Tips for Keeping Your Luggage Safe While Travelling
I can procrastinate like a champ. And one thing procrastinators excel at is looking for shortcuts. I think somehow deep down we believe we’re cheating the system, but really I suppose it’s just creativity borne out of laziness. So what does all this have to do with keeping your luggage safe during your travels? Read on dear reader. Read on.
I misplaced the keys to the lock on my suitcase over two years ago. No big deal, right? Well the thing is, the lock is still on the suitcase. Procrastinator me was dreading heading to a locksmith or sourcing a pair of heavy-duty wire cutters, so short-cutter me discovered a way to open my bag with a ballpoint pen. (Yes, you read that right — a regular old ballpoint pen).
Here’s the safety punch to the gut though — that trick works with about 90% of the suitcases and backpacks out there. And yes, that probably means your own beloved luggage can be tampered with by any schmuck with a Bic.
Here’s the video that opened my eyes:
Pick the Right Bag
Whether you travel with a regular suitcase, a backpack, a rolling duffel bag, or any other sort of luggage, what you’ll probably notice is that most have uncovered zipper lines that are subject to tampering as shown in the video above.
If you have to leave your valuables unattended at your destination, you might want to consider a Pacsafe bag or backpack. If you’re not familiar with the brand, Pacsafe bags have a nifty puncture-resistant wiring built right in to prevent slash and grabs, and an equally nifty locking system to attach your bag to a fixture in your room so someone doesn’t walk off with it. Plus their bags zipper lines are completely covered, thwarting any ballpoint-wielding ne’er-do-wells.
You can read more about what Pacsafe luggage is all about in the Best Buy luggage section of their website.
Wrap Your Suitcase
I used to think folks that paid to have their luggage wrapped at the airport were just wasteful nutjobs throwing their money away. After seeing how easy it is to break into most locked suitcases, I’m forced to rethink my position. Wrapping your bag ensures some deviant armed with a ballpoint doesn’t make off with your skivvies, or electronics, or whatever else you may value in your suitcase. As an aside, if the TSA in the USA opens your wrapped bag, they’ll also rewrap it for you at no cost. They’re kind like that.
Track Your Suitcase
If your luggage has a habit of going missing in transit, you might want to consider investing in some sort of tracking device to keep tabs on it. Best Buy Canada offers a number of item tracking devices for both luggage and electronics.
Consider Carry-On Only
I’ve always secretly envied people who can travel long-term with carry-on luggage only. I did it for a month once and found myself stuffing more and more clothing and souvenirs (okay, and maybe a pair of shoes as well) into my pockets before I hit the airport. I’m a bit on the taller side, and inherited my grandfather’s gargantuan feet, so it doesn’t take long to meet my carry-on restriction quota. If you are able to travel with just a carry-on bag, it ensures all your valuables are usually just within arm’s reach, and won’t possibly be comprised by baggage handlers along the way.
(If you’re about to head off on a long-haul flight, check out my tips for what to pack in your carry-on for long distance fliers).
Buy Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is the one thing you buy for your trip that you hope and pray you never get the chance to use. Most travel insurance policies offer some sort of lost, stolen, or delayed baggage option in addition to the traditional travel health insurance. Just be sure that you read the fine print to see what the maximum coverage amount is, what (if any) deductible is required, and if your pricier electronics are covered as well.
I’ve been lucky that I’ve never lost my luggage permanently during my travels or had my gear swiped (I’m knocking wood furiously as I type this), but that doesn’t mean I travel without baggage insurance. It’s one thing I budget for, and you should as well.
Think of it as a last resort to keep all your bases covered, just in case the other tips listed here let you down. But I’m sure that they won’t. (Well, not really, so yeah, better get that insurance friend.)