Essential Luggage-Safety Tips You should Know
How do you stop your bags being stolen or be tampered with? From planning the right luggage to how to use it on the road, we share our top tips to help keep your belongings safe.
There are two parts to keeping your luggage safe: planning the right luggage before you go and then how to use it safely when you’re on the road.
As usual, the best advice is just to use your common sense, but read on for more tips we’ve gathered to keep you travelling safely!
- Pack and Carry Your Own Bags
- Understand Quarantine Laws
- Get the Right Gear for Your Trip
- Always Take Zip Ties for Your Luggage
- Get the Right Travel Insurance for Your Trip
- Be Prepared to Lose Stuff
Before You Go:
1. Pack and Carry Your Own Bags
Make sure that you are certain of its contents when you’re crossing borders, catching flights or passing through Customs. Don’t offer to carry anything for anyone else. This might seem like common sense, but there are many stories of unsuspecting travellers just trying to help out their new found travel companion who seemed like “such a good bloke” at the time. By all means make new friends on the road – but let them carry their own bags.
2. Understand Quarantine Laws
Everyone’s heard stories about drugs that were ‘planted’ in some unsuspecting travellers luggage. But you also need to be aware of quarantine laws and be sure you’re not importing illegal substances – which could be as innocent as fruit or wood carvings, or as sinister as the body parts of endangered animals. In some countries the penalties are much harsher than a verbal telling off – in a country like Australia for example, you could receive an on-the-spot fine of up to $AUD220, or for a serious offence, you could be prosecuted and face a fine of up to $AUD66,000 or 10 years imprisonment. Ouch.
3. Get the Right Gear for Your Trip
Really think about how much gear you need to take (trust us – less IS more!) and then consider how many bags you need for that. It is much easier to get around and keep an eye on one bag rather than two. Take a sturdy bag that’s not easily tampered with and keep it securely locked.
If you are travelling to the United States, make sure your luggage lock is in accordance with their specific baggage lock requirements – these can be opened by security officers using universal “master” keys so that your locks may not have to be cut.
4. Always Take Zip Ties for Your Luggage
Although these don’t replace a secure lock, sometimes they’re incredibly useful for making sure your bags aren’t tampered with in the short term. You can easily cut them off, but they prevent easy access for opportunists. Black or white ones are the most common, so mix it up a bit with some colours for extra identification.
If your bag appears on an airport carousel with the cable ties missing or the colour combination changed, don’t touch the bag, call a security officer over and tell them you think your bag’s been tampered with. You’ll be subjecting yourself to a thorough search, but if there’s any contraband planted in the bag you’ll have a good alibi.
5. Get the Right Travel Insurance for Your Trip
Many people take out travel insurance because they think that losing their luggage would be ‘the end of the world’. It’s nothing compared to a big-time medical emergency in a foreign country which is what you should really be covering your behind for. However, lost luggage is inconvenient for sure, and possibly expensive to replace everything. To ease the pain, make sure you get the right level of cover especially if you’re carrying expensive cameras and laptops or smart phones. Read the policy description all the way through, and check these valuable items will be fully covered.
6. Be Prepared to Lose Stuff
Good, light packing is an art form but the basic advice is not to pack anything which you couldn’t bear to part with, especially sentimental and valuable stuff. But sometimes with lost luggage, it’s the bag itself that you miss most… seasoned travelers can spend their lifetime searching for the ultimate backpack.
7. Never, Ever Leave Your Bag Unattended
At the beach, in a café, or even the airport lounge, always keep your luggage with you or have a trusted travelling companion mind it for you. Make sure your hotel room is secure and take advantage of hotel safes (as long as they are reliable!).