I’ll never forget the time I was sitting in the common room of a hostel when a girl who had been out for the day returned to collect her backpack from the luggage storage area. She opened the storage room door to find a mountain of bags… only hers wasn’t there. Someone had stolen the bag, and with it, all of her belongings.

It’s terrible, and it’s upsetting to the victim, but unfortunately, it happens.

It’s for reasons like this that I recommend carrying a bike lock with you when you travel. If you ever have to leave your luggage unattended, you can use the lock to secure your bag to a fixed object – in much the same way you would with a bike.

For those staying in a hostel, a locker is of course the best place for your valuables. However, locking your bag, and then securing the bag to something in your room (e.g. to the frame of your bed) is a good contingency plan should lockers be unavailable. If you’re ever in a situation where there’s simply nothing to chain the bag to, but you’re traveling with a friend, chain both of your bags to each other. It’s not foolproof, but it does make it pretty awkward for a thief to try and walk away with a bag that has another one hanging off it.

Bike locks are also super handy when you travel by train. If you’re by yourself, you can’t keep an eye on your bag every moment (you’ll inevitably have to get up to go to the bathroom) and if you’re on an overnight train, you’ll likely fall asleep at some point. But if you’ve got a bike lock, all you have to do is chain your luggage to the overhead rack or to another seat and you no longer have to worry about it.

I know, you’re probably thinking right now that if someone really wanted to get into your bag, they could just slash it open with a knife – and that’s true. But in general, most of the luggage-related theft that occurs when you travel is opportunistic, meaning the thief sees a bag that’s unattended, or some valuables lying around and just can’t resist. By chaining your bag, you make your luggage less of an attractive prospect, and chances are, thieves will just shift their focus to an easier target.

What do you think? How do you keep your belongings secure? Have you used a luggage lock when you’ve traveled? 


{Chain your luggage to a fixed object to deter thieves}