July 14, 2017

4 ways to keep your luggage safe from sticky fingers



Few things can ruin a trip more rapidly than the discovery that sticky fingers have pilfered your belongings. Here's what you can do to make your luggage and valuables less attractive to would-be thieves:


1. Lock, tie, and wrap it up 

It almost goes without saying that you should put locks on your bags, but we're going to say it anyway. If you plan on travelling to the USA, make sure the locks are TSA-approved so that officials can open them with a master key instead of cutting them off. Carry a stash of colourful cable ties (you can get a pack for as little as R25) with you in case your locks are lost or cut in transit. Using cable ties – perhaps as an extra layer of security – also enables you to tell, at a glance, if your luggage has been tampered with.

Many airports also offer a bag-wrapping service. Sure, you may feel a little silly and it is a hassle when you finally get to your destination, but it will deter opportunistic thieves out for a quick-and-easy score. Added bonus: it helps protect your luggage from the rough and tumble of conveyer belts!



Nifty gadget: You can get staunch TSA-approved combination locks for between R175 and R250 at Cape Union Mart.

2. Dare to be different

You prefer discreet, sophisticated luggage. You're not alone… and that's the problem. If your bags look like everyone else's, it is a lot easier for someone else to – mistakenly or intentionally – walk off with them. The more outrageous your luggage, the less likely it is to disappear. Plus, it'll be easy to spot on the baggage carousel. So go wild with stickers, ribbons and colourful straps. Also make sure that your bags are properly labelled, but stick to your name and mobile number – you don't want to dish out too much personal information.

Pro tip: go to the toilet after you have collected your luggage so that you are waiting for it as soon as it comes out.



Nifty gadget: Brightly coloured Travelon Luggage Straps (R160) make it easy to spot your luggage on the carousel, and they add an extra layer of security.


3. Go under cover

Keeping all your valuables in one place makes it easier to keep track of them. If you are going to store your valuables in your carry-on luggage, make sure that they can't be easily accessed. Shove them deep into the recesses of the main pouch rather than a convenient side pocket.  Keep items that you simply cannot lose – passport, cash, credit card, prescription medications – on your person. It may seem a little dorky, but a neck wallet or money belt worn beneath clothes is a practical, inconspicuous option.



Nifty gadget: The K-Way Neck Security Pouch (R125), which is worn under your clothes, offers some degree of protection from pickpockets, and the Travelon Security Money Belt (R499) lets you stash currency in hidden zipper compartments in an otherwise unremarkable belt.


4. Keep your carry-on close

Unfortunately, fellow passengers can't always be trusted. Stow your carry-on luggage where you can see it – either in the luggage rack directly across the aisle from where you are sitting, or at your feet. Don't be shy to put locks on your carry-on luggage and place your bag upside down so that pockets and zippers are not easily accessible.

Some long-haul trips include hours sitting at the airport or on trains and busses. If you need to get some shut-eye, use your bag as a footrest or pillow and be sure to attach it to your person with a parachute cord or strap.



Bonus tip: For more travel safety tips, speak to your Sure Travel consultant. And don’t forget to ask about travel insurance, just in case…

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