Keeping an eye on your luggage at all times can be a challenge when traveling abroad. Luckily, we have some tips to help you keep your luggage secure and theft-proof along the way.

TSA approved lock or high-security lock? Should you put your valuables in that safe in the hotel room? These are questions we ask ourselves every time we’re getting ready for a trip. Keep reading to find out how to keep luggage safe throughout your travels.

Protecting your luggage has never been as important as it is today. In the digital age, many travelers bring expensive devices with them when they embark on their global adventure. These devices, along with all the other valuables are difficult to replace. Losing them means having your trip ruined, if not something worse. So here is what you can do to protect your belongings and keep luggage safe while traveling abroad.

Use the right locks for your bags

With current airport luggage screening procedures, it is difficult to tell which lock you should you should purchase. If you go with the TSA approved lock, the lock is not completely secure. If you choose a to go with a high-security lock, you run the risk of having the lock broken off during a checked baggage screening. It is at this point where the TSA lock, with the widely publicized flaws and master keys available to the public, does not seem that bad. However, some travelers have reported that even TSA approved locks have been cut off during searches.

If you don’t want to use a lock, it’s a good idea to have a fastener (such as zip ties or tape tags) on your bag that alerts you to tampering. This way, you’ll know to check your bag for missing items.

When it comes down to it, a lock is better than no lock when your goal is to keep luggage safe and untouched. Make sure it’s thick to prevent cutting and has some form of lock pick resistance. If you choose one of the most secure padlocks available, be sure that a heavy duty lock will fit the bag itself.

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A line of sight is the best security

It is nearly impossible to always be next to your bag when you are traveling. When your bag is by your side, you can protect it best by keeping your eye on it. When your bag is out of sight, the saying goes, that it is out of mind. If you have to leave your bag unattended for a second, you should never break eye contact with it. No matter how unlikely, if someone tries to steal your bag, you can call for assistance or chase the person down.

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Be cautious of using lockers and safes

Many of the safes and lockers in hotel rooms and hostels can be easily compromised by burglars or even by employees. Most of the time, these high volume commercial facilities have override keys or codes to all of the “personal” storage containers. This makes you an easy target to anyone who finds out the access protocols. The light safes in hotels can even be opened with a process called bouncing. This requires the top of the safe to be struck harshly while turning the safe handle.

When you are trying to stay safe at a hostel, keep luggage safe too. Shared storage spaces do not have any real security because they can be accessed by anyone staying in the hostel. It is always best to employ other methods of storing your high-value items if applicable.

Invest in tamper proof luggage

It is one thing to remember what to pack when traveling abroad, but it is also important to have the right bag for your trip. Investing in tamper resistant luggage makes your belongings more secure. These bags can be anti-slash, have anti-puncture zippers, or use hasps in place of zippers. Something that is slash resistant is perfect when you are trying to prevent theft.

It is important to know that criminals have ways of discretely entering bags, even when there is a lock in place. Methods of discrete entry such as zipper puncturing, have been used by law enforcement and criminals alike for decades. Someone can push the lock aside and a simple strike to the teeth of the zipper will open the bag. Anti-puncture zippers, or hasp secured bags, will be immune to this attack.

Place your valuables in unorthodox places

Most criminals know where to look for valuables, so you want to hide your things in a much more unorthodox fashion. For instance, if you have cash in your luggage, place it in a pocket of an item of clothing and fold it up. The goal is to make your valuable items look inconspicuous.

You can hollow out items like deodorant or other unremarkable toiletry supplies. Things that are going to be overlooked by criminals are the perfect place to hide your jewelry and other belongings. Criminals know what they can turn into fast cash, so you need to trick them into overlooking your concealed valuables.

To completely avoid theft in your luggage, we recommend carrying things of value on your person. Always keep them safe and stowed away.

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The number of things you can do to protect your valuables and keep luggage safe does not end here. This is just the starting point for better general luggage security. Once you have chosen the right lock and bag, be sure to keep your belongings in sight whenever possible. When you cannot keep your bag in view, do not put it at risk by storing it in an insecure location. Always remember to obscure your valuables within your bag to keep criminals from searching through your luggage. There are many things that could go wrong while traveling abroad, but with better luggage security, you can do a better job of protecting what is important.

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    About Ralph Goodman