Best and Easy Ways To Secure Your Luggage
Isn't it alarming how often we hear news about airport thieves and luggage tampering? What's crazier is that it is happening all over the world. Even if you are traveling to tourist-friendly destinations like New York and Los Angeles, you will never be safe. In fact, these countries have been named to be the worst-ranking cities in America for claims of lost items from checked baggage.
So in today's article, I will be sharing with you simple ways to secure your luggage that I've already proven and tested during my recent travels. Hopefully, you will be traveling with more peace of mind after reading this.
Are you excited? Then please keep on reading below!
The Best Way to Secure Your Luggage
1. Begin at home
Securing your bags should begin as soon as you grab that luggage from your closet. You can place all your valuables like travel documents laptops, camera including your jewelry together and pack them in the bag designated to be your carry-on.
I even find it more efficient to place of my important and valued items like identification, wallet or jewelry in a clear plastic bag that will be obvious to everyone. In this way, security will no longer need to open the bag since it is already in the plain sight and it is in full view for me to monitor if no single item has been taken.
2. Attach luggage tags to your bag
Luggage tags don't only look fancy, but they serve an important and useful purpose. Just in case your bag gets lost or it would take an unwanted detour, the airline will not have any difficulty reaching you.
But just a little reminder, there is no need to place all your information on the tag, your name and number would be enough. Don't write down your home address, of course, you don't want to announce to everyone that your house is possibly empty; you can use your work address though. I highly suggest you opt for a tag with a cover too, so your information will not be displayed to prying eyes.
3. Wrap your bag
Covering your bag with a plastic cling wrap will not only protect your bag from possible scratches and scrapes, it is also a deterrent for the number of folks who’s about to handle your bag throughout your journey. It will make your bag difficult to open and it provides a clear indication that the insides of your luggage have been compromised even from a distant.
Several major airports come with luggage-wrapping service stations. You will most likely find them near the check-in area. A machine will spew a durable plastic that will be wrapped around your luggage. Price varies from one airport to another.
But take note that Transportation Security Administration or TSA has the right to cut through the wrap whenever they need to have your bag opened and inspect the contents.
4. Keep your essentials in unconventional places
Most criminals can quickly identify where you have placed your essentials, they really know where to look! So it would be best to hide valuables in a much more unusual way.
Your goal here is to make your essentials appear to be ordinary or just something they can’t benefit from. Criminals definitely know what they can quickly transform into fast cash, so you need to be one step ahead of tricking them into overlooking your hidden valuables.
I always keep any of my valuables like jewelry hidden in a place that will most likely be overlooked by criminals. For instance, you can empty ordinary toiletry supplies like deodorant where you can hide important items or you are placing some cash in your luggage, store it in the pocket of your clothing and fold it up.
5. Be careful when using safes and lockers
There are plenty of lockers and safes provided by hostels and hotel rooms, but you have to remember that placing your luggage in these storages will make it an easy target for anyone who has access to protocols. They can be quickly compromised by burglars or just by hotel employees or fellow tourists, especially in shared storage spaces offered by hostels.
Even light safes provided by hotels can be quickly opened through the process referred to as “bouncing”. It will only take a harsh strike on top of the safe while turning the handle of the safe to successfully access it.
6. Never leave your bag unattended
You have to keep your luggage with you all the time or at least, let your trusted travel companion watch it for you. If you are leaving your luggage in your hotel room, don’t forget to lock the zipper. Of course, the criminal could just steam the entire bag, but the goal here is to make it much harder for any cunning thief.
If you are eating on a restaurant or relaxing at a coffee shop, slip the bag’s strap around the leg of the chair.
7. Keep your day-pack secured
It’s very common to leave pockets flapping open or the zips undone with day-pack especially if you get busy filling up important forms. But this could make you vulnerable to pickpockets and have your valuables stolen. So make sure you check your bag from time to time.
Also, whenever I am in crowded areas like train stations, I find it best to wear my bag in front of me. I know it looks a little uncool to be hugging your day-pack, but this at least you will not be exposing your bag to anyone. If you are wearing handbags, wear it across your body; its strap should be diagonally over your one shoulder. Avoid hanging it loose off your shoulder since this would make it an easy target for thieves who snatch and run.
List of Anti-Theft Accessories
You Should Invest In
You will also need to invest in the right gear for a more secure travel. It is much easier to get around knowing that your luggage has been secured with durable anti-theft accessories.
1. Bag Locks
You lose control to whatever will happen with your luggage, once it gets carried away by the conveyer belt into an area only airport personnel know. Fortunately, you can have a bit peace of mind if you take advantage the benefits of TSA luggage lock.
Since TSA agents will be using a universal master key just in case they will need to open your bag lock to search or check what’s inside, you no longer have to worry of your locks being cut. And during a long layover between your flights, you are confident that your luggage is safe from people who want to slip stuff out from your bag.
These locks are not just great for your checked-in luggage; you can also use this with your carry-on bags. Don’t forget that your carry-on is where you will be putting all your valuables, the things that are important to you. It won’t just make sense that you keep it as secure as possible too; especially that there are some airlines that require you to place your carry-on bag in the bin quite far away from you.
Anyway whatever type of bag lock you choose, I highly recommend you opt for something thick to avoid cutting as well as ones with lockpick resistance. I highly recommend Alpine Rivers UltraTuff TSA Approved lock; this is definitely one of the best luggage locks available on the market today. It is made of durable zinc alloy to survive the abuse of travel. It even comes with a pop-up indicator that alerts you just in case the lock has been opened by TSA for inspection.
2. Cable or Cable Ties
If you are not fond of using locks, it would be best to use cable ties or any fastener like tape tags on your bag. They actually serve a similar purpose of letting you know once your bag gets tampered. In this way, you will be able to check your bag immediately for any missing items.
But take note that this can only be used to luggage with lockable zips. All you have to do is thread a cable tie on the small loops found at the base of each zip pulls and then pull the tie tightly. If your zip pulls don’t come with dedicated loops, you can just thread the cable tie into the holes found on top of each zipper. Thought it is not as secure because anyone can still pull apart the zippers to make a little hole, but at least this would be enough of an inconvenience to encourage a potential thief to go on looking for an easier target.
Numbered cable ties are also available where the tie comes with a tag that has embossed serial code in it. This is a unique way to secure your luggage; though it does not do much in preventing access to your bag, it could serve as a proof that your luggage has been opened behind your back since the tags can’t be easily replaced, the numbers were uniquely created that no tags would match the one removed.
I always take a photo of my bag with the tie attached to it just before I checked in. In this way, when your bag shows up on the airport carousel with evidence of tampering, like missing cable tie or being replaced with another one, I will have a photo that will serve as evidence to my tampering claim when I complain to air staff or law enforcement agencies.
Also, don’t touch your tampered luggage and call the security officer immediately. Tell them that you think your bag has been tampered. You are about to subject yourself to a full search, if you have been planted with contraband, at least you will have a good excuse.
3. Anti-theft bag
Remembering what you should bring whenever you are traveling abroad is important, but it is also essential if you have the ideal bag for your trip. I highly suggest you invest in anti-theft bag or luggage that is tamper resistant; they can make your valuables more secure.
What’s great about this type of bag is that they are mostly slash resistant which is just great when you are avoiding theft. They also often use puncture zippers or come with hasps rather than zippers.
Don’t forget that criminals will always find a way on how to discretely get into your bags, even if you have secured them with durable locks. Zipper puncturing, for instance, has been a popular method of silently getting into any bag; it has been used by both criminals and law enforcement for decades already. This can be easily done just by striking into the zipper's teeth and the bag will be opened. Good thing anti-puncture zippers or ones that are hasp-secured are immune to this kind of attack.
4. Smart Luggage Trackers
There’s absolutely a good reason why smart luggage trackers are getting so popular these days. These devices are meant to keep approximate track of your luggage. You can choose among GPS Luggage Tracker, Bluetooth Luggage Tracker, and Mobile/GSM Luggage Tracker.
GPS Luggage Tracker is my favorite since it comes with GPS chip and can be tracked wherever you are in the world. GPS functions almost anywhere, this means you will not depend on any local technology or on proximity, plus it is also incredibly accurate. However, it can quickly get blocked by natural objects like mountains, trees, and even buildings. This means you might not be able to track your luggage when you are inside airport terminal or train station due to poor GPS coverage.
Mobile/GSM Luggage Trackers, on the other hand, uses the local mobile network in tracking your luggage. This means you can track your luggage as long as it is within it the range of mobile towers. Unlike GPS Luggage Tracker, it works well inside buildings, just like your phone does. However, you need to use a SIM Card by mobile services available in the country you are in.
So there you have it, the best ways you can secure your luggage in your travel. I hope you learned something new today and I wish you safer and happy trip.
How do you intend to keep your luggage secured? Do you have any travel hacks that I missed to mention? Let me know in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you.
Don’t forget to share this article with your travel buddy too!