How terrible can your trip be? Imagine travelling abroad for work-related meetings or the vacation you planned for two years, and your luggage goes missing. The confusion, frustration, anger, regret, name it! This happens to travellers daily and it is just that, terrible!
In my naive days at the airport, I used to take photographs of anything for fun using my coveted Nikon camera. I made the mistake of placing it on the table at the cafeteria as I read a novel – our flight had delayed. After reading five interesting pages, I wanted to take more photos but alas! It was gone! You bet I cried.
You could lose your travel package due to a careless mistake made or bad luck comes your way and you encounter a witty thief. Either way, a lost item will ruin your good day. I have tips in this article that you could use in an effort to keeping your luggage safe.
Accessories to Use for Luggage Safety
The zip of your carry-on could be working just fine and your money is protected in the bank, but you can do better than that. All your belongings need to be safe from thieves at all times. Below are some accessories that enhance the safety of whatever you pack: (have any or all)
- TSA-approved security padlock
- Luggage straps
- Money belt
- Travel wallet
- Neck passport holder
- A tracker and locator
- Tags for your bags
Preparing for the Flight
Security of your stuff begins right from home. If you are well prepared for your journey, you are likely to reach your destination with all your belongings intact. Consider doing the following things in preparation for the flight.
- Insure your stuff
You may not really lose your luggage, but what if you do? It is advisable to insure all the things you value most in your bag if you cannot get an insurance cover for the whole package. That way, you get compensation for items lost or stolen during your travel. How you lost everything should be a good story to tell and laugh about months later though.
- Look into quarantine laws
Research on what is illegal in the country you are visiting to keep off trouble. You might get in trouble for wearing your expensive necklace made from body parts of an endangered animal in the country you visit. Imagine how horrific it is parting ways with both that jewellery and some money or your freedom for some time. Keep both of you safe buddy!
- Pack Appropriately
While packing, ensure that the things you dread losing are always on your person. You can walk with your passport, ID and credit card and have some cash in your money belt. Other items like cameras, laptop and flashy watches should be buried deep in the bag and covered with clothes.
The idea here is to make it as difficult as possible for the thief to get to them within those 8 seconds they may have access to your suitcases. I love having the things I treasure in a bag within the carry-bag. This way, it is easier to tell if anything goes missing. Also, make a list of what you pack to be on the safe side. Always keep your packing light.
- Customize your luggage
With millions of people travelling every day, there is always a chance of someone owning a bag similar to yours. Cases of people carrying bags they have mistakenly swapped are common. You can use a uniquely coloured luggage strap or put a ribbon to your bag to make it conspicuous to you.
Consider putting your name tag to your luggage and your phone number. That way, you can be contacted easily in case your lost luggage is found. Yep, good people exist out there as much as bad ones do.
- Lock your bags
Use TSA-approved locks to keep your bag locked. If your airport allows other types of locks, use those. They could be better and unique. In case you take anything out of the bag at the airport or when on board, remember to zip up the bag. Ensure that the zips are sturdy and in good shape.
You should also use luggage straps. It takes a little more time opening up a strapped bag than an unstrapped one, and that is the goal of using them. The more safeguarded your package is, the higher the chance of a prying crook ignoring your bag is.
At the Airport
You should just relax, not everyone at the airport is out to take your belongings from you. The people minding their own business are way more than those minding your luggage business. It is no use walking around while looking over your shoulders. The following simple tips to safety are enough.
- Keep your items next to you
This is like the number one rule of travelling; do not leave your items unattended. If you are sitting for a cup of coffee before your flight, slip the straps of your bags around the chair or table. Avoid placing your phone on counters and tables. An assumption of safety is the chance that thief is seeking to get away with anything from your unattended bag.
- Carry your own bags
Make new friends at the airport and share jokes, but by all means, carry your own bag. You may offer to help your new friend carry their stuff only to be arrested for possession of a bag full of cocaine. Also, the person you thought is a good Samaritan offering to carry your backpack could just disappear into the crowd and leave you wailing. Carry your own bags.
- Tell the security officers what you have
I do not mean to tarnish the name of the dedicated security officers at the airport, but there is always that rotten potato in every sack. If asked to hand in your backpack full of valuable items like your prescription medicine, iPhone and Rolex watch, just give it to them. Say it so they can hear you; “it has my phone, watch and medicines”. It is very likely that if the officers have thievery motives they will reconsider.
- Keep valuable items out of public sight
It is quite tempting to walk around with your flashy jewellery and electronics exposed. I mean, why hide them and they belong to you? Here is why: they are a magnet for thieves. You become an easy target when your valuables are exposed to every eye in that vicinity. Bury them deep in your suitcase or backpack. Learn from me and my lost Nikon camera. How I miss it!
- Maybe they will get lost anyway
Your luggage could be go missing mysteriously. It takes time to process the loss of luggage, and you can go ahead and shorten the time taken. If you leave valuable items at home and pack light, your sorrowful period shall be shortened. Do not carry things that you can easily purchase at your destination.
Most people lose their items at the airport because they failed to prepare adequately for their journey and overlooked safety precautions. Some just lose them because they carried too many bags and lost sight of one while others are outwitted by the stealing community. You cannot allow yourself to fall under any of these categories.
Purchase accessories that make it as difficult as it can be for a bandit to access your luggage. Use lock passwords that you can remember and pack light. You would not want to move about with five heavy bags for a fortnight’s trip. Leave behind the stuff you do not need for the journey. If you lose anything, at least you tried.