Keeping your luggage safe — protecting it from loss, damage or theft — has even become more critical part of your holiday travel. Expensive devices have become part of the traveling experience, so luggage has never been too attractive for theft. As air travel becomes ever more popular, flight delays, missing bags and burglary even inside the cabin has become a common risk to all passengers. And as travel also becomes more exposed to potential terrorist attacks, security measures have made the experience less pleasant and more cumbersome.
11 Luggage Safety Tips Every Traveler Should Remember
- Choose the more secure luggage
- Get the right insurance coverage
- Pack your own bags
- Know what to check in and carry on
- Carry your own bags
- Never lose sight of your bags
- Understand customs restrictions
- Don’t put too much information on your bag tags
- Bring the right luggage with you
- Create extra identification for your bag
- Report to airport officials if you notice your luggage is tampered with
Are TSA locks necessary? Should I book travel insurance? Should I place my contact address at bag tags? These questions are all legitimate, but not everyone is aware of their answers. Let us all explore the ins and outs of making our traveling bags safe and secured.
Choose the more secure luggage
If you have the opportunity to buy a new luggage, zipperless bags may offer better security, given the horror stories about how easy to penetrate into a zippered luggage so culprits can steal away items, or worse insert some contraband. If not, a reasonably sturdy luggage that can withstand check in handling especially on long-haul flights and multiple stop overs.
Get the right insurance coverage
Travel insurance comes in a variety of features: flight delays, lost wallets, medical and hospital benefits, and so on. While all these provide safety and guarantee you are covered in case unfortunate incidents happen, make sure they apply to your travel plans such as your destination or type of holiday. Of course, it’s great to include some coverage for your luggage in case it gets lost or damaged.
Pack your own bags
Packing your own bags not only helps you ensure you got everything in place — and whether items should be in the check in or cabin luggage — it also gives you peace of mind that no banned items (drugs, restricted food items, batteries, etc) are inside that generates alarm when passing through security checks and x-ray scanners.
Know what to check in and carry on
Understand that not all items can be placed inside a luggage that’s checked in (power banks for example), and not all items are allowed inside the cabin luggage — liquids exceeding 100ml, large lithium ion batteries, etc). You also should anticipate what things to do during travel — read a book or use a laptop so making them accessible from your hand luggage and not buried underneath your checked in luggage is set.
Carry your own bags
This sounds self-explanatory but the truth is that many passengers have become unknowingly willing drug mules as they carry luggage with narcotics other people have asked them to carry — often with a token “reward” for the trouble. Carrying your own bags gives you assurance of knowing what’s inside and avoids getting surprised (or worse, detained) by customs officers.
Never lose sight of your bags
Airport public announcements, cabin crew reminders and airport signs point to this basic luggage handling tip: never lose sight of your luggage so you can avoid getting it lost or stolen. You may need to drag them into the toilet, restaurant or duty free shops instead of leaving them in lockers or other people. When you need to use backpacks, ensure zippers are sealed and if possible, wear them in front in the middle of a crowded place so prying hands couldn’t get through.
Understand customs restrictions
Some countries, even at transit points, impose certain restrictions on items you bring. For example, travelers to the United Arab Emirates must not bring cooked food or items that conspicuously display Israeli origin. Likewise, Australia does not permit entry of seeds and nuts as well as dairy products. By abiding these country-specific guidelines, you can be sure of getting through to these countries smoothly.
Don’t put too much information on your bag tags
Many passengers include name, address and phone number in their bag tags because they think this comes handy when airlines or other passengers try to locate them. But sharing your address also gives a hint to criminals that you’re not home or pretend to be airline staff looking to return your luggage and then rob you.
Bring the right luggage with you
Less is more, so they say. This not only applies to those who adhere with minimalism, but also for travelers. As you bring more luggage, you have to look after more things and there is a greater risk of losing sight or leaving some of them behind. Check how many days are you traveling, anticipate the clothing you may need, including undergarments, footwear and outer clothing.
Create extra identification for your bag
Although luggage may come in different brands, sizes and colors, there are plenty of opportunity to have the same bag with another passenger. Instead of just placing a bag tag with your name and contact details, which may come as a risk (read above), a brightly colored string or a zip tie which also adds another security layer for the luggage.
Report to airport officials if you notice your luggage is tampered with
At the arrival area’s baggage carousel area, when you notice your luggage has been tampered with — locks broken or case damaged — do not touch it. Instead take a photo or video, and approach any airport staff to report the incident. While you might get through a more thorough screening yourself, the luggage situation could help defend you in case some drugs or banned material has been inserted into the bag.
Although we think these tips are helpful, nothing beats common sense when bringing your bag to the check in counter, carrying them into the cabin, in and around your hotel lobby or inside crowded buses or trains.