How to Lock an Away Suitcase

Traveling with a suitcase is an essential part of any trip. While choosing the right suitcase for your travels is important, it’s equally crucial to know how to keep your belongings safe during the journey. A locked suitcase gives you peace of mind and ensures that no one can access your personal items without your knowledge. In this guide, we will discuss how to lock an away suitcase to keep your belongings safe and secure.

How to Lock an Away Suitcase

Necessary Items

Before we dive into the steps for locking your suitcase away, here are a few items that you will need:

  • An Away suitcase with built-in or external locks
  • A lock of your choice (combination or key)
  • Luggage tag for identification

Why is it important to lock your suitcase?

Locking your suitcase is the first line of defense against theft or tampering. Your luggage goes through multiple hands before and during a flight, making it vulnerable to theft. Additionally, when traveling by bus, train, or other modes of transportation, you may have to leave your suitcase unattended, making it an easy target for thieves. By locking your suitcase, you are also protecting yourself from any potential liability if anything goes missing.

8 Things to Know Before You Start

1) Check If Your Away Suitcase Has Built-in Locks

Some Away suitcases come with built-in combination locks, which eliminates the need for an extra lock. These locks are TSA-approved, meaning that they can be opened by airport security if necessary. Check your suitcase to see if it has this feature.

2) Buy a TSA-Approved Lock

If your Away suitcase does not have built-in locks, you will need to purchase a lock separately. Make sure to buy a TSA-approved lock, as they are recognized and can be opened by airport security using special codes or keys. This prevents them from having to cut open your lock if they need to inspect your luggage.

Buy a Tsa-approved Lock

3) Choose Between a Combination or Key Lock

You can opt for either a combination or a key lock, whichever you prefer. Combination locks are great because you don’t have to worry about losing a key. However, make sure to remember the combination and keep it in a safe place where only you can access it. On the other hand, key locks are convenient, but you have to be careful not to lose the key.

4) Keep Your Luggage Tag Up-to-Date

Having a luggage tag with your contact information on it is crucial in case your suitcase gets lost. Make sure to update your contact information and attach the tag securely to your suitcase. If your suitcase is locked, include your contact information inside as well.

5) Familiarize Yourself with TSA Regulations

TSA has specific guidelines for baggage locks, so make sure to familiarize yourself with them before purchasing a lock. For example, they do not allow certain types of locks or may ask you to open your lock for inspection. You can find more information on the TSA website.

6) Practice Opening and Closing Your Lock

Before your trip, practice opening and closing your lock a few times to make sure you know how it works. This will save you time and frustration when you are trying to lock your suitcase in a hurry. So, if you have a combination lock, practice entering the code correctly and locking it properly. If you have a key lock, make sure you know which way to turn the key to unlock and lock it.

7) Keep Spare Keys or Combinations in a Safe Place

In case you lose your key or forget your combination during your trip, make sure to keep spare keys or the combination in a safe place. You could keep it in your wallet, in your phone case, or with someone back home whom you trust.

8) Don’t Overpack Your Suitcase

Packing your suitcase can make it easier to close and lock properly. It also puts extra stress on the zippers and locks, making them more prone to breaking. Make sure to leave some space in your suitcase for any souvenirs or items you may pick up during your trip.

Packing Your Suitcase Can Make It Easier

Locking your away suitcase is an important step in keeping your belongings safe during your travels. By following these tips and preparing beforehand, you can ensure that your suitcase stays locked and secure throughout your trip. Remember to also check with the airline or transportation company for any specific regulations or restrictions on luggage locks before traveling.

12 Steps on How to Lock an Away Suitcase

Step 1: Choose a Lock

Choose a lock that is TSA-approved and suits your preferences (combination or key). And make sure you have it with you before starting. So, if you are buying one, purchase it beforehand. If you already have one, make sure to pack it in your carry-on or personal item.

Step 2: Pack Your Suitcase

Pack your suitcase neatly and efficiently. Make sure to pack appropriately and leave some space for any items you may acquire during the trip. While packing, keep your lock in a safe place where you can easily access it later.

Step 3: Zip Up Your Suitcase

Zip up your suitcase and make sure all compartments are closed securely. This will ensure that your belongings don’t fall out of the suitcase during transit. However, avoid overpacking or forcing the zip to close, as it can cause damage to your luggage.

Step 4: Find the Lock Loops on Your Away Suitcase

Look for the lock loops on your suitcase. These are usually located near the zippers and have small holes where you can insert a lock. Moreover, they are often color-coded to match the colors of your suitcase.

Look for the Lock Loops on Your Suitcase

Step 5: Insert the Lock

Insert the lock into the loop and make sure it is secure. For combination locks, enter your chosen code and scramble the numbers so that it is locked. For key locks, turn the key in one direction to lock it.

Step 6: Check if the Lock is Secure

Make sure the lock is secure and cannot be removed easily. If you have a combination lock, check that your code is still in place and cannot be changed accidentally. As for key locks, make sure the key is not loose and can be easily removed.

Step 7: Repeat for Other Lock Loops

If your suitcase has multiple lock loops, repeat the previous steps to secure all of them. This will provide extra security and prevent any potential tampering with your luggage. Like before, make sure all locks are secure and cannot be easily taken off.

Step 8: Double Check Your Code or Key

Before closing your suitcase completely, double-check that you have entered the correct code for combination locks or turned the key in the right direction for key locks. This will save you from any hassle later on if you realize you have made a mistake.

Step 9: Close Your Suitcase

Close your suitcase completely and make sure it is securely shut. If there are any straps or buckles, fasten them to keep everything in place. Give the suitcase a gentle shake to ensure that nothing falls out.

Step 10: Check for Any Loose Zippers or Open Compartments

Before leaving your suitcase unattended, check for any loose zippers or open compartments. This could be a sign of tampering, and you may need to recheck the security of your locks. If you find anything suspicious, inform the authorities.

Check for Any Loose Zippers

Step 11: Store Your Lock in a Safe Place

After locking your suitcase, store your lock in a safe place where you can easily access it later. This could be in your carry-on or personal item, as long as it is not in a place where it can get lost or stolen.

Step 12: Enjoy Your Trip with Peace of Mind

With your away suitcase securely locked, you can now enjoy your trip with peace of mind, knowing that your belongings are safe and secure. Remember to keep your lock’s spare keys or combination in a safe place in case you need them during your travels.  So, with these steps and tips handy, you can easily lock your suitcase away and keep your belongings safe wherever your travels may take you.

Investing in a good quality lock and learning how to use it properly can save you from potential theft or damage to your belongings during travel. By following these steps on how to lock an away suitcase, you can easily lock your away suitcase and have peace of mind while enjoying your trip. Remember to always stay informed about any regulations or restrictions on luggage locks before traveling.

8 Things to Avoid While Locking Your Away Suitcase

1. Don’t Leave Your Lock in an Easily Accessible Place

Avoid leaving your lock in an easily accessible place, such as on top of your suitcase or in a side pocket. This can make it easier for someone to remove the lock and tamper with your belongings without you noticing.

2. Don’t Use an Old or Damaged Lock

Make sure to use a new and sturdy lock when securing your suitcase. Using an old or damaged lock can make it easier for someone to break into your suitcase and steal your belongings. If your lock is damaged, it’s best to replace it before your trip.

Use a New and Sturdy Lock

3. Don’t Share Your Lock Code or Key with Others

It’s important to keep your lock code or key private and not share it with others. This can prevent any potential tampering by someone who knows the code or has access to the key. Only give the code or key to trusted individuals in case of emergencies.

4. Don’t Leave Your Suitcase Unattended for Extended Periods

Avoid leaving your suitcase unattended for extended periods, especially in public places. If you need to leave it somewhere, make sure it is under your watchful eye or stored securely with a luggage storage service.

5. Don’t Forget to Lock All Compartments

Make sure to lock all compartments of your suitcase, including any external pockets or hidden compartments. This will provide maximum security and prevent anyone from accessing your belongings without your knowledge.

6. Don’t Keep Your Lock Code or Key in the Same Place as Your Luggage

Avoid keeping your lock code or key in the same place as your luggage, such as in a side pocket or inside your suitcase. This can make it easier for thieves to find and access them, compromising the security of your lock.

7. Don’t Use Easy-to-Guess Codes

When choosing a code for a combination lock, avoid using easy-to-guess codes such as your birthday or sequential numbers. These can be easily figured out by someone trying to break into your suitcase. Choose a code that is unique and not easily associated with you.

8. Don’t Leave Your Suitcase Unlocked During Travel

Make sure to always keep your away suitcase locked during travel, even if it is in the overhead compartment of a plane or under your seat on a train or bus. This will prevent anyone from tampering with your luggage while you are in transit. 

Always Keep Your Away Suitcase Locked

So, by avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure the security of your away suitcase and have a stress-free travel experience. Remember to always stay vigilant and keep an eye on your belongings during your trip.

8 Additional Tips for Securing Your Luggage

1. Use TSA-Approved Locks

If you are traveling to the United States, it is recommended to use locks that are approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). These locks can be opened by TSA agents if necessary for security checks without damaging your lock or suitcase.

2. Use a Cable Lock for Added Security

Consider using a cable lock in addition to a traditional lock for added security. Cable locks can be looped through the handles or zippers of your suitcase, making it easier for someone to remove them with your knowledge.

3. Keep Valuables in Your Carry-On

To avoid any potential damage or theft, it’s best to keep valuable items such as electronics, jewelry, and important documents in your carry-on luggage. This way, you can keep them with you at all times.

4. Use a Luggage Tracker

Investing in a luggage tracker can provide added peace of mind by allowing you to track the location of your suitcase during travel. This can also be helpful in case your luggage gets lost or misplaced.

Investing in a Luggage Tracker

5. Consider Using Tamper-Proof Seals

Tamper-proof seals can be used to secure your suitcase and provide evidence of any tampering attempts. These seals are often used by customs officials and can also serve as a deterrent for potential thieves.

6. Avoid Using Suitcases with Exterior Locks

Suitcases with exterior locks, such as padlocks, are more vulnerable to tampering as they can be easily removed or broken. It is recommended to use suitcases with built-in locks for added security. When purchasing a new suitcase, make sure to check if it has a built-in lock.

7. Use Your Suitcase as a Carry-On When Possible

If you are traveling with valuable or fragile items, consider using your away suitcase as a carry-on instead of checking it in. This will ensure that you have full control over your luggage and can keep an eye on it at all times.

8. Keep Important Documents Separate

In case your luggage does get lost or stolen, make sure to keep important documents such as passports, identification cards, and travel documents separate from your suitcase. This can save you from a lot of hassle and stress in case of an emergency.

By following these additional tips on how to lock a suitcase away, you can further enhance the security of your luggage and have a worry-free travel experience. Remember to always prioritize the safety of your belongings and take necessary precautions to prevent any potential issues.

Safe travels!  So, by avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure the security of your away suitcase and have a stress-free travel experience. Remember to always stay vigilant and keep an eye on your belongings during your trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Do if My Lock Is Damaged During Travel?

If your lock is damaged during travel, it’s best to replace it as soon as possible before your next trip. This will ensure the security of your belongings and prevent any potential issues in the future.

Are There Any Restrictions on What I Can Pack in My Away Suitcase?

It’s important to check with your airline or transportation provider for any restrictions on what you can pack in your away suitcase. Certain items, such as liquids, sharp objects, and flammable materials, may be prohibited. It’s best to familiarize yourself with these restrictions before packing to avoid any issues at the airport.

Can I Use a Combination Lock with Letters Instead of Numbers?

Yes, you can use a combination lock with letters instead of numbers as long as it meets your airline’s or transportation provider’s security requirements. Just make sure to avoid using easily guessable codes and choose a unique combination for added security. 


In conclusion, securing your away suitcase is crucial to having a worry-free travel experience. By avoiding common mistakes, such as leaving your lock code or key in an easily accessible place and using easy-to-guess codes, you can ensure the safety of your belongings. Additionally, considering the use of TSA-approved locks, cable locks, luggage trackers, tamper-proof seals, and keeping valuables in your carry-on can further enhance the security of your luggage. 

It’s also important to keep important documents separate and check for any restrictions on what you can pack in your suitcase before traveling. By following these tips on how to lock an away suitcase, you can have peace of mind knowing that your belongings are safe and secure during your trip.

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