To Lock or Not To Lock?

by Nancy Bestor

Customers often fret over whether or not they should bother locking their luggage. A popular argument against locking goes like this: if a thief really wants to get into your suitcase, they can do so whether or not the bag is locked. While that is true, the fact remains that most thieves are looking for an easy target—a bag without a lock.

Beginning with the airport, any time you are away from your bag is a good time for a lock. “Blogger Bob”, a TSA employee who writes a blog on the TSA website, recently told travel writer Chris Elliott that between 2003 and 2010, “only” 335 TSA employees had been fired for theft (of any kind). While that might not seem like a large number, that’s just the number who have been caught. We all know the TSA doesn’t have a great track record of catching things—I can name a couple items on my last trip that accidentally made it through the security checkpoint, but are on the banned list.

We also recommend locks when leaving your bag at your hotel. Again, if a hotel employee really wants to get into your suitcase, they can cut or break it open, but a lock is still a good deterrent. Most likely that potential thief doesn’t want to take the extra time to remove a lock, nor do they want to go through the trouble of disposing the evidence created by breaking a lock.

Currently my favorite option is the Lockdown Triple Security Lock. The Triple Security Lock is really two cable-style locks in one. The first is a TSA approved cable-lock for your zippers and the second cable-lock is designed to attach to another part of your bag. So with the second cable locked onto your bag’s handle, when the TSA unlocks your bag for inspection, this second cable-lock ensures that the lock stays attached to your suitcase whether your friendly TSA agent takes the trouble to re-lock your bag or not. The second cable can also be used to lock a bag to a fixed object, such as a desk leg or a pole. You can even lock two suitcases or bags together. It’s a versatile option for $13.95.

And as a Travel Essentials customer once sagely noted, “a lock keeps an honest person honest”.