8 Tricks to prevent theft of your travel suitcase

Traveling during our vacations is the favorite time of the year for most people, but we must be aware that when we do so, we become tourists and become the top target for pickpockets and criminals. Therefore, we must take a series of precautions to prevent our luggage from being stolen and, consequently, ruining our vacations.

Here are the 8 most useful tips to prevent theft of your suitcase while traveling:


1. Anti-theft carry-on luggage

When it comes to carry-on luggage, always try to use an anti-theft suitcase. These types of suitcases can be worn as backpacks, and while you have it on, it will be impossible for anyone to steal from you since all the openings of the backpack are located on the backside. By wearing it, all the zippers become inaccessible and hidden between your back and the backpack. In this link, we show you an excellent anti-theft backpack at a very affordable price, which is ideal for traveling.

Just take precautions when you have to take it off, such as when sitting at a restaurant. In such situations, place your suitcase where you can see it at all times and where no one can access it (sit next to the wall or in preferred corners).


2. Non-flashy checked luggage

Contrary to what one might imagine, buying the latest model of suitcase does not increase our security; on the contrary, it only draws more attention and makes thieves focus on our luggage, assuming its contents are valuable, thereby increasing the risk of theft.

For this reason, simply purchase conventional suitcases of medium cost. Choose ones that are sturdy and strong (to avoid damage during transport), easy to carry (consider the long distances in airports and train stations), and have an integrated lock. In this link, you have a good example of a perfect suitcase for traveling at an incredible price. The mention of the lock is only to prevent immediate theft.

Naturally, we won’t be using a suitcase with a simple zipper, but there’s no need to go overboard with the lock. If someone wants to open your suitcase, they will find a way, so any simple lock that acts as a deterrent will be sufficient and serve its purpose.


3. Wrap your checked luggage

If you want to eliminate any risk of theft by luggage transport employees, the foolproof method is to wrap your luggage in plastic. This way, no one can take anything from your suitcase as it will be 100% sealed in plastic. If someone tries to tamper with it, you will immediately notice it when picking it up, as the tampering would be evident, and you can file a complaint at the arrival airport.

Additionally, in countries with a high risk of drug transportation from the origin, you can be sure that no one can introduce anything illegal into your suitcase.

This service is offered at most international airports for a reasonable price, although you can also be prepared and wrap it yourself with a simple transparent wrapping plastic that you can buy or reuse from any online purchases, which will be more cost-effective.


4. Keep a close eye on your luggage at baggage claim

Upon arrival at your destination airport, we are often tired and somewhat more relaxed than usual, let’s not fool ourselves. But this moment is critical because when we go to the baggage claim area, we must ensure that we retrieve all our suitcases and prevent anyone from taking ours. It may seem unbelievable, but every day at every airport, there are people who leave behind or mistakenly take a suitcase that is not theirs (which is absurd given the presence of cameras everywhere and passenger records).

To avoid confusion, it is always recommended to put a visible mark on your luggage. For example, you can attach a red ribbon or sticker to the handle of your suitcase. This way, even if multiple passengers have the same model of suitcase, there will be no chance of confusion.

When retrieving your luggage, it is important not to get carried away by the excitement of wanting to quickly leave the baggage claim area and visit your destination. First, briefly inspect your suitcase to check for any damage and to see if it has been tampered with. This simple gesture will not take more than half a minute, and in case you detect any anomalies, it will allow you to verify that nothing has been stolen.

If you have suffered damage or theft, report it immediately at the airline’s office you traveled with. It is always recommended to take a photograph of your suitcase before checking it at the departure airport so that, in such cases, you have documentary evidence of tampering or damage.


5. Properly distribute your belongings

As a general rule, when traveling by plane, carry your most valuable and necessary belongings in your carry-on luggage, as long as they can pass through security screening to board the plane.

Furthermore, if you’re traveling with companions using any mode of transportation, distribute your most valuable belongings among the different suitcases in the group to minimize the consequences if one of the suitcases is stolen.

Also, make sure to personally carry your mobile phone, money, cards, and documents in interior pockets. It’s essential to have all of these items with you in case of any eventuality, so that the situation doesn’t worsen and you can at least return safely to your country without any difficulties.

Lastly, think about what you really need. In most cases, we end up carrying much more than necessary and valuable objects that can possibly be replaced with less valuable ones that can serve the same purpose perfectly. By rationalizing our luggage, we carry only the essential and truly necessary items, allowing us to travel more comfortably by being lighter and minimizing the financial consequences of a possible theft.


6. Take extra precautions until you reach your accommodation with your luggage

When heading to an unfamiliar city and you have to make your way to your hotel or apartment without anyone dropping you off at the door, take extra precautions at all times. Tourists are the preferred targets of thieves, and it’s normal to be somewhat disoriented if we don’t know where to go in an unfamiliar place.

Therefore, plan your route to your accommodation in advance to avoid getting lost and avoid risky areas or places. Additionally, don’t stop to take photos or admire the scenery, as any criminal could take advantage of your distraction to steal your suitcase and flee.

Once you’re at your hotel or apartment, if there is a safe available, keep your most valuable items locked inside if you’re going out without them. If there is no safe, you can hide these valuable items in a well-hidden place where a thief would never bother to look, or if possible, take them with you directly. Don’t assume that leaving something inside your accommodation will guarantee its complete safety, as many tourist accommodations do not take responsibility for your belongings (check their conditions and internal policies beforehand), and in fact, thefts in tourist accommodations are quite common. If you want to learn all the tricks to avoid theft in hotels or apartments, don’t miss this article.


7. Use luggage storage services

Very often, hotels don’t allow us to check in until a specific time or they require us to check out at a certain time. Essentially, between the flight and the hotel, we have hours without any accommodation. In these situations, it’s obvious that we want to make the most of our time and visit something, but we need to be sensible and avoid carrying our luggage with us at all times. Besides being dangerous to carry all our suitcases while sightseeing, it’s also very uncomfortable. Therefore, use luggage storage services to securely store your bags for the hours you need. These types of services are available at most airports, train stations, and numerous establishments in major tourist cities.


8. Don’t let your luggage be visible when traveling by car

If you decide to go sightseeing with your own vehicle or a rental car, be careful at all times that no one sees that you are a tourist and that you have luggage in your car, as they could try to steal from you. Therefore, make sure to keep all your suitcases inside the trunk without them protruding or being visible through the windows.

Also, if you need to take something from your luggage, try to be discreet and make sure that nobody sees everything you have inside when opening the trunk.


Extreme measures to safeguard your luggage

If you are a security fanatic and don’t want to take any risks, follow these three extreme measures to achieve maximum security.

  • Travel insurance: You can purchase customized insurance for your vacation (the country you are visiting, the duration of your stay, activities you will engage in, etc.) to cover all kinds of hypothetical events: theft, accidents, death, illness, etc.
  • GPS tracker: You can acquire GPS trackers at a reasonable cost to keep them in your luggage and ensure that you have it under control at all times. This way, if your suitcases are stolen, you can provide the coordinates to the police.
  • Hotel safe service: If you have a significant amount of cash or jewelry, you can use the hotel’s safe service to have complete peace of mind regarding their security.
  • Cable lock: In case you have multiple layovers and unpredictable schedules, it’s possible that due to flight cancellations or delays, you may have to sleep or take a nap at the airport. In these situations, if you’re not traveling in a group where someone can stay awake to watch our suitcases, there is a significant risk of theft. Therefore, by carrying a simple cable lock, you can anchor your suitcase to some furniture and sleep on it, minimizing the chances of being robbed.


What to do in case of theft?

If you become a victim of luggage theft in a foreign country, follow these steps:

A) Verify that your luggage has indeed been stolen. You might have lost or forgotten your suitcase somewhere else, or maybe one of your companions has it.

B) If it’s indeed a theft, identify what you had inside the stolen suitcase and estimate its economic value.

C) If the economic value of the lost items is not very high, it may not be worth reporting it to the police. Simply make a note of it at the place where you lost it (train station, shopping center, airport) and provide your contact information in case it was lost or forgotten, as it might be in the lost and found department and you could recover it. If it’s a theft, it doesn’t make much sense to file a police report considering the bureaucratic hassle it entails and the low chances of recovering your belongings through that action.

D) If the value of your luggage is high or if you have travel insurance that covers luggage theft, file a police report. Keep in mind that it will take a significant amount of time to go to a police station and wait to be attended to, but it’s essential for most insurance policies to receive coverage, and it can be a solution to recover your belongings in case of theft (although the chances are low).



By applying the mentioned tips, you will be able to travel peacefully without constantly worrying about your luggage being stolen. It’s not necessary to apply all of them, just follow the ones that best suit your situation and way of traveling.

If you found this article on preventing luggage theft during your travels interesting, you may also find our article on 10 key tips to avoid theft while traveling highly informative. Don’t miss it!