Traveling can be stressful. Flight jitters, airports, and crowds of people can cause anxiety and nerves to run high. One of the last things any traveler wants to deal with, is a lost, stolen, or damaged piece of luggage.
So how do we keep our luggage safe and secure an avoid damage? In this article we are going to lay out the best way to protect your luggage from theft, damage, or ways to minimize the chances of losing it.
Table of Contents
- How to Protect Your Luggage from Theft
- How to Protect Your Luggage from Damage
- How to Minimize the Chances of Losing Your Luggage
- Luggage Recommendations
- Luggage Cover Recommendations
- Final Thoughts
How to Protect Your Luggage From Theft
The short answer: it’s nearly impossible to stop a determined thief. As much as you hear about TSA locks, a thief couldn’t care less. They aren’t going to steal your luggage and then try to pick the lock in the airport. If your luggage is stolen, it will be long gone.
A TSA lock will however prevent a random person from thinking they can open your suitcase to see if there is anything ripe for the taking. Many pieces of luggage these days come with built in TSA locks. While they won’t stop a thief from swiping your suitcase, they are the first line of defense. If you plan on leaving your suitcases at a luggage stand, a luggage strap and a TSA lock will certainly provide that extra protection by broadcasting to that curious on-looker to move on to the next suitcase.
One full proof method to keeping your luggage from getting stolen, is to always keep it next to you. I daresay your luggage won’t get stolen if you have it within arms reach at all times. This of course is a challenge if you are checking a suitcase. Once your luggage is in the airlines control, it will adhere to the airline policies regarding lost, damages or theft.
If you can get away with only packing a carry-on, we recommend it for this very reason. Packing less means less to lose. A carry-on stays with you the entire flight. Never really out of sight, never out of mind.
While your luggage is secure during your flight, make sure not to wander and take your time upon arrival. Get to the luggage carousel before the luggage comes out to make sure no one is lurking and waiting for an easy target. If you have to clear customs before you can get to the luggage carousel, trust that you have your luggage well marked with luggage tags and a TSA lock or strap to make sure it’s as secure as possible while away from you.
Another technique to avoid luggage theft, is to not own flashy expensive luggage. A professional thief knows what expensive luggage is, and you will feel much better about a $200 suitcase being stolen, than one costing over a $1000.
Finally, there are luggage companies that offer a way to track your luggage. Tumi for example offers the ‘Tumi Tracer Program‘. With an embedded GPS chip, your luggage can be traced anywhere in the world. While this likely won’t stop a thief from making off with your suitcase, it is a way to know your luggage can be tracked and possibly found.
How to Protect Your Luggage from Damage
Luggage damage comes down to a simple equation: higher use = higher % chance for dings, dents or scratches. But remember: THIS IS OK. Just as cars are meant to be driven, luggage is meant to travel! Our point is simple, luggage will get dinged, dented, and scratched, it’s just the nature of traveling. We certainly don’t buy our luggage to sit in a basement closet and collect dust. Think of your well worn luggage as being a badge of honor towards the travel industry.
There are ways to reduce luggage damage. Perhaps the easiest and most economical, is to buy a luggage cover. Luggage covers are a great way to store luggage, protecting them from dust, dirt or water damage. As most good luggage covers are less than $20, it makes sense.
Luggage covers can also help prevent from minor scratches or dings. Some luggage brands advertise scratch resistant luggage. Let us tell you that NO luggage is completely scratch resistant. This simply means their luggage might be less susceptible to scratches during travel than other brands. Usually because the luggage is made with a higher end material, like a poly-carbonate.
Another method to mitigate damages, is to pay a little more for quality. Cheap luggage is not made with the same higher quality material that more expensive luggage is . Go with a tried and trusted brand like Samsonite. Or a slightly higher end brand like Briggs & Riley. Both offer warranties and should cover the basics if any wheels, handles, or zippers break. Airlines have been known to damage checked luggage while in their care, therefore it’s important to have luggage with a warranty, and to know the airlines polices for that what if situation.
How to Minimize the Chances of Losing your Luggage
Lost luggage and stolen luggage are unfortunately nearly the same. A traveler might not care one way or the other as the result is still panic, anger, and self-pity. There is a however a difference between an airline losing your luggage, or it being lost by you. If an airline loses your suitcase, you will adhere to the airlines policies and likely be awarded some sort of monetary compensation. If you lose your luggage, you are most likely out of luck on any form of compensation.
If your luggage is lost by the airline, know that as per the Department Of Transportation (DOT), airlines are allowed to pay out a max of $3800 per suitcase. If you own an expensive piece of luggage, or plan on traveling with expensive belongings or gifts, either take out extra insurance on your trip, or ship your luggage via Fed Ex or UPS. This way you declare up front exactly what your shipping value is, and this will be covered under the shippers insurance if declared properly.
Finally, as mentioned previously, there are luggage companies that offer luggage tracking. This is helpful to know where your luggage physcially is. You can also make sure your luggage is well marked with luggage tags. Make sure to check out our article on what to put on a luggage tag to make sure you don’t provide too much information.
Samsonite Luggage Set – Windfield 3 DXL Hardside
– 3 piece set includes a 20′ carry on, 25 & 28′ checked suitcases
– built in TSA side mounted locks
– 10 year limited warranty
– made with scratch resistant polycarbonate material
Briggs & Riley – Torque 30′ Checked Suitcase
– medium hard-side spinner
– mesh lid pocket
– aircraft grade aluminum telescopic handle
– double spinner wheels
– lifetime guarentee ‘covers the repair of all functional aspects of your Briggs & Riley bag for the life of your bag.’
Luggage Cover Recommendations
Gigabit Luggage Protector Case
– comes in 4 sizes
– right side handle hole
– made from premium PVC material
– clear see through design
Travel is about adventure, experiences, and creating great memories. Memories that can be shared or passed down to family and friends. While good travel memories are to be cherished, no one wants to remember the bad. Lost, stolen or damaged luggage is a memory no one wishes to have.
We have tried to provide you with the most informative information to protect yourself against luggage theft, loss, or damage. Please enjoy.
We wish you safe and happy travels!