No luggage with zippers is safe. It doesn’t matter if the zippers are metal or plastic, the only difference is a few seconds and a stronger push with a ballpoint pen.
If you’re comfortable with spending the money, you can upgrade your luggage to hard-shell aluminum cases that don’t have zippers. Instead, they’ll have clasps and usually allow locks.
Just don’t go for cheap-o combination locks – also known as “TSA” locks. One sharp blow and these pop right open. Anyone can break in, including dishonest airport employees.
You should invest in a heavy padlock to which only your wife and yourself have the keys. If the TSA needs to inspect your luggage, you can be there with the keys to monitor the situation.
The downside to these super-secure suitcases is that they can run you in the hundreds of dollars for a single suitcase. And that’s money that you could be spending on your well-deserved vacation.
If you want to keep your existing suitcases, what you need to focus on is making your luggage too much of a hassle for a thief to bother. There are a few different methods to deter thieves that won’t set you back in the hundreds of dollars.
There are some airports in SA that will wrap your entire suitcase in plastic wrap, making it extremely difficult to get into your bags. It will make any thief think twice before ripping through all that plastic.
Not only does it slow them down and prove they were there, it will probably make a bit more noise than they want.
Just make sure that before you have the bags wrapped up, they comply with your airline’s luggage standards. Otherwise you may lose all that plastic wrap to a safety inspection.
The downside to the plastic wrap is that it’s not environmentally friendly and it can’t be reused.
EXTRA BAG SECURITY
If the plastic wrap solution doesn’t appeal to you, or you want to double down on the security, there are lockable straps that you can invest in. These straps make it more difficult for someone to get into your bag if they do pop the zippers.
Many stores sell luggage straps that simply clip around your luggage to make it easier to identify on the baggage carousel. I highly recommend investing in a locking luggage strap that requires a 3-digit combination before the clasp will come undone.
A couple of those around a large suitcase will make it more difficult for a thief to get their hands on your personal items. It won’t make it impossible, but the goal is to make a thief move on to an easier target.
You can also invest in steel mesh covers that enclose your entire bag or suitcase and make it really difficult to get anything out of your bag. They look a bit like a fishing net, but the right size bag cover can snugly fit around your luggage and make it more difficult for anyone to fish anything out of your bag.
The upside to the steel mesh is that you can also lock it to a lamppost or a heavy stationary object when you need to put it down, but don’t want it wandering off. These bag covers also include locks to deter thieves, but again, a heavy lock to which only you and your wife have the keys is highly recommended.
No matter what you do, you want to make sure that any real valuables, expensive electronics and sensitive documents stay with you. That way if something happens to your bag, the really important items aren’t in danger.
A combination of any of these security measures would work just as well. Don’t limit yourself to just one kind of security, do what fits your budget and is feasible for you.