We had hundreds of entries for our Samsonite suitcase and passport holder competition, where we asked for your tips on how to keep your luggage safe when travelling. These are some of our favourites.
Travel light, then if you are subject to theft, it's not everything. And remember to put your Herald on hold - you don't want to be burgled at home while you are away.
Buy a $30 GPS unit and put it in your luggage. Should your bag not arrive, you can locate exactly where in the world it is.
In order to distinguish my very popular/common suitcase from the others on the carousel, I have printed and placed a sticker on said bag that reads: "Beware! This bag bites." Even the sniffer dogs seem to get the message.
Put your dirty washing on the top so if someone opens your case, dirty knickers and sweaty shirts will put them off delving further into the case.
Pete and Bridge
I bought a cover for $15, which goes over the case, zips up underneath and has holes for handles. It looks like my case is wearing clothing! This protects the case as well as making it secure.
Make sure you use TSA-approved padlocks on your bag, especially when travelling through the US or Canada, otherwise they will cut your padlocks off if they want to gain access.
I take a roll of cling film, cut 10cm off the end of the roll, then use that to wrap around the middle of my case, under the handle, round the body six to 12 times. At my destination I know it it has been interfered with if the wrap has been cut.
When travelling by rental car in Italy and Spain, we secured our suitcases in the boot by looping a combination bike lock through the handles. A simple procedure, making it difficult for the cases to be removed unless the lock is opened.
D. and B. Hinton
Should you lose or break your padlock, dental floss makes an impromptu fastener to keep out opportunistic thieving. Can be carried through security, it can also be used to tie up the inside of hotel doors, tie down luggage, etc, if you are feeling unsafe - just make sure you have a way of quickly cutting it.
Plastic cable ties pulled through the zips and tightened ensure your luggage isn't going to be tampered with ... or at least deters opportunists.
Nothing beats a bit of bright, sparkly wire ribbon (think Christmas) tied in a knot with wide ends on to both handles. Also, use a large luggage tag with your name - a bright tiki, pohutukawa, or lime green baggage tag. It's easy to spot, easy to read, and they stand out on a carousel.
My top tip is to pay the $15 or so to get your luggage wrapped with film and, if that's not available, make it hard for others to get into your case by strapping it yourself.
Kelly M. Cooke
Make sure you have a label with your name and contact details stuck on the inside of your luggage. Then if your luggage goes missing and the outside label has also gone missing, the airlines can still identify who it belongs to. I used to work in baggage tracing and we always ended up with luggage that had no means of identification.
Use bags without zips - they're way too easy to get into. Thieves zip it back together and you never know its been touched. Also, put a copy of your passport and itinerary in every suitcase and carry-on. Then you have copies of important documents.
Take photos of your bag, so if it doesn't come off the carousel, you aren't trying to explain "a black Samsonite bag" to the counter staff. A picture says a thousand words.
If you have a lightweight, hard-shell case, fill it. If its empty, it loses strength and when stacked in a plane can/will/does crack. It doesn't need to be full, but it needs the internal support.
Give the kids a Vivid pen, decorations, stickers or whatever and let them go for it on your suitcase. Hard, I know, but when there are a million people at the baggage area and you've had no sleep, you will thank them for making your bag stand out from the crowd!