garnered the attention of frequent travellers, there are a number of other YouTube videos that show hotel guests overriding hotel safes with easy-to-guess master codes like 000000 or 111111. So next time you want a hotel safe to secure your belongings, make sure there’s not a simple way to crack the code.