10 tips for keeping your luggage safe

Whether you’re waiting at security, backpacking through Asia or spending the night at a hostel in Europe, when it comes to travelling, there is the potential for your belongings to go awry at any point. From an airport losing your suitcase to having your luggage tampered with, a bunch of things can go wrong if you don’t actively try and protect it. To make things easier, we made a list of ten handy tips to keep your luggage safe on your travels.

1.Know what you’re carrying

Aside from the fact that most airports clearly state you must pack your own bags and be aware of the contents, it's also useful to compile a little list of possessions before you travel just incase anything does go missing. If something suddenly vanishes, and you don’t realise until much later, this can make it harder to claim on your travel insurance, and makes it even less likely that you will be reunited with the item.

If you find yourself making purchases while on your travels, you can add to the list as you go.

2. Use the right locks for your bags

Locking up your bag is a great idea to keep your things safe, especially if you are checking your bag in for a flight or stowing it in the hold of a vehicle. Sure, if someone is determined to get into your case they can probably break a lock, but they can act as a useful deterrent to potential thieves.

If you are flying by air, however, you should make sure that the lock you use is TSA approved. These locks are not completely secure and allow TSA agents to get into your suitcase if they select it to be searched. It is easier to comply with these rules; if you decide to get a stronger lock you run the risk of the agent taking extreme measures to get into your bag- this could result in a broken suitcase or damaged possessions.

3. Consider using zip ties

Although a zip tie certainly doesn’t have the strength of a good lock, they are useful in making sure that you bags haven’t been tampered with. While they are easy to cut off, they also prevent easy access for any sly opportunists who may find themselves alone with your luggage.

Plus if you opt for a particularly colourful zip tie it can help you identify your bag, and reduce the risk of someone taking the wrong bag home from the baggage belt.

4. Keep hand luggage in sight

You can’t always be beside your bag when travelling, especially when it comes to checked luggage. However, if you’re travelling with hand luggage, you should keep your eyes on it at all times. The minute your bag is out of sight you never know who could get a hold of it, or place dangerous unsolicited items in there without your knowledge. You should never leave your bag unattended for a second, and if necessary, ask someone that you trust to keep an eye on your luggage.

5. Get a good travel insurance policy for your trip

Losing your luggage is not only inconvenient, but it can also leave you with a hefty bill when it comes to replacing the contents. Save yourself the headache by investing in a good travel insurance policy up front. Not only can your policy protect your luggage, it can also save you from costs incurred by delays or cancelled flights, sort things out if there is a problem with accomodation and even cover the cost of any emergency medical care. There are all kinds of companies out there offering packages to suit every need, so search the market and find the best deal for you.

6.Keep your valuables hidden

For the most part you should try and carry your valuables on your person all of the time, but if for some reason you can’t, try and stash them in a secret spot in your bag. Whether you’re hiding your money in a pair of socks, or placing an expensive item of jewellery in the pocket of some folded up clothing, if it’s harder to find in your bag, then it’s less likely it will be stolen.

7. Be cautious of lockers and safes

Although most hotel rooms and hostels offer a safe for guests to store their valuables in, you should use these with caution. Many of the type of safes provided can be easily compromised by burglars or even the employees if you’re unlucky. Usually management and staff also have a master key or the ability to “override” a code input on an electric safe-which makes your stuff easy to target.

While this kind of theft is less common, it is still something to be aware of. Try to keep your most valuable possessions with you at all times.

Similarly, be aware of shared storage spaces. Many hotels and hostels offer these for visitors who have checked out but still have some time to kill before they go on their way. Make sure you do not leave any valuables in these areas, and always lock your luggage up before leaving it.

8. Avoid using fancy luggage

For once, having the nicest looking stuff isn’t necessarily the best when it comes to luggage. If you have expensive luggage that sends one message to a thief: that its contents are equally as flashy. If you want your luggage to stand out from the crowd why not invest in brightly coloured or patterned cases instead? Or go for a large, bright tag or an elastic cord that is easily identifiable from far away. The more apparent your case is, the less likely a thief will run the risk of making a swift exit with it.

9. Invest in a baggage tracker

We live in the age of technology, so of course there is something on the market that helps you know the location of your luggage at all times. Baggage trackers are becoming more widely available on the market, and come with a range of price tags.

A luggage tracker can be placed inside your case and will then emit a signal that can be read by your cell phone. Some trackers even send you a text message when your flight lands to let you know that your luggage arrived safely.

10. Consider investing in anti-theft luggage

There are brands on the market, such as Pacsafe, who design bags that are impervious to theft. These bags come with zippers that are both lockable and puncture-proof, and are made from impenetrable fabric. While they do come with a big of a price tag, and are a little heavier in weight that your average bag, they do a pretty good job of keeping your stuff safe and sound.