Is it worth having a lock on your luggage? Some say don’t bother, luggage locks are cheap and easily cut off. But I say Yes, put a lock on your suitcase. My favorite is the luggage lock from WordLock. It is a TSA approved padlock that uses a four letter word you select as the combination and the TSA have a key to open it if needed.
But if you suitcase has a zipper don’t even think that it is secure from an experienced thief. Just watch the video below:
How do you get around the zipper issue? Use a hard shell suitcase that can be secured with a TSA approved padlock when you are flying, and using a sturdy padlock when on the ground. Pelican or Zero Halliburton make high quality cases that use TSA locks built-in or are designed to take padlocks. When buying a suit case that doesn’t use a zipper make sure they take a real padlock.
Pelican cases are heavy duty plastic cases that are designed more for transporting equipment than clothing. Zero Halliburton cases are more expensive and might make the suitcase a target for thieves that think that an expensive suitcase has valuable contents. A new supplier is Nanuk, I haven't seen them in person.
Some zippered suitcases allow you to lock the zippers handles to a stationary location on the case. This defeats the ability to repair/close the zipper after a bad guy has forced the zipper open with a sharp object as seen in the video.
I also like hard cases over fabric cases because they help protect your valuables from rain or liquids that may break in another suitcase on a flight. Picking up your suitcase and noticing it smells like wine, made me a believer in hard cases.
It happened to me at the end of a trip, if it had happened at the start it would have been a disaster. I still use some old soft cases, but put everything in a plastic bags. I’ve also found that if you frequently travel in the tropics fabric luggage can degrade and fall apart quickly. TB