ZipperMore Zipper Caution
One of my recent tips was about minimizing carry-on theft when you’re carrying a zippered bag. One of my suggestions was to lock your bags. Though locking your checked bag seems like it should prevent thieves from stealing from it as well, that’s not necessarily the case with zippered bags.

With a zippered bag, all a thief has to do is stick a pen in between the zipper to have it open in seconds (see this video). The worst part is that thieves can easily close the zipper, too, so any loss will be impossible to detect until you open up the bag. The best way to prevent luggage theft (besides not checking anything valuable)? Wrap your bags with those expensive plastic bag wrappers you find in many international airport terminals.



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14 Comments On "Travel Tip of the Day: More Zipper Caution"
  1. wrw|

    I am not understanding the whole bag wrap thing. When I was in a few international airports this past December, the bag wrapping kiosks were before submitting bags to TSA security checks. So, if TSA xrays your bag and wants to open it, they will break open the wrapping. So what’s the point?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      They will only open it if they see something suspicious in the x-ray

  2. Deena|

    Expensive wrappers? I’m hoping you meant INexpensive wrappers!

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Some airports charge $15

      1. Anonymous|

        I carry a small shrink wrap with us in our carry on! ( enough for several trips for under $6

  3. Kathleen|

    Hubby and I try hard to always pack one 22″ bag each, which we take with us onto the plane with us. If we have to take a bigger bag, which we check in before we board, we only put clothing inside, and we only take one bag. We also put clothing in the smaller bag. So far, nothing has been stolen. We do try very hard not to have to take a big bag, though, unless we go someplace by car.

  4. William Chinn|

    So how do you travel with luggage? Yes, there are cases that are hinged and allow for a padlock and no zippers. But in my travels the chance for the luggage scanner to be publically accessible after scanning is very slim plus the internet is full of how to bypass padlocks. A metal lock box would trigger an automatic inspection in my mind. If you are worried about TSA the locks are meant to be opened by them in any case. As for zip ties I have to borrow a knife or scissors once I get to my destination Carry-on only is not a choice if you are a business person traveling for an extended time. We can only make it harder for a thief.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I do carry-on only or don’t put anything of value in my checked bag

  5. Randy Horton|

    After domestic USA flights, I often find a flyer in my checked bag informing that it has been inspected by the TSA…almost always with a checked ski bag. If one tries to lock or seal a bag can’t the TSA just tear into the luggage anyway?

  6. Steve Matloff|

    My solution (tip of the week???) is to put the lock also through the expansion zipper so if they do use the pen trick, there is no way for them to re zip it, plus if they do see that, they’ll just move on to someone else’s bag.

    1. Brianna|

      … what?? …

      1. Brianna|

        sorry … i get it now :-)

  7. Chicara Tamura|

    What do you think of zipped bags with locks that are fixed to the bag? I mean, the zippers are locked to a particular position on the side of the bag, not just to each other. Then the zippers can’t move at all, so there is no way to zip the bag shut after opening it with the pen trick.

  8. Wayne Emde|

    I’m usually backpacking when I travel, so my checked backpack goes inside a gym bag (and only contains clothes, toiletries, etc) which keeps the straps from getting caught and ripped and my camera, laptop go on board with me.

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