August 26th, 2015

10 Surprising Ways to Keep Your Bag Safe on the Go

A stolen or lost piece of luggage can easily ruin your vacation. Keep your suitcase secure with these travel safety tips

No matter how wonderful your vacation is, a bout of travel theft is sure to bring you down. Sightseeing just isn’t as enjoyable when you’re on the lookout for whoever stole your bag, and souvenir shopping lacks a certain something without—you know—money. Prevent theft or bag loss with these top ten tips on protecting your belongings and ensuring that your vacation fun goes uninterrupted!

Here are 10 ways to keep your luggaeg safe while traveling:

At Airport Security

Sometimes, the best way to keep your valuables safe is to hide them in plain site. Store small valuables (such as jewelry) in a clear bag, and announce to the TSA agent that you are putting it through security when you put it on the belt. By drawing attention to your valuables for the brief time that they are out of your hands, you will send a message to security—and potential airport thieves—that you have an eye on them.

On a Flight

If you plan to sleep on a flight, or if you plan on taking your eyes off your carry-on bags for even a moment, a fellow passenger could help himself to your bag’s contents. While the risk of theft is lower on a plane than it is on a bus or train, it’s still important to keep both your ID and credit card on you throughout the flight. A neck wallet or money belt worn under the clothes will keep your items safe even when you sleep.

On a bus or train

Always keep in mind that every time a fellow passenger gets off at a bus or train stop, your items could be going with him. Although the overhead rack is safe if you're keeping a close eye on it throughout your journey, the safest bet is to use your pack as a footrest with the strap looped around your foot, or as a (very lumpy) pillow.

At a hostel

Protect your items from fellow travelers. Leave items at the front desk and be sure to get a receipt for any items left there. Both hostels and hotels are unlikely to insure items that are left in your room (even in the safes!), so the front desk is ideal.

In a hotel

You’ve already used the hotel safe for your valuables, but want to secure your larger items as well? Put up the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door when you leave for the day. This will indicate to potential thieves that you are in the room, which will (hopefully) prompt them to move on.

On a day trip

If your luggage lock is otherwise occupied—perhaps it's keeping your larger luggage safe at the hotel—you can still secure your daypack. Pack a handful of zip ties, and use them to secure zippers when you’re out and about. These disposable ties can be cut when you need to access your bag—just make sure to bring a pocketknife if your day trip takes you away from friendly shopkeepers who will lend out scissors.

On a subway

With tourists and locals packed together like sardines, the subway is a prime spot for pickpockets to easily walk away with your valuables. Fool these swindlers at their own game by packing a decoy wallet with a couple loose dollars and no other important documents. Keep your actual valuables around your neck or in a hidden pocket.

Touring a city

Motorbike theft is surprisingly real! Prevent a Vespa-assisted thief from grabbing your shoulder bag by walking against traffic. If you can see the motor-criminal coming at you, you can (literally) sidestep this oh-so-European loss.

In a cab

No matter how sleepy your flight has left you, don’t let your friendly cab driver— or anyone, really—load your bags into the cab. Keep them in hand for the extra 30 seconds that it takes to load them yourself, and use the taxi’s trunk only if there is no way to fit your items next to you.

In a car

Whether you're in a rental car or your own wheels, it’s best not to leave anything unattended in your vehicle. Yes, this includes leaving items in the trunk as well. If you must leave items in your car, stow them in advance in the trunk when you leave your origin, not when you get to your destination, so at least their not visible to those who pass by.

Have your own travel safety tips for protecting your belongings? Share them in the comments below!  

While Eagle Creek is here to provide tips and insights on travel, we cannot accept any responsibility for any potential consequences arising from the use of this information.  Always conduct your own research and use your best judgment.

Caila Ball-Dionne is a freelance writer and full-time travel enthusiast. You can find more of her writing at CailaBall.com

by Caila Ball-Dionne

Caila Ball-Dionne is a freelance writer and full-time travel enthusiast. You can find more of her writing at CailaBall.com.

Sign Up Today

Sign up and you'll also receive helpful packing and travel tips, vacation ideas, up to date info on the latest product innovations and special offers.