How To Keep Your Luggage Safe
Luggage security is very important as losing your luggage (whatever the reason) is both costly and inconvenient. It is not only luggage theft (luggage and / or content stolen) or losing your bag that you need to be aware about. You are responsible for the content of your luggage and therefore you need to minimize the risk of your luggage being accessed without your knowledge.
Keeping your luggage safe at all times can be challenging but there are ways to minimize the risk of your luggage being tampered with, lost or stolen.
Luggage Being Tampered With Or Stolen
Most thieves are opportunists and seek out easy targets. Tourists absorbed in their surroundings are more likely to fall victims to pickpockets. Unattended luggage is more likely to be stolen and unlocked bags are more vulnerable to tampering.
Keeping a close eye on your luggage and locking it is the best way to minimize the risk of your luggage being stolen or tampered with.
Keeping your luggage with you at all times is though not always an option. Your check-in bag has to leave your sight for long period when flying and you are likely to leave your suitcases in your hotel room when you are not there. This means other people (mainly airport and hotel employees) can access your bag without your knowledge.
Even if your bag is locked it may still be at risk. Give a thief an opportunity to interfere with your bag without your knowledge and no lock will stop them. Determined thief can break any lock or damage any piece of luggage to steal the content.
Thieves can also access many locked bags without you immediately noticing that it has been accessed. This luggage security video shows how shockingly easy it is to break into some locked soft-sided bags.
Not only does this mean that someone can steal the content from your locked bag, it also means something can be added to your luggage without your knowledge (e.g. drugs).
You are responsible for the content of your luggage so it is crucial to minimize the risk of your luggage being tampered with.
There are available zipped suitcases with inbuilt locks that cannot be tampered, as the zipper pulls are fastened in a lock that cannot be moved to close the bag again.
There are also luggage security straps available that can prevent someone accessing your bag this way.
Keeping your luggage safe also includes minimizing the risk of losing your luggage during your journey.
One of the biggest risks is that the airline loses your bag, e.g. due to delays, missed connections or just by mistake. This can be very inconvenient but fortunately most passengers are reunited with their bags within few days.
Another common mistake travelers make is to misplace or forget their carry-on luggage, e.g. in the overhead locker, in taxis, trains, hotels, at the beach, etc.
This can be very inconvenient and costly, as most of us carry the most valuable items in our carry-on luggage, like wallets, travel documents, passports, keys, etc.
How To Minimize The Risk Of Your Luggage Being Lost Or Stolen
Fortunately, large portion of lost luggage is found by someone and would be returned if they knew where to return it. The best way to increase the likelihood of being reunited with your lost luggage is to tag it adequately, i.e. with durable identification tag.
You can also sign up with luggage tracking service to increase your chances even further, e.g. i-TRAK, Trace Me Luggage Tracker or TAG&TRACK.
Luggage locks, luggage security straps, and airport shrink-wrapping are all good ways to minimize the risk of your luggage being accessed without your knowledge.
The most secure suitcases have inbuilt luggage security locks that make it impossible to tamper with your bag without you noticing it.
The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has the right to cut off luggage locks in order to inspect luggage, without having to compensate for any damages.
Therefore, if you are travelling to or from US (or even just in transit) then you should opt for TSA approved luggage lock. TSA locks can be opened with master key held by airport security staff, i.e. they can open, inspect, and re-lock your bag without causing any damage to it.
To reduce the risk of your whole bag being stolen, you might want to consider using anti-theft bag protectors. They allow you to secure your bag when you have to leave out of sight and deter anyone interfering with it.
Bags can be lost and stolen, whatever luggage security precautions you take. So always make sure your travel insurance has adequate luggage cover for your needs.