It’s important to know which items are restricted in carry-on and checked baggage by TSA (Transportation Security Administration). As you probably know, airport security is permitted to search through any bag that’s flagged in the security screening. Packing restricted items will result in your bag being physically inspected. If you’re worried that the zippers on your suitcase will unexpectedly open or you’re concerned that your belongings will be stolen while your bags are with your hotel concierge, there’s a solution: a luggage lock!

Note: Locks will not affect the decision to open your bag. Luggage locks are typically used to prevent luggage from accidentally opening and to protect your personal belongings from potential thieves.

If you’ve booked last minute flight deals and are indecisive on whether to use one or not, read on to know when locking your bag is appropriate and when it’s not necessary.

Checking-In for a Flight

luggage on carousel

Believe it or not, there are travelers who believe that locking their luggage when checking it will prevent bags from being inspected through the security screening. Those people are mistaken. Luggage locks are permitted by TSA, especially if they’re TSA approved (meaning security agents can open any of these locks with a master key). If you’re using a lock that isn’t approved by TSA, that won’t affect your bags from being opened for a close inspection. TSA agents have the authority to break open any lock to search through a bag. It’s strongly encouraged for travelers to pack their valuables in a carry-on that will stay on their person for the duration of their travels. When no valuables are packed in checked luggage, the use of a luggage lock may not be necessary. Based on where you’re headed, locking up your clothing and personal items isn’t always necessary.

Going to and from the Airport

taking luggage out of a car

Once you hop off your flights and arrive at your destination, you’re going to need some type of transportation. If you’re taking a bus where luggage is stowed below or you’re taking other modes of public transportation, then we recommend locking up. It’s crucial to never trust anyone during your travels and it’s better to be safe rather than sorry. Several people will be handling your luggage on your journey; and as any traveler should know, you should always be cautious. But, if you choose not to use a lock, then try to keep a close eye on your luggage when you can. Another reason why valuables should be in carry-on and personal bags is so that you can always hold on to them.

Bags packed and ready to go? Grab last minute flight deals to get away for less! 

When in Your Room

woman opening curtain in hotel room with suitcase in hand

Booking a trip can get a bit stressful when trying to find a place to stay. A hotel, hostel, and a private room are the more popular choices travelers go with. It doesn’t matter which you pick, what matters is safety. If you’re staying in a shared room with other traveler’s aka strangers, we suggest for you to lock up your belongings. When staying in a hotel, housekeeping enters your room to clean, so be sure to lock your valuables either in your bag or in the safe in the room. Although a locked safe is useful to have in a hotel room, a locked suitcase may be a better option. Only you will have the key or code, unlike the lock safe that the hotel most likely has a master key to.

RELATED: A Guide to Quick and Efficient Weekend Trip Packing

Are you someone who’s always losing things? Would you say a small key or code will be forgotten about and lost? If so, you may want to reconsider using a lock!

What do you think? Do you use a luggage lock when traveling? Tell us in the comments below! 


One Response

  1. Jamila

    I haven’t traveled by plane for for a very long time actually in 2002, at that time and before I d always put locks on my checked bag. I intend to travel early January and I was planning to use locks on checked bags!


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About The Author

If she’s not searching for the world's coolest destinations she has yet to explore, you can find her writing content at Fareportal or maybe even drooling over a foodies latest post. Shannon’s a Brooklyn native who enjoys good company, new adventures, and a great laugh!