Simple Trick For Securing Your Luggage If You Don't Have A Lock

These days, most modern luggage has built-in TSA approved locks to keep your bags secure when they aren't in your possession. But what do you do if your bag doesn't have this feature, and how can you still ensure your bags stay relatively safe yet are still accessible to TSA if they need to check your luggage? The answer is quite simple: twist ties.

Unlike padlocks (assuming you can find one that will fit through a luggage zipper), the best part about this travel trick is that you probably already have some of these lying around your house. You can usually find them keeping your bread bags closed or tied around some cables in your junk drawer. Wherever you find them, though, they're likely not too far away, easy to use, and — best of all — don't require a key. As simple as this is, we do have a couple more suggestions for this hack and some other options you can try if you don't have twist ties lying around.

Perfectly execute the twist-tie hack before your next trip

Using a twist tie to secure your luggage is easy. Simply feed the twist tie through a luggage zipper, twist it to close, and, voila, your bag is safe from lazy thieves. You might annoy a TSA agent or two, but that's almost kind of a plus, isn't it? Kidding!

Another plus of the twist-tie hack is that it doesn't draw attention like a small padlock would. However, to really keep would-be thieves' eyes off of your luggage, be sure to use a twist tie that is similar in color to your bag. This shouldn't be too difficult since most luggage zippers are black, and twist ties mostly come in black and white.

Lastly, if you think your bag might be opened by TSA and you want your twist ties replaced, don't count on the agents saving the original one for you. Place a couple twist ties in a plastic baggie right on top of your clothing. The agents may or may not put the twist ties back on, but at least you gave them the opportunity. This is also good in case you need to replace the original twist ties after opening your luggage at your destination.

Other inexpensive options to secure your luggage

Another classic luggage hack is to use zip ties, aka cable ties, to prevent bags from being opened while unattended. Just like the twist ties, you can slip a zip tie through the zipper tab and pull it closed to lock it in place. However, something you're more likely to have on hand at the last minute is a paper clip. Unfold a clip, loop the wire through your zipper, and twist it up to make it harder to open your bag. If you're already at the airport, you could also use a shoelace from a pair of shoes to tie up the bag. This won't be as secure as any of the other options, but if you tie a good knot, it will at least slow down the thief.

If you don't have any of these things on hand and you're worried about some valuables in your bag, you can always resort to the plastic-wrapping kiosks at the airport. While they are a bit wasteful, these are a good option for both protecting your hardshell luggage from scratches and scrapes and also making it much harder for thieves to go rummaging around in your bag. However, these kiosks can charge anywhere between $15 to $35 per piece of luggage.