13 tips you should know about luggage theft

13 tips you should know about luggage theft

With the summer holiday comes many luggage thefts. The holiday season brings hundreds of thousands of people to airports, train stations, bus terminals and harbours globally, and travellers need to constantly be vigilant.

Ricardo Coetzee of Auto & General said that no traveller wants to arrive at a destination to find out that their bags have gone missing. 

“There is an even higher risk during the holiday season, as people travel with presents and larger luggage items. For the criminals, it’s a perfect opportunity: more passengers, more bags, increased chances of delays and lost luggage, all providing further opportunities for theft. 

“Baggage theft and pilfering is a reality, no matter which hub you travel through, and there are a number of precautionary measures you can take to help make your luggage less of a target,” he said. 

Here are some tips:  

Before you leave

  • The way you pack your bags is vital as criminals have a limited time to get in and take what they can. Place the less important items at the top of your case.
  • Consider investing in luggage with secret compartments and always take your valuables - such as laptops, cameras, jewellery and credit cards – as hand luggage.
  • Carry toiletries such as perfume and expensive make-up in your carry-on, however, abide by the restrictions on the acceptable quantities you are allowed to travel with. 
  • Make your bag stand out from others. Tie a brightly coloured scarf or tie, or a luggage tag, to make your bag easier to locate. \
  • Put your identification particulars on both the inside and outside of your bag. Add contact numbers of yourself or next of kin. 
  • Be sensible with the items you take on holiday. If you don’t need to take that expensive pair of boots or jacket, leave it at home. 

 At the terminal

  • Locked zips, cable ties and baggage wraps deter criminals. 
  • Always keep an eye out for suspicious individuals. Never leave your luggage unattended and keep it in sight at all times, as opportunistic criminals can pounce at any second.
  • Never entrust your luggage to someone before verifying that they are an official working for a reputable service provider.
  • Avoid opening your bag and revealing its contents. When asked by an official, do so swiftly without allowing others to see.
  • Don’t check your bags in too early. Your bag could be stored elsewhere if you check them in very early, which only creates the opportunity for criminals to steal. 
  • Get to the baggage carousel to avoid your luggage attracting unwanted attention.
  • Photograph your luggage before departing and check your bags once you arrive at your destination. If anything does happen, you can deal with it immediately.