Does it ever worry you that your luggage, or your belongings inside, could go missing when you travel?
If you answered "yes", then you have good reason to be worried. Without preparation and the right gear to protect your items, you could be at risk of becoming a victim of luggage theft.
Every year, 14,000 travellers report items being stolen from luggage that is making its way around the world. And that is only the "reported" thefts.
Not to mention the thousands of bags that baggage handlers misplace at airports.
Even countries with exceptional airport security training and management, still face the threat of luggage being tampered with and items being stolen or lost from passenger luggage.
If you want to make sure you are prepared to travel without the fear of your items going missing, then read on to get our top six, expert tips you need to know about luggage security - and how you can prepare for your next trip right now.
Let's get started:
Tip #1: Always Pack Your Own Bag
Especially when you are traveling across the globe, you will be asked by airport staff if you have packed your own bag and if it has always been in your sight.
The only way to answer "yes" to this question is to actually pack your own bag and keep it beside you at all times. Never ask someone to watch your bag while you go to the bathroom.
There is a chance you will be detained - or your bag will be thoroughly searched - if you cannot answer "yes" sufficiently. So if you want to move through airport security without a glitch, make sure you know exactly what is in your bag.
By packing your own bag you also ensure that you can quickly access the things you need to without rummaging around looking for your documents at the airport. The less time you spend looking in your bag, the less chance a potential theft will see your luggage as an opportunity.
Tip #2: Know the Rules
Different countries and airlines have different rules when it comes to prohibitive items for checked and carry-on luggage. Wherever you are flying make sure you look into the local regulations, and avoid taking anything you shouldn't on board.
For example, some of the most common and obvious items you should avoid are:
- Flammable liquids
Below is a list of helpful sites that cover some of the most frequently travelled destinations in the world. They will guide you in the right direction when it comes to packing the most appropriate things in your luggage:
- U.S. Transportation Security Administration: https://www.tsa.gov/
- Brussels Airport: http://www.brusselsairport.be/en/passngr/security/bags-security
- Frankfurt Airport: https://www.frankfurt-airport.com/en/flights---more/transfer.detail.suffix.html/article/flights-and-more/checks/screening-and-hand-luggage-checks.html
- Australian Airports: http://travelsecure.infrastructure.gov.au
You may also consider researching quarantine laws and custom processes for the place you are travelling. That way you can avoid taking any items that could put your bag in a sticky situation.
Tip #3: Invest in Anti-Theft Luggage
It's not just your checked-in luggage that is at a risk of theft. Your carry-on can be at risk too, and that's why you might want to consider investing in some anti-theft luggage or backpacks.
These items are made from slash-proof fabric, making it nearly impossible for someone to cut open your bag quickly or efficiently.
Here is one example from our collection, the Metroshield Anti-Theft Messenger Bag:
Anti-theft bags often come with a zipper locking system that makes it extremely hard to open pockets quickly without wasting time and unlatching the lock system. Any extra time it takes for a theft to open your bag, the greater chance they have of giving up or getting caught.
Tip #4: Purchase an Airport-Approved Lock
Have you ever got to your destination and opened your luggage only to find it has been rifled through or your security lock has been cut off? This is common practice if you have not invested in an airport-approved lock.
These locks usually can be opened by airport officials with a universal key. If you padlock your bag, however, it may be cut off when it is being searched. Once your lock is cut off it makes your bag a much easier target for thieves.
Try to make it as easy as possible for airport security to check your bag by investing in an airport-approved lock. They keep your belongings safe - and they make the bag checking process easy and efficient for airport officials.
Tip #5: Know What You Shouldn't Check
A common mistake of newbie travellers is that they pack expensive items into their checked luggage. If it's something that is important to you, then keep it close and pack it in your carry-on.
Don't mistakenly pack the following items in your checked luggage, unless you absolutely have to:
- Laptop computers
- Audio recorders
- Medications of any kind
With the amount of checked bags that go missing every day at airports, you will have peace of mind if your valuable belongings are by your side.
Tip #6: Consider travel insurance
Many insurance policies offer the option of travel insurance, and this is something you might want to consider if you are traveling to countries with spotty or suspect security situations.
You'll need to do some research to determine if this is something you want to do. But the bottom line is that travel insurance will help you get back that expensive camera you mistakenly stuff in your checked luggage if it goes missing en route.
Bonus Tip: Make a Packing List
As you are packing your bags (or beforehand), write down each item that is going into them. Keep this list in a safe place as you travel and a copy at home. By doing this, you'll always have a record of your bag contents, and that will be important if something does go missing.
It's an embarrassing situation for passengers who forget they left that camera or laptop at home only to go through the hassle of filing a report and accusing an airport. Make sure you know what is in your bag, and you'll have a record that keeps you on point, accurate and can expedite the stolen item process.
If you're looking for a packing list to work with, join over 3,000 fellow travellers by downloading this one below:
Are You Ready to Start Packing?
If you're ready to start packing for your next big trip, then make sure you have this helpful guide by your side.
It's better to be safe than sorry when packing for an international trip, and the key is to make sure both your checked and carry-on luggage is prepared against theft, while still meeting airport regulations.
Do your research, try to pack efficiently, follow the airport regulations of your destination city. Make it easy on yourself by following these six expert tips, and you won't end up arriving at your vacation frustrated or stressed.
There isn't anything fun about losing your luggage, so don't become a victim. Do what you can to protect yourself today!