Should you lock your suitcase on international flights?

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Andrew isn’t sure that locking his suitcase is still worth the hassle.

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Q. Andrew
I usually put locks on my luggage when I travel overseas, but a friend recently told me that I was wasting my time as these locks are easily picked and often cut off by airport security? If this is the case, what is the best way to protect my belongings?

A. Your friend is right, luggage locks are not very secure. Watch the below video to see how easily some luggage locks are picked:

Also, your luggage locks can be cut open by airport security or often they will have a master key that allows them access.

The best advice I can give, and this is also the information that the airlines suggest, is to keep all your electronic equipment and valuables in your carry-on luggage. This is the best way to protect your belongings.

However, if you are unable to do this, your luggage locks are not entirely useless. A potential thief may see other luggage unlocked and the very presence of your lock increases the effort required, which means other bags may be targeted.

Also, your travel insurance may require a lock on your luggage for you to be able to make a claim.

If you are really worried about your belongings, you can also use a plastic wrapping service for your luggage as these are available at most airports now for a small fee.

While these are obviously terrible for the environment, they do offer better protection than traditional locks. However, I feel like the presence of the wrapping acts a signal to thieves that there is something valuable in your luggage, so it becomes a double-edged sword.

If you have been locking your luggage in the past and it has worked for you, I wouldn’t want to be the one to tell you not to bother. That said, if you are able to move your valuables into your carry-on luggage, that is what you should do in future.

Do you lock your luggage when you travel overseas?

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Written by Ben



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