Now that you're stashing personal items in a suitcase that you might have taken in your carry-on plane bag last week, perhaps it's time to consider using baggage locks approved by the Transportation Security Authority (TSA). If TSA officials want to look inside your bag, they have a key (and must leave a note before re-locking it).
You can consider these locks a deterrent to the average thief, but not as a truly secure way of keeping valuables safe. Odds are that if a would-be thief sees two bags-one with and one without a lock - he'll opt to explore the one easiest to unzip.
How Do You Know It's TSA Approved?
You need to look for two specific symbols that indicate TSA has approved these locks and the security guards at the airport will have the right keys to unlock and relock your bag. At least that's the theory! The reality is these locks usually work well in the US because guards should have the keys and know how to use them. In other countries, however, the guards searching your bags probably won't have the right keys.
Where Can You Find Them?
Magellan's has TSA-friendly locks from Victorinox. You can also get Search Alert locks, which have a security window that changes color from green to red if the locks have been opened out of your presence.
Get the Latest TSA Updates for Carry-on Luggage
As the new regulations keep evolving because of the elevated terrorist alert, it's also a smart move to check out the latest information in the Traveler Information section on the Transportation Security Administration's website.