Thieves Can Easily Get Into Locked Zippered Luggage. Here’s What To Do Instead

by SharonKurheg

We posted a while back how easy it is for thieves to break into electronic hotel safes. Several people who read it said they leave their valuables in their suitcases because they keep them locked with TSA compliant locks, so people can’t get in and take their stuff.

We hate to tell them (and you), but it’s even easier to break into a zippered suitcase with a lock than it is to break into a hotel safe. Watch:

Yup, all it takes is a ballpoint pen and a few seconds for someone to take stuff out of your suitcase…or to put who-knows-what into it, for that matter. And you’d not know what happened until you opened it, because the bag looks absolutely OK and untampered when they’re done.

So yeah…locking a zippered suitcase is not even close to being secure.

What to do about it

Some people have suggested using a higher-end suitcase that uses metal zippers instead of plastic, but unfortunately, it just takes a few more seconds of harder work to break those the exact same same was they can do with plastic zippers.

Instead, you may want to use a hard-sided suitcase (because we didn’t even go into someone simply knifing a soft-sided suitcase to get into it) that closes with clasps instead of a zipper. Some brands even allow combination or key locks to attach (and once you’re in your room, don’t use those flimsy TSA approved locks. Use a good, thick padlock).

If you don’t want to go that route, you may want to consider a few luggage straps that you can wrap about your bag. Again, make sure they can be closed with a sturdy lock. That way even if they bust through the zipper to open the bag, they still can’t get the bag open because the straps will keep it closed. Unfortunately, those straps aren’t foolproof – they can be cut and possibly wiggled enough to come loose. But it’ll take the thieves longer and they want to avoid that – their goal is to be finished ASAP.

You also see plastic wrapped luggage more and more often – that also works by making a would-be thief have to take extra time to cut through several layers of plastic before they can get into your bag. Unfortunately, all that plastic, which can only be used once, is environmentally unfriendly and winds up in landfills.

The bottom line is, no luggage lock is foolproof – if someone REALLY wants to get into your bag, (s)he will. So the goal, instead of keeping them out, is to make it difficult and time-consuming enough wherein a would-be thief would give up on your luggage in favor of someone else’s that might be more easy to open.

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DaninMCI December 13, 2019 - 7:06 am

A real thief can likely break into anything. The TSA locked suitcase is just a way to slow down a bad maid from walking off with a soft target. It’s easy to walk off with an iPad, phone, etc. but much harder to take the time to break into a suitcase, for most people, or walk off with a full suitcase.

kennethafam December 13, 2019 - 9:45 pm

This article is cool

DaninMCI November 22, 2021 - 1:42 pm

As I said in 2019 on this same post. You are just trying to slow them down and avoid being low hanging fruit. It’s no uncommon for a maid to have the magnet key to the room safes but it takes them a bit more time to pick the lock or cut through the suitcase. Much like the deadbolt on your house. It’s not impossible to break into, it just slows them down.

ktc November 22, 2021 - 1:55 pm

not worrying about environment stuff with airport “plastic wrapped luggage”. as long as it is a legal service


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