How Can I Secure My Luggage When Traveling & Which Luggage Padlock You Should Pick

One thing that people don't take seriously when traveling is security. Here’s something that will make you think twice before locking your luggage: from 2010 to 2014 the TSA received 30,621 claims of missing valuables, as reported by CNN. It's time to learn more about how to secure your belongings and which luggage padlock you should buy.

Thieves, and even airport employees and TSA agents, have been caught stealing passenger’s belongings countless of times. [source]

With that being said, the only reasonable thing you have to do is to get one of the best luggage padlocks to secure your valuables. 

The golden rule is ‘never pack your valuables in your checked-in luggage’ unless you have to.

Knowing all this should make you extra careful when choosing a padlock to protect your things. If you want to be able to pick the perfect luggage padlock for your needs, read on, I have some pretty useful tips for you. 

BOTTOM LINE: Frequent travelers, especially flyers, should always put luggage security on top of their priorities and carefully choose the right high-quality padlock to secure their valuables. Airport luggage theft is very common and the least you could you is buy the ‘toughest’ padlock out there.

Different Types of Luggage Padlocks

There are many different padlock types you can use for your luggage. Below, I will briefly explain 5 types that you should know of before deciding to get a new luggage padlock for your next trip.

1. Small Padlocks with Keys

These types of padlocks are small in size and come with keys. They are quite convenient for locking the zips of a backpack and one of the oldest luggage padlocks in use. However, you have to remember to keep your keys safe at all times.

A good way to keep your luggage padlock key safe is to put it in your money belt or attach it to a necklace and wear it on you.

  A close look at what it is you are looking for in a padlock eventually determines the security of your assets. Always ensure that you have the best product. Some are the above-reviewed products. Don’t buy one that will disappoint you after a few uses. Hopefully, you enjoyed the review and found what you were looking for. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts on the best padlock of your choice.

2. TSA Approved Padlocks

These padlocks are one of the best padlocks for luggage during all types of travel. They are durable and keep your bag’s zip locked. When you see the sign “TSA approved” a lock, it means that TSA agents can check your luggage without breaking your locks. They have a universal key that can easily unlock a TSA approved padlock.

3. TSA Cable Padlocks

These types of padlocks are almost similar in size with the others. The only difference lies in their latching mechanism. They use cables for latching. Because of this feature, they become highly flexible. 

4. Retractable Cable Padlocks

They are also one of the best luggage padlocks, as they offer versatility and are as durable as any other high-security padlock. You can easily lock different bags together through its meter long wire, or even lock your luggage with a pole, chair or any other secure place.

5. Luggage Straps

Luggage straps can help you secure one or more pieces of luggage at once, thanks to their adjustable length. They come in different styles and are convenient for fast checks by TSA agents. 

TSA Approved vs. Regular Padlocks

I like to divide luggage padlocks in two major categories - TSA approved padlocks and regular padlocks. Usually, people get confused about which one to buy, mostly because they don’t know the difference between them. For that reason, I am going to explain what makes TSA approved padlocks different than the regular ones.

If TSA agents find some piece of luggage suspicious, they will open it to check what’s inside. Hence, if the luggage has a TSA approved padlock on it, they will open it safely and put it back again when they’re done.

In the case of regular padlocks, TSA authorities cannot unlock the luggage, so they simply break the padlock. Now, the chances for your luggage to end up unlocked for the rest of the trip are very high. 

TSA approved padlocks are those which TSA officers can unlock through their master copy of keys or a universal combination

Regular padlocks are absolutely fine for security. But in that case, TSA officers have to open the padlock; you lose it. Otherwise, both padlocks offer durability and safety in the same way. 

Benefits of Using High-security Luggage Padlocks for International Travel

Many people consider getting a high-security padlock for their luggage is useless. Why? According to them, people intended to steal your luggage would unlock the padlock anyway, no matter how much you have invested in the padlock.

However, this thinking is completely wrong because, let’s face it, thieves are lazy and it’s not like there’s an entire team of professionals behind one luggage theft. My point is, don’t let yourself be an easy target or leave your luggage without being highly secured.

Thieves always pick poorly secured luggage, so having a high-security padlock can definitely keep sticky fingers away from your valuable belongings.

Here are a few benefits of using high-security padlocks for traveling:

  • Having padlocks on hand carry can give you a peace of mind while waiting for your flight.
  • It can deter routine workers from accessing your luggage.
  • A high-security padlock can discourage a professional thief, as well.

Features of the Best Luggage Padlock You Need To Look For

Which features can make your luggage padlock worthy?

Other features come from a user perspective, like its ergonomic factor, ease-of-use, and flexibility.

  1. The user should find locking and unlocking the padlock easy.
  2. The maneuver of digit combinations should also be easy.
  3. The padlock should offer convenience to remember the padlock code.
  4. You can use the it in a variety of places and purposes.

The best luggage padlock should be made up of a sturdy material. It should offer a great challenge to thieves for unlocking it.

Factors to Consider

If you are determined to purchase a luggage padlock, then this section might help you picking the right one.

You are now probably wondering - what factors you should consider when searching for the best luggage padlock? This question might be rather confusing for those purchasing it for the first time.

We have listed a few factors that decide the worth of your luggage padlock. 

Minimum 3-digit Combinations

These days, padlocks with resettable digits combinations are most popular among buyers. However, if you are purchasing a lock with digit combinations, make sure to have at least a three-digit combination.  


Make sure to find a padlock with steel shackles. Though few padlocks come with a 3mm steel shackle, try to find one that best suits your needs and has this feature. Hard steel shackle makes lock cutting very difficult.

Stretchy Cables

- Like steel shackles, a few padlocks come with flexible cables. These cables are hard enough to resist cutting.

Reliable Construction

- Although it may sound complicated and impossible, you should also consider making your own padlock. The materials that offer huge strength and you should know of before you start your little project are zinc alloy, die-cast, and brass. All these materials are quite sturdy by nature, but zinc alloy is the lightest among all.


 - There are thieves smart enough to invade your belongings without breaking your padlock. In such case, indicators are a helpful feature. Few padlocks come with indicators that alert their owners if they are being unlocked.


- Another essential factor to consider is the re-locking mechanism. This feature doesn’t let anyone leave your bag unlocked. With this feature, TSA officers become compelled to re-lock your luggage, which is awesome.


- Last, but not the least, is ease-of-use. It is essential for your padlock to be easy for you to lock and unlock.

BOTTOM LINE: Buying one of the best luggage padlocks for your next trip may not 100% guarantee the safety of your belongings, but it can most certainly decrease the chances of ending up robbed. TSA approved padlocks are a great solution for your luggage to undergo airport checks and stay highly-secured.

The Verdict: Do you Really Need a High-security Luggage Padlock?

Different people have different opinions. However, if you ask me, yes! You most certainly need a high-security luggage padlock.

How much does a good quality luggage padlock cost?

The most truthful answer would be - they wouldn’t be more than a few dollars. It won’t only help in preventing your luggage loss, but will make thieves stay away from your luggage, as well.

Due to the presence of security officers in airports and other stations, these thieves don’t have enough time to unlock your bag. As a result, they will easily get discouraged to even touch a bag with a high-security padlock.

In few cases, TSA authorities have also found guilty of stealing travelers’ valuables. If you want to prevent such stealing, you can adopt a couple of tricks. For watching one such amazing trick, check out this video as a foolproof solution to stop TSA from stealing.

Same principle goes for backpackers and travelers that use other means of transport. Backpacks can be quite convenient for short trips, but if you want your belongings to stay safe (of course you do) at all times, you will need a high-security padlock. Choosing to lock your backpack will decrease the chances of losing something or become a victim of a theft.

You never know what can happen when you leave your stuff in your hostel room or when you travel by bus and fall asleep just for minute. Leaving your backpack unlocked is a risk you are not willing to take. Small-sized padlocks with keys are most suitable for locking a backpack.

There are many different types of padlocks out there that are suitable for luggage use. We hope this guide will help you choose the right one for you.


Making sure your luggage is completely safe while traveling should be your number one priority. The worst thing that can happen to you when reaching your destination is to find out that something got stolen from your bag. Trust me, you don’t want to experience that.

That is why you should most definitely consider spending some money on a good padlock. There are padlocks available with different features, categories, mechanism, and price range. You just need to pick one according to your preferences.

Eventually, I would like to give you some extra tips on luggage safety:

  • Pack your luggage carefully.
  • Put high-security luggage padlock on it.
  • Keep valuables in your hand carry.
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    Remember location/pockets of everything you put inside your bag. (It would help you in rechecking your luggage in case of any suspicious activity).
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    During air travel, if possible, get your luggage rechecked at the airport after getting your luggage back.
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    If you are not willing to keep your valuables in hand carry, then follow few tricks to keep them safe from dishonest TSA officers.

It is always preferable to take preventive measures earlier than feeling sorry after the loss. Please feel free to leave a comment below to share your opinion. Happy traveling!

Best Padlocks
Best Padlocks
How Much Should You Spend on a Good Padlock?
Best Padlocks
Best Padlocks
How Much Should You Spend on a Good Padlock?