Keeping Your Items Safe

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Keeping Your Items Safe

When it comes to luggage security, it’s not about just getting your bag when your flight lands. It’s about what’s still left IN the bag.

Put any valuables in your carry-on, not checked luggage. Why? Because airlines have a mile-long list of exclusions of what they will not repair, replace or financially cover, which means they’re not liable for items of value: jewelry, cameras, even eyeglasses.

But here’s the real reason to put valuables in your carry-on bags. Smart thieves don’t steal entire bags. They take individual items and count on the fact that you will be so happy to see your bag on the carousel that you’ll just grab it, leave the airport, and won’t notice something is missing until it’s too late. Before you leave the luggage carousel, take a moment to take inventory. If something is damaged or missing, don’t wait. Report it immediately at the airport.

The other option is to ship your luggage ahead of time, which allows you to insure and track the package for additional security.

Of course, what kind of luggage you carry is just as important as what you put in it. Avoid expensive-looking bags, and choose distinctive bags that stand out from the crowd.  (My rule of thumb is the uglier the bag, the better. Bright orange or vomit green always works well for me). There are even lines of theft-proof luggage made of slashproof, mesh materials.

At the hotel, remember that innkeeper liability laws limit how much the hotel is responsible for items left in your room (even in the safe). You’re better off using the safe behind the front desk. Or, keep valuables in your bag and use a cable lock to secure the zipper and attach the entire bag to a stationary piece of furniture.