The travel lock is certainly not the most exciting topic to discuss when talking about your next travel adventure; however it is an incredibly important subject that needs to be properly considered. The right type of lock can make or break your vacation, simply because it is an item that dissuades sticky fingers from exploring the contents of your luggage.
I recently read an article named “How to: NOT get robbed when traveling to a ‘dangerous’ city” published on the Matador network that offers 10 tips on avoiding trouble when abroad. Number 7 states: put expensive stuff where they won’t expect and the author proceeds to state that travelers should spread their expensive stuff around the room, such as “store your laptop under a chair or bed.” Although I agree with 9 out of the 10 tips, I would strongly warn against “hiding” anything in your room. Instead, invest in a proper security device and lock that s#@% up! Thieves have become cleverer while tourists are becoming more and more unimaginative with their hiding places. Underneath a pillow? That’s the first place anyone would look!
When shopping for a lock, the first thing you need to look for is a TSA approval stamp. This basically means that it can be opened by the Transportation Security Administration agents using a universal key – this avoids the possibility of having your lock cut by agents if there is a need to inspect your luggage.
Secondly, one lock is not enough; I recommend at least three regular ones and one cable lock. I personally believe that a cable lock should be brought along for added security. For example, sometimes travelers who arrive early at their hostel must leave their luggage in a shared storage room. It is so easy to get into these rooms and people are constantly walking in and out, so I always felt uneasy leaving my stuff in hostel storage rooms. Nowadays, I use my cable lock to securely fasten my baggage to an unmovable object in the room. It can be used in so many situations; I also use it once I’m inside the room by fastening my luggage to the bed post. The cable lock really puts my mind at ease. Another great use for the cable lock is if you are sleeping at an airport or on train / bus – just attach your luggage to something that cannot budge, greatly decreasing the chances of someone pulling a “grab and dash” con while you are asleep or distracted.
The Pacsafe 85L Backpack & Bag Protector (image from luggagepoint.com)
If you are a traveling with a backpack, than it is highly recommended that you research and/or invest in a backpack protector, such as the Pacsafe 85ltr Bagback Security Device. This bag protector is made of stainless steel and is designed to cover and protect a variety of bags/packs from tampering, pilfering and theft. All you need to do is throw it around your pack and secure it to something that is bolted down. And when you are finished using it, it folds into a small carrying pouch (taking up almost no space!)
Other cool travel safe gadgets include the portable safe (incredibly handy for securing your smaller valuables – Iphone, cash, passport – in your hotel room, suitcase etc.) and the Add-A-Lock portable door lock (great for solo travelers staying in single occupancy rooms).
Now, I know this might sound a little bit like a chore, but I truly believe that it’s better to spend that extra 2 minutes locking up your Iphone or laptop than having to replace it because it was stolen.