Should You lock my luggage when flying internationally?

Should I lock my luggage when flying internationally

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Generally, whether or not you need to lock your luggage or not depends on you and the content of the luggage.

Nonetheless, if you want a detailed insight into why you should lock your luggage or not, keep reading.

Should I lock my luggage when flying internationally? 

It’s generally recommended that you lock your luggage due to several reasons.

For one reason, you are directly preventing unauthorized access to it. Luggage theft is a thing.

You also need to be aware that different countries might have specific laws regarding the way you are allowed to lock your luggage.

For instance, in the United States – when an individual is traveling internationally, they are required to have the TSA-APPROVED LOCK on their luggage.

This will give easy access to your luggage when TSA officials try checking them, without actually damaging your lock.

Here’s a detailed list of countries that follow the TSA standard like in the US.

Irrespective of that, it’s important to keep your luggage locked due to the following reasons highlighted below.

#1. For Security Purposes

The reports of luggage theft in the U.S. has drastically increased over the years. One of the reasons why you need to lock your luggage is due to security purposes.

For instance, at Sea-Tac Airport, records show that cases of baggage theft have increased over the years, especially after the post-pandemic crush of passengers, with a record high of 477 cases in 2022, up from 97 cases in 2011.

Similarly, in San Francisco, total baggage theft reports nearly doubled at SFO, with 119 thefts reported in 2022, compared with 67 in 2021.

Locked luggage will prevent unauthorized access to your belongings by strangers or luggage thieves.

#2. Privacy Purposes

Even if there are no important documents that can be stolen inside your checked luggage, you might just want to lock it up because you don’t want other passengers or strangers to know what’s inside.

If this isn’t one of the main reasons, why then do passengers make use of luggage? 

It’s obviously not probably due to carrying their belongings alone as most people prioritize their privacy.

#3. For Obeying Regulations

Perhaps you don’t really want to lock your luggage, you might just decide to lock it because the law in some countries says so.

For example in the United States, you must have the TSA-approved locks on your luggage whether or not you want to.

Things you need to know when locking luggage for international flights

There are some basic things you need to be aware of while locking your luggage and embarking on a journey.

Although, some of these things might depend on and also be specific to some particular regions or countries.

1. Do not overpack

Generally, while locking your luggage you need to make sure you are not overpacking.

You might damage your lock with overpacked luggage because it will be difficult for it to close properly.

2. Hold a spare key or combination

You definitely don’t want to misplace your luggage key or forget the combination you used to lock them and start looking for wonder ways to open them without the proper keys or combination.

To avoid this scenario from actualizing, always keep a spare key or write the combination somewhere you can easily go back to in situations where you forget them.

3. Use Tsa-approved Locks

Although this might vary from country to country, it’s required that you use TSA-approved locks.

All checked bags are expected to have this particular lock, otherwise, they won’t be permitted to use locks at all on their luggage.

Editors note: TSA locks are actually to your advantage, as they allow TSA officers to access your luggage for security screenings without having to damage or cut the lock.

Benefits and drawbacks of using luggage locks

Realistically, there are a lot of benefits of using a luggage lock but only a few drawbacks.

Now let’s take a look at the benefits first before moving to the few drawbacks.


  • Security: A lock serves as an extra layer of security for your luggage. This is one of the most important benefits of using it.
  • Privacy and peace of mind: You will obviously be confident of the fact that no one can tamper with your luggage since there’s a lock on it. That’s what peace of mind is called.


In a real sense, there are no drawbacks to using luggage locks.

However, we can’t deter the fact unfortunate situations do occur when using locks in general. Luggage or not.

A typical one of them is misplacing your lock key or forgetting the combination.

This does happen, no doubt and can get you stranded in important situations.

For this reason, it’s important to always double-keep or write your lock combinations in different places, so that if you forget, you can always go to them. Cloud storage is always helpful here.

For physical keys, you’d want to keep a spare always with you.


Generally, the worst thing you ever want to do is to forget to lock your luggage for an important flight.

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