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If you think a hotel room / apartment is safe, think again.
First, there are a couple of ways a hotel room / apartment can be broken into:
- Can be opened with a paper menu if you are not in the room to use the deadbolt / latch (video).
- Electronic locks can be hacked to create a master key card (video).
- Inside job by hotel staff.
- By criminals in shady / seedy areas.
- If your door does not have a locking chain / latch.
Next, hotel room safes can be broken into as well:
- Inside job: all hotels have a way to get into your safe.
- Master code: some hotels do not change it. It could be a standard “0000”, found in the user manual in the lock, or even found on the Internet! Simple codes such as “1234” are easy game for burglars too.
- Master key / master magnetic card: each safe the hotel orders comes with one, so a hotel will probably have hundreds and thousands of these. If these are not secured properly, they can used by staff / thieves to steal.
The video below, shows an investigation into how (un) safe hotel safes really are:
Mike Moske, a private investigator who has worked in hotel security for over 26 years, estimates that 60-70% of hotel thefts are inside jobs.
If that happens, it is difficult to prove that you have been a victim of theft, as there are no signs of forced entry.
Sometimes, you won’t even know! E.g. you leave a credit card in the safe. A staff opens the safe and captures your card details without taking it. That said, here are 4 solutions:
When not in the room:
- Portable safe
- Hotel safe lock
When in the room:
- Door lock
- Door motion alarm
- Door bars: large and heavy
- Door wedge alarms: can’t be used in many cases as it requires a specific distance between the door and floor; it may even be seen by thieves outside your door.
In this section, you will find some of the best reviewed and most recommended hotel safety tools for all budget levels:
|1a. Best performance||PacSafe Travelsafe GII 3 Liter Portable Safe (Black)||Jump to review below||Buy now|
|1b. Best value||SAFEGO Portable Indoor / Outdoor Lock Box Safe||Jump to review below||Buy now|
|1c. Best budget||Master Lock Personal Safe 5900D||Jump to review below||Buy now|
3. Door lock
|3a. Best performance||Travelers Security Lock Portable Door Lock||Jump to review below||Buy now|
|3b. Best value||Addalock||Jump to review below||X||Buy now|
|3c. Best budget||Secure Portable Home & Travel Door Safety Lock||Jump to review below||Buy now|
|4a. Best performance||Doberman Security Portable Door Alarm||Jump to review below||Buy now|
|4b. Best value||Lewis N. Clark Travel Door Guard Alarm||Jump to review below||Buy now|
A portable safe is one that is slash resistant and can be attached to a secure fixture, so that it can’t be removed.
This is the most secure way of storing your valuables in your hotel room, or in an apartment without a safe.
It is also highly versatile as you can lock and leave it anywhere, such as at the beach / island hopping, cruise, swimming pool, gym, park, in your car, at your seat / table, etc.
However, it is heavier than the other options. So there’s a tradeoff between weight and versatility, but the weight is still very manageable.
The Pacsafe Travelsafe GII Portable Safe comes in two sizes, the 5L size and the 12L size.
This is another quality product from Pacsafe, which is the global leader in making anti-theft bags.
As with all their products, you can rest assured that the Travelsafe GII Portable Safe is well constructed, well designed, and comes with all the essential anti-theft properties.
One concern is that as the bag is embedded with steel wire mesh (criss cross manner), there are small areas which a really determined thief can cut through and steal your small items.
That however, is highly unlikely. A thief would rather choose an easier bag, as cutting up multiple small areas hoping to strike gold just sounds foolish – it takes too much time and effort.
And there is a simple workaround – just put your small items into a bigger folder / holder / item in the bag and it can’t be stolen.
Another concern is more valid however – the TSA 3 digit combination lock provided is just not good enough. First, TSA locks are easily broken. Second, there are only 1,000 combinations. A thief who takes 1 – 2 seconds to test every combination will only need 16 – 33 minutes. If your number is in the middle, that will reduce it to 8 – 16 minutes.
As such, if you do get this bag, it is recommended to get the 4 digit combination padlock by Desired Tools which is sturdier and brute force testing of every combination takes 10x longer – i.e. a thief will have to go through 10,000 combinations.
Guard from cut and run: 360-degree eXomesh stainless steel wire mesh embedded into poly canvas fabric to help prevent would-be thieves from breaking into safe.
Lockable: TSA accepted three-dial combination lock included to secure stainless steel cable to a fixture in your hotel room, by the pool, in the car, or in-flight.
Ergonomics: the portable safe folds down flat to fit in your luggage when you’re not using it and comes with carry handles for convenience. Exterior is also water resistant.
Compartment: interior features padded EVA foam laminated and soft brushed polyester lining. The 12L fits up to a 15-inch MacBook, while the 5L will fit an iPad (10-inch tablet), camera, jewelry, and other small items.
- Dimensions (H x W x D):
- 5L:16.34 x 10.43 x 1 in / 41.5 x 26.5 x 3 cm
- 12L: 20.47 x 13.78 x 1 in / 52 x 35 x 3 cm
- 5L: 1.1 lbs / 17.6 oz / 499 g
- 12L: 1.57 lbs / 25.1 oz / 712 g
- Strap length: drop height
- 5L: 33 in / 11 cm
- 12L:12 in / 13 cm
- Materials: 900D Polyester Twisted, PU1000mm; Lining: 220g brush PES laminated with 2mm L1800 EVA
- Colors: black, charcoal, utility, storm
User ratings, reviews
If the Pacsafe Travelsafe portable safe is out of your budget, the SAFEGO Portable Indoor / Outdoor Lock Box Safe with Key and Combination Access is a highly affordable alternative.
One of the top selling portable safes on Amazon, this safe has also been featured on many travel media, such as Business Insider, USA Today, Travel Weekly and more.
Why? Because this product is sturdy, roomy, affordable, convenient and flexible with its combination lock or key access.
However, the main gripe is again, the 3 digit combination lock. Such a lock only provides 1,000 combinations. Should a thief take 1-2 second to test every combination, a thief will only need around 16 – 33 minutes to crack your lock. If your number is somewhere in the middle, that means 8 – 16 minutes are all that is needed.
On the other hand, a 4 digit combination lock has 10,000 combinations, which means it takes 10x the time required to crack the same lock by testing every combination. Unfortunately, the 3 digit combination lock is a permanent fixture of this product and cannot be changed.
That said, at this price range, the SafeGO product still represents great value for money and the 3 digit lock should still suffice as a deterrent.
Nickel-plated, zinc-alloy lock and combination lock: can be opened with a custom combination or key. The lock mechanism is made of rust-resistant nickel-plated zinc alloy that is also resistant to water, sand and salt erosion. It comes with a wrist coil band (black) and 2 keys.
17″ adjustable steel cable: The heavy-duty 17″ steel cable is plastic-coated, flexible, and easily secures to almost anything.
High impact ABS plastic shell: ABS plastic is one of the strongest plastics in the world. The impact-resistant ABS plastic makes this invention durable, lightweight, and water resistant.
Earphone, Phone Charger, and Electronics Adjustable Plug Access: lets you listen to your music and keep your electronics protected from weather or hazardous conditions.
Warranty: 90 days warranty included.
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 7.5 x 7.1 x 4.2 in / 19.1 x 18.0 x 10.7 cm
- Interior space: 88 in³
- Weight: 1 lbs / 16 oz / 453 g
- Materials: ABS plastic, nickel plated Zamak (zinc alloy), steel cable
- Cable: length – 17.8 in / 45.2 cm; diameter – 0.25 in / 0.64 cm
- Colors: black, blue, pink, white, green
User ratings, reviews
If you don’t have any large items or many items to lock up, then the Master Lock Personal Safe 5900D will make sense for you.
Master Lock is another well-known brand in the industry, and this is another high quality and highly affordable product from them.
The Master Lock Personal Safe is sturdy (made to withstand abuse, water resistant) and comes with a steel cable to wrap securely around a fixed object or use as a carrying handle.
The 4 digit combination lock is great as well (which gives 10,000 combinations and so is 10x more difficult to crack than a 3 digit lock), but the weight to capacity ratio is something that falls short relative to the Pacsafe Coversafe portable safe or the SafeGo Lockbox safe recommended earlier.
Combination lock: set your own 4 digit combination for keyless convenience.
Lightweight and portable: protects MP3 players, cell phones, cameras, gaming devices, cash, credit cards, jewelry, keys, passports, sunglasses or other small valuables.
Lock up and lock down: lock up valuables with the cable wrapped tightly to the safe or wrapped securely around a fixed object. Cable doubles as a carrying handle.
Construction: durable water-resistant construction; ear bud / charging cable access port; shock absorbing foam lines the interior storage area.
Warranty: 1 year warranty.
- Dimensions (H x W x D):
- External: 2.25 x 9.53 x 4.92 in / 5.7 x 24.2 x 12.5 cm
- Internal: 1.25 x 8.13 x 3.5 in / 3.2 x 20.7 x 8.9 cm
- Materials: 75D Polyester dobby, PU1000mm
- Colors: blue, gunmetal grey, white, pink
User ratings, reviews
Compared to the portable safe, a hotel safe lock is a more lightweight alternative to securing your valuables in your hotel room.
However, do note that there aren’t many good options in the market today, and these locks only serve to act as a deterrent, and can’t guarantee 100% security.
The Milockie Hotel Safe Lock is a lock and strap device and is one of two hotel safe locks out there in the market today.
The other alternative is the BloXsafe hotel room safe security lock. However, it is probably not worth the price (USD $300+, or GBP $140), unless you are securing valuables worth thousands or more.
That said, the Milockie Hotel Safe Lock is not perfect either. If you were to get this, there are two further upgrades that are recommended to be made.
Firstly, the padlock that comes with this is weak. It is equivalent to a 3 digit TSA lock.
- A TSA lock can be easily broken. Further a 3 digit code only gives 1,000 combinations. A thief taking 1 – 2 seconds to test every combination will only need 16 – 33 minutes. If your number is in the middle, that will reduce it to 8 – 16 minutes.
- Even the manufacturer recommends getting a stronger padlock (with a hasp of up to 0.5 inches)
- For instance, you could get the padlock from Desired Tools below.
Second, the strap is made of nylon and can be cut.
- Other users have reported good results by substituting the strap with the Pacsafe Carrysafe 100 GII Anti-theft camera strap, as the Pacsafe strap is wire reinforced and can’t be cut easily.
- This product review provides the instructions on how to do so.
Extra security: secures hotel room safes – this added lock creates a barrier that have to be unlocked to get access to the safe.
Theft prevention: your valuables are secure. Even those with a hotel master override key or code for the safe can’t open the safe because the Milockie is in place and prevents the door from swinging open.
Use your own lock: a lock is included but it is suggested to use a more robust padlock (hasp up to 1/2 inch in diameter) for additional peace of mind.
Versatile: use on hotel safes, and gym lockers and even home safes too.
Compact for travel: can be carried on airplanes or in luggage with carry pouch.
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 2.8 x 1.8 x 1.8 in / 7.2 x 4.5 x 4.5 cm
- Weight: 0.6 lbs / 9.6 oz / 272 g
- Colors: grey
- Components: (1) Milockie lock, (1) nylon carry bag, (1) carry storage bag, (1) three dial combination padlock, (1) instruction book
User ratings, reviews
If you are concerned about the area in which you stay in, or if your room does not have a locking chain, a portable door lock may come in particularly handy as a second line of defence while in your room.
For the best portable door lock out there in the market today, look no further than the Travelers Security Lock Portable Door Lock.
This product has two parts.
- First part: a thick machined aluminium bar with a large raised portion. You insert this raised portion into the door so that the door can be closed with the aluminium bar between the door and frame.
- Second part: a notched block of aluminium with two bolts. This is attached into the notch on the bar, with the bolts tightened till they press against the door and frame. If anyone tries to push the door open, this door lock will apply any force taken and distribute it amongst the lock and door frame.
This is a workhorse of a product. With the thick aircraft aluminium block and tight lockup from the bolts (which is easily adjustable to fit any door / frame), your room is going to be super secure.
Unfortunately, one downside from the thick aluminium used is that this product is heavier (0.5 lbs / 8.5 oz / 240 g) than alternatives in the market. For instance, the Addalock (described later) only weighs (0.26 lbs / 4.2 oz / 119 g) and is cheaper.
So if you wish to get one, you will have to decide which lock is most appropriate for your own needs based on the 3 key factors of security, weight and price.
Durable and sturdy: aircraft aluminum construction provides you the ability to rest assured that the lock will hold up to the toughest of tests.
Revolutionary: only lock to be issued a U.S and Canadian utility patent, the lock uses Newton’s 3rd law of physics and applies any force taken and distributes it amongst the lock and door frame.
Easy to use: easy to follow instruction sheet and with YouTube installation videos. As long as you have a gap 1/8 -1/4 of an inch between the door and door frame you can rest assured that the lock will fit as designed in no time.
Portable and handy: handy carrying case enables you to take it with you. The lock fits in the palm of your hand and is completely portable, which means no matter where you are you will not be without reliable safety.
Versatile: works with all doors left or right handed.
- Dimensions (L x H):
- Bar = 5.5 x 1.5 in / 14.0 x 3.8 cm
- Body = 4 x 1 in / 10.2 x 2.5 cm
- Weight: 0.53 lbs / 8.48 oz / 240 g
- Materials: Aircraft Aluminum #61
- Colors: blue
User ratings, reviews
If budget is a concern, the Addalock by Rishon Enterprises Inc. is one highly affordable alternative you can consider.
The Addalock is very easy to use. It is pretty much a thin strip of steel bar with prongs that stick out at one end. Stick that part into the door frame’s bolt hole and once you close the door, clip the red plastic part to the end of the bar and that is all.
As mentioned earlier, although the Travelers Security Lock Portable Door Lock is more secure than the Addalock, the Addalock is still secure in its own right, and comes in at half the weight and half the price of the Travelers lock.
So ultimately, it will depend on what you need.
Lock: a portable door lock that installs in seconds without any tools required on almost any hinged door that opens inwards.
Made of: the Addalock is made from chrome plated carbon steel and together with its unique shape makes it adjustable to almost any door thickness. Each Addalock comes with a travel pouch.
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 5.8 x 3.5 x 0.7 in / 14.7 x 8.9 x 1.8 cm
- Weight: 0.26 lbs / 4.2 oz / 119 g
- Materials: chrome plated carbon steel
- Colors: red
User ratings, reviews
If budget is a key concern, you will not go wrong with the Secure Portable Home & Travel Door Safety Lock.
This door is simple, lightweight and easy to use. How to use:
- Insert locking tab into rectangular opening of striker plate attached to door frame.
- Squeeze lever located on inside of door lock’s hand grip until the stop bar is flush with the door lock. Close door and release lever. Stop bar will now prevent door from opening.
- To open, squeeze lever until stop bar is flush with door lock allowing door to open.
However there are a few limitations to this lock you need to watch out for:
- There has to be around a 0.125 – 0.1875 in / 0.32 – 0.48 cm gap between the latch plate and the strike plategap between the door and door jam.
- If it is too tight, you would not be able to close the door; if it is too loose, the lock will drop out.
- Only works for inward opening doors.
Sturdy: all metal construction for superior strength and durability.
Ease of use: No tools needed to install – installs in seconds. Convenient, easy-to-carry size – Storage bag included.
Warranty: lifetime warranty.
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 6 x 2.5 x 1.5 in / 15.2 x 6.4 x 3.8 cm
- Weight: 0.25 lbs / 4.0 oz / 113 g
- Materials: metal
- Colors: chrome
User ratings, reviews
If you are concerned about the area in which you stay in, or if your room does not have a locking chain, a door motion alarm may come in handy both to alert you and to scare off any potential intruders.
Another form of alarm is the door wedge alarm, but it is not recommended as it is not as versatile.
This is because the distance between the door and the floor cannot be too narrow or too wide for it to hold in place, and it may even be seen by potential intruders outside your door.
The Doberman Security Portable Door Alarm with Flash Light is one of the best travel door motion alarms out in the market today for its price.
Why so? This is because the item is:
- Easy to set up on any door (just hang it from the door knob and place the clip in the door jamb).
- Lightweight and compact.
- Produces a decent 100 dB alarm (equivalent to jet take off at 305m; power lawn mower; motorcy.cle, etc).
- Comes at a great price.
Do note that there is no on / off switch. This can be a good thing as any potential intruder will probably not know how to stop the alarm short of smashing it. But it will be a hassle if you are just testing the product.
Ultra-portable & lightweight: completely portable, easily to install / remove – use at home or while traveling.
Spring clip trigger: alarm triggered with unauthorized entry.
Powerful 100db alarm: alerts you of any intrusion and break in, loud enough to alert neighbors.
Easy installation: simply hang the unit over the doorknob and place the metal clip between the door and the doorjamb. No tools required.
Includes: 2 button cell batteries.
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 2.75 x 1.25 x 0.5 in / 7.0 x 3.2 x 1.3 cm
- Weight: 0.1 lbs / 1.6 oz / 45 g
- Colors: white
User ratings, reviews
At a slightly lower price, the Lewis N. Clark Lightweight Compact Travel Door Guard Alarm with LED Flashlight will also work well for you.
The alarm from Lewis N. Clark is as equally easy to use, compact and lightweight as the alarm from Doberman.
To use, hold the thin blades together, slide them into the crack between the door and doorframe, then loop the cord around the door handle and adjust the toggle to keep it in place. Finally, you can set the alarm.
This same technique can be applied to sliding doors or to windows as well. No matter the situation, it will alert you to a possible intrusion.
However, the Doberman’s alarm is just slightly louder at 100 dB, while the Lewis N. Clark alarm works at 91 dB (equivalent to a motorcycle at 25 ft / 7.6 m).
Alarm triggered by sensor: loud, high-pitched 91 db alarm.
Extra security: use on hotel or dorm rooms as an added safety measure.
Easy to install and remove: simple to put in or take out of door or window as needed.
Super bright LED light: embedded flashlight to navigate in the dark.
Batteries included: includes two cr2032 lithium button cell batteries.
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 5.0 x 1.5 x 1.0 in / 12.7 x 3.8 x 2.5 cm
- Weight: 0.09 lbs / 1.5 oz / 42.5 g
User ratings, reviews