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Locking luggage

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turtlemichael

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We have TSA compliant locks on our suitcases. We have never used them on any travel and have never locked our bags. This includes a load of trips to the US. We've had the odd security note when they have been inspected. The most we have done is use shrink wrapping on African trips. We’ve never had a problem and I have never worried about it thinking that there was not much worth stealing.

However, it is now exercising my mind because we are soon to ship several suitcases to the US to meet up with a cruise ship we’ll be joining in San Francisco. The luggage will be out of our control for around three weeks after it is picked up by Fedex In Melbourne and hopefully delivered to our cabin as we board. Up until now it as only been out of our control for 24 or so hours.

I’m wondering what other do . Do you lock your suitcases, use the TSA locks, or some other form of securing such as ties? If we use ties and the cases are opened in Australia for inspection before they leave any precautions we have taken will have limited effect as the cases still sit in a warehouse in the US before they are delivered.

Whilst it would be inconvenient to lose a proportion of our luggage it would not be the end of the world as nothing in the bags will be remotely irreplaceable. Should I just not worry?
 

Lynda2475

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I like cases which you can lock using a padlock. I use TSA compliant locks only when flying into or out of the US, and then swap for decent locks once I've collected my bags. imo locks serve two purposes:
1. Help ensure bags stay closed through handling;
2. Provide a deterrent to lazy thieves

Also I once read that if something is stolen from your unlocked bag then travel insurer may deem that you did not take adequate care to secure your bags and therefore may deny a claim.

Given if you put decent locks on the bags they will be cut off by TSA (whether they need to access your bags or not), Id go with the TSA locks, as they are more likely to relock those, and its all you can do to secure your bags to comply with any insurance.
 

Pushka

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Another thing we are doing that we’ve never done before is putting a luggage strap right around the case. Last month MrP had a major zip failure and out came his case in Manchester completely unzipped. Once it starts to pull apart it can go the whole way round. Picked it up not realizing and out fell all his (thankfully neatly packed) packing cubes. If it had been mine, well, it wouldn’t have been such a tidy outcome on the floor.
 

Tygeray

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Another thing we are doing that we’ve never done before is putting a luggage strap right around the case. Last month MrP had a major zip failure and out came his case in Manchester completely unzipped. Once it starts to pull apart it can go the whole way round. Picked it up not realizing and out fell all his (thankfully neatly packed) packing cubes. If it had been mine, well, it wouldn’t have been such a tidy outcome on the floor.
I agree a strap around the case can save a lot of grief. We had major damage to a case on the way to Hong Kong, it was only the strap around the case that saved the contents. They are available with TSA locks.
 

tgh

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I guess everyone has their comfort level with luggage.
Mine is that I don't like or trust zips, so my hard luggage is latched.
I also sometimes travel with a Tatonka duffle bag when the going may get a bit rough.
In each case, I don't use locks but always use security tags that immediately show if the bag has been opened.
Rationale is that thieves or pilferers will always take the easy stuff.
(My rationale may be rubbish.. but it's mine …..:-))
 

Pushka

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I guess everyone has their comfort level with luggage.
Mine is that I don't like or trust zips, so my hard luggage is latched.
I also sometimes travel with a Tatonka duffle bag when the going may get a bit rough.
In each case, I don't use locks but always use security tags that immediately show if the bag has been opened.
Rationale is that thieves or pilferers will always take the easy stuff.
(My rationale may be rubbish.. but it's mine …..:-))
It takes away opportunistic theft which is a start.
 
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turtlemichael

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Do customs/security in Australia use TSA master keys when they come across a bag they want to open? It must not be that uncommon. I'd be happy to use the TSA lock which was part of my bag if I was reasonably sure that if it happened to be opened in Australia or the US that it would be locked again
 

Denali

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Last time US TSA opened my bag they kept the lock and didnt put a note inside... or someone with a key opened it to have a look around and didnt put the lock back on. I use packing cells and didnt noticed anything missing, good luck them if they wanted fat old lady knickers.

I want my lock back, it was a TSA wordlock and we like those types.
 
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Buzzard

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Having locked my bag with a non TSA lock I was surprised on returning home from the US that my bag had been opened, a couple of notes left inside by US Customs but the bag remained locked. How did they get into my bag I wonder?? For the record I used a combination lock from Kathmandu.
 

kookaburra75

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I agree a strap around the case can save a lot of grief. We had major damage to a case on the way to Hong Kong, it was only the strap around the case that saved the contents. They are available with TSA locks.
I use the strap with the TSA/Combo lock, which have served me well over the years as I travel with soft bags or cases a lot of the time. Plus the bright colours make it easy to pick them in the crowd.

But, like the others have said, they only buy you time (as any lock does) that deters the lazy thieves
 

dajop

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Never lock my bag, it's a signal that there might be something valuable in there (which there is not). Only time I've locked it they (whoever "they" are) smashed off the lock and partially broke the zipper. :rolleyes:
 

Archphoto

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Have always used TSA locks for a few of reasons:
  1. Don't want to give Travel Insurers an out should I have anything stolen;
  2. These can be opened easily by the relevant authorities (and have been on many occasions) and they can be relocked - hopefully, that stops any sticky-fingered people between the TSA check and me collecting it;
  3. Normal locks have previously been cut off and left in the case along with their little note, and that meant I had to spend time hunting for new ones.
It's more of a deterrent than anything - I figure if my locked bag is next to one that isn't, a thief would probably choose the easier of the two to pilfer from. Of course, they might just decide to do both bags in which case my TI would cover me (I took precautions) while the other poor soul may find it an uphill battle . . .
 

Pushka

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Have always used TSA locks for a few of reasons:
  1. Don't want to give Travel Insurers an out should I have anything stolen;
  2. These can be opened easily by the relevant authorities (and have been on many occasions) and they can be relocked - hopefully, that stops any sticky-fingered people between the TSA check and me collecting it;
  3. Normal locks have previously been cut off and left in the case along with their little note, and that meant I had to spend time hunting for new ones.
It's more of a deterrent than anything - I figure if my locked bag is next to one that isn't, a thief would probably choose the easier of the two to pilfer from. Of course, they might just decide to do both bags in which case my TI would cover me (I took precautions) while the other poor soul may find it an uphill battle . . .
Well if the case was broken into there’s no way of proving you had or had not locked it anyway.
 

coriander

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Well if the case was broken into there’s no way of proving you had or had not locked it anyway.
Bingo!
The one and only time I've locked my suitcase with a TSA lock, the case arrived in SFO (via LAX) with no lock and missing both an empty soft duffel-like bag and CPAP power supply. There was no TSA "love letter" included. A $750 Nikon zoom lens and carbon fibre tripod (~$1000) also in the case were untouched. Go figure.
 

CMak

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I have never used a lock but use travel cable/zip ties instead. I have only had my bag opened once (by TSA) and was easily noticed due to lack of the tie. Never need to worry about keys or remembering a combination.
 
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Lynda2475

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Not a fan of zip ties, such a pain to have to ask reception for scissor to break them off. As cant carry sharps in hand luggage you have to wait til you get to hotel or home to access anything in your checked bags.

Same with plastic wrapping a bag, incredible pain to get into your own bag once at destination - plus cant carry a travel pack if the harness in under meters of glad wrap.
 

turtlemichael

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Just as shrink wrapped suitcase take you a while to get into at destination so it does a potential thief in the airline storage area. It is a good deterrent in a country, such as South Africa, which is said to have high pilfering rates and is by no means uncommon. In any case, all the hotels I have stayed at have been geared up to expect it and have it off the bag as a routine.
 

drron

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We do use a TSA lock.The only time anything was missing-some perfume-it had a TSA note inside.
And yes Australian authorities can open a TSA lock as mrsdrron found out 3 weeks ago when she picked up the wrong bag at the carousel at SYD International.We had to wait a while to collect it as Customs were going through it.
 

turtlemichael

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I'm thinking I'll rely on TSA locks and put luggage belts around the bags Thanks for all the advice.
 
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