Luggage locks

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
chabil
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:38 pm
Location: North of Boston

Luggage locks

Post by chabil » Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:36 pm

I usually never lock my suitcase when we travel by air. I had one CD stolen so far and that was in a foreign country.
We will be travelling to Africa soon and I want to get a lock. The reason I don't lock is that one time I got one it was broken by security anyway. The other time when I got security approved lock, it would not open with the tiny key provided.I had to get the hotel to break it open.

What lock do you use for luggage? Brand name and type. Thanks

User avatar
climber2020
Posts: 912
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:06 pm
Contact:

Re: Luggage locks

Post by climber2020 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:42 pm

If you search amazon for "TSA luggage locks", I've used something very similar to that in the past.

Currently, I do not use locks of any type because on 95% of my vacations I only travel with one small backpack. The only things worth stealing are my camera, passport, and phone which I have either on me at all times or locked in the hotel safe.

adamthesmythe
Posts: 1640
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: Luggage locks

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:14 pm

I don't use any kind of lock and I don't pack anything I cannot afford to lose.

livesoft
Posts: 57312
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Luggage locks

Post by livesoft » Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:18 pm

I also travel lockless including to Africa. I carry a laptop and a camera in carry-on, but nothing of exceptional value in checked luggage.
This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

User avatar
Ruprecht
Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:34 pm
Location: a very nice cardboard box
Contact:

Re: Luggage locks

Post by Ruprecht » Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:47 pm

I've never bothered with a luggage lock on a flight. But I recently bought a luggage lock for a slightly different reason: when I'm at a business conference, I very frequently wind up having to leave my luggage with either the hotel front desk, or in a designated location near the conference center. Sometimes I've had an iPad or laptop in my luggage. A little luggage lock is easy to remove, but at least if it were removed I'd be able to report to the hotel that 'one of your staff removed my luggage lock'. It seems like that might be a more powerful argument than just, "something is now missing from my luggage". Also, it seems like it might make theft by hotel staff less likely by adding another step they would have to go through to steal something. On the other hand, I suppose it might make my luggage more of a target.

Anybody else think this way?

User avatar
Ged
Posts: 3309
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 1:48 pm
Location: Roke

Re: Luggage locks

Post by Ged » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:09 pm

I've tried using TSA approved locks on my luggage twice. Both times the TSA cut the locks off anyway. I got the message - they can't be bothered and I was wasting my money.

Calli114
Posts: 32
Joined: Tue May 16, 2017 12:54 am

Re: Luggage locks

Post by Calli114 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:40 pm

Ruprecht wrote:
Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:47 pm
I've never bothered with a luggage lock on a flight. But I recently bought a luggage lock for a slightly different reason: when I'm at a business conference, I very frequently wind up having to leave my luggage with either the hotel front desk, or in a designated location near the conference center. Sometimes I've had an iPad or laptop in my luggage. A little luggage lock is easy to remove, but at least if it were removed I'd be able to report to the hotel that 'one of your staff removed my luggage lock'. It seems like that might be a more powerful argument than just, "something is now missing from my luggage". Also, it seems like it might make theft by hotel staff less likely by adding another step they would have to go through to steal something. On the other hand, I suppose it might make my luggage more of a target.

Anybody else think this way?
Similar reasons here. Regarding the original question, I have a TraveMore (from Amazon) combination lock with a small cable for my carry on b/c of having to gate check it frequently. They are inexpensive, in a packet of 2 or 3. My big bag has a Tumi combo lock that came with it, opens on a push button hinge with an awkward curve so I don't care for it as much.
I went years without locking my bags including Africa, but I would actually close them with a bread tie just to prevent accidental unzipping incidents. I can't recall ever having anything missing.
I decided it's easy enough to start locking them, although I usually have no valuables in them; occasionally my iPad. It would be a pain to replace that or my binoculars.
I have been on a lot of group tours, on which you leave luggage outside your hotel door or in a big grouping in the lobby, potentially unattended for a while.

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 2838
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: Luggage locks

Post by Pajamas » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:06 pm

Here's my strategy:

1. Don't check luggage, carry-on only. Be prepared to check carry-on anyway, so pack valuables in personal item only.

2. When checking luggage, use a relatively inexpensive suitcase. Don't lock it. Use a metal key ring or cable tie to hold the zippers together and to keep them from coming apart.

Why? TSA has the key anyway. Using an inexpensive suitcase with no lock signals that there is nothing inside worth stealing.

Even if the TSA did not have the key, most suitcases can be opened in a couple of seconds with a ballpoint pen and re-zipped even if there is a lock:

https://youtu.be/tbpKhHwwtiY?t=51

Don't be like the Duchess of York and pack your jewels in your checked luggage:

http://www.nytimes.com/1995/12/07/nyreg ... theft.html

tim1999
Posts: 3329
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:16 am

Re: Luggage locks

Post by tim1999 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:13 pm

I use TSA locks from Walmart. Mainly because I travel often with a soft-sided golf club case and duffel bags with zippers. I don't want the zippers coming apart from being jostled around and spilling the contents all over the tarmac. My golf bag is always searched by TSA (they leave a notification slip inside) and they've been good about using their key to open the lock and putting it back on.

chabil
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:38 pm
Location: North of Boston

Re: Luggage locks

Post by chabil » Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:37 am

OK, good to know pretty much everyone is doing what I am doing. Good to know also that I am not the only one who gets a love note in my suitcase from security every single time. My husband who travels with me never does.But for some reason he gets searched at security more often than I do. Lately however we have both been getting fast check in without asking or paying for it. Old age has its own rewards program.

THY4373
Posts: 450
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:17 pm

Re: Luggage locks

Post by THY4373 » Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:45 am

I have never bothered with locks because I never put anything really valuable in checked baggage.

More recently I have adopted the one bag/one world approach to travel which means I never check anything and only carry a small backpack that meets the tighter international carry-on specifications (it has passed muster even with Euro LCCs). It did take an investment in clothes that would dry overnight quickly but it has totally changed the way I travel. It is hard to overstate how much nicer travel is when travelling light. I can now travel indefinitely on such a bag except maybe in very cold locations. Except in some exception circumstance I'll never go back to checked luggage.

inbox788
Posts: 4195
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:24 pm

Re: Luggage locks

Post by inbox788 » Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:00 pm

TSA locks are a joke. Usually they're not good locks to begin with, but worse, they only have about 5 keys and the crooks have all of them like the TSA. At best, it's a tamper notice, but if they use a key, you won't even know that. What works better as a tamper alert is a color coded zip tie (and if you're paranoid that the crooks/KGB also stock replacement ties, mark them with a Sharpie or invisible ink).

https://www.amazon.com/Invisible-Blackl ... 004C89M9Q/

Much simpler to avoid packing targets and not bringing unnecessary valuables or carrying them with you. Go with the assumption that anything you pack may be expendable.

harrychan
Posts: 1320
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:37 pm
Location: Pasadena

Re: Luggage locks

Post by harrychan » Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:07 pm

I use zip ties and I tie them tight. If they want to cut them off, be my guest.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

chabil
Posts: 400
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:38 pm
Location: North of Boston

Re: Luggage locks

Post by chabil » Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:47 pm

harrychan wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:07 pm
I use zip ties and I tie them tight. If they want to cut them off, be my guest.
do you carry scissors to cut them with you in your carry on? are they allowed?

WolfgangPauli
Posts: 170
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2015 8:28 am

Re: Luggage locks

Post by WolfgangPauli » Sat Sep 30, 2017 1:38 pm

I only own luggage with integrated TSA locks and I do use them. However, as most posters have said, only check what you can afford to lose. At the end of the day, even if your luggage is locked, they can just take the luggage right? If I were to need something very valuable, I likely would ship it UPS and pay for insurance and just pick it up when I get where ever I am going.
Twitter: @JAXbogleheads | EM: JAXbogleheads@gmail.com

harrychan
Posts: 1320
Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:37 pm
Location: Pasadena

Re: Luggage locks

Post by harrychan » Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:30 pm

chabil wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:47 pm
harrychan wrote:
Sat Sep 30, 2017 12:07 pm
I use zip ties and I tie them tight. If they want to cut them off, be my guest.
do you carry scissors to cut them with you in your carry on? are they allowed?
I carry fingernail clippers.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

Post Reply