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Ask Slashdot: Anti-Theft Devices For Luggage?

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the limberger-cheese-spray-packs dept.

Crime 293

New submitter SkinnyFatSmoothNeck writes "I'll be taking a long train ride in the coming month and I'm looking for ideas and recommendations on anti-theft devices to be used for carry-on luggage. The obvious precautions are always taken: never letting the bag out my sight, wrapping the bag strap around my leg while stowed and so on. But as this is a long ride, there will be a couple of nights involved. The first thing that came to my mind is a two-part device that triggers based on a specified proximity and is controlled from a remote (ie.: the device would be placed inside the bag and trigger a loud alarm if it strays outside of range). Perhaps a more advanced, albeit more expensive, device could also include GPS tracking. But beyond that, what other creative, ingenious or downright sensible solutions do you have to offer?"

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Simple is not always best (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42630919)

Long piece of String?

I'm Here GPS Tracker (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42630925)

Not yet on sale but this is something to keep in mind down the road:

Don't fly (at least in US) (4, Insightful)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 2 years ago | (#42630931)

Any security device would be considered a bomb by the TSA and dealt with accordingly.

Re:Don't fly (at least in US) (4, Funny)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42630945)

yea cause we all know trains fly

Re:Don't fly (at least in US) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631177)

A woman was raped? She didn't give the man consent to have sex with her?

Allow me to quash these silly misunderstandings. Such things demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of a woman's mind. You see, women are always ready to have sex. Just by existing, women give men consent to perform sexual acts upon them. Why else would they have asses? Why else would certain uppity women accuse specific men of rape? Because they know, deep in their hearts, that they want sex, and they want it now.

Ignore their pleas. Ignore their whining. Do whatever you please to women; that's what they're for.

Re:Don't fly (at least in US) (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#42631489)

TSA checkpoints are at train stations as well.

Re:Don't fly (at least in US) (3, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | about 2 years ago | (#42631691)

If he's taking a multi-day train trip, it's almost certainly not in the US (may God have mercy on his soul if it is).

Re:Don't fly (at least in US) (5, Informative)

OzPeter (195038) | about 2 years ago | (#42631741)

If he's taking a multi-day train trip, it's almost certainly not in the US (may God have mercy on his soul if it is).

I have no idea where the OP is traveling but there are plenty of long distance Amtrak train trips in the US - and a lot of them across scenic routes. I have done Chicago to San Francisco on the California Zephyr [] and the views of the rockies were stunning. I've also done San Francisco - LA - San Diego which while it was only an single day trip again had stunning views along the way.

Re:Don't fly (at least in US) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631001)

Why waste time posting garbage?

Re:Don't fly (at least in US) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631101)

He's mentally handicapped. Please be nice.

Re:Don't fly (at least in US) (5, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#42631043)

Perhaps you weren't listening. He just wants to use a remote control with wireles receiver in the luggage. How could that raise a red flag?

Re:Don't fly (at least in US) (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631091)

Perhaps you weren't listening. He just wants to use a remote control with wireles receiver in the luggage. How could that raise a red flag?

Just like shampoo or biscuits. Seriously, did you ever see a list of items banned on airplanes?

Re:Don't fly (at least in US) (1)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about 2 years ago | (#42631161)

Pretty sure that was sarcasm.

Re:Don't fly (at least in US) (0)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42631423)

it is against the /. tos to RTFA, and it is a crime against humanity to post any comment that doesn't start a flame war

Re:Don't fly (at least in US) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631569)

This ain't no flame war you nitwit. If you want flame war just fire up the old irc client and head on over to EFnet. It hardly ever gets warm around here.

Re:Don't fly (at least in US) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631377)

I agree, what if the device interferes with the TSA inspection in some way? What if it even just embarrasses the TSA
if yet another TSA checker is caught stealing from people's luggage? Sure the guy who brought your device to the
checkpoint will get his ass kicked, but they can decide to kick yours as well! Not such a good idea after all, is it, if you
think about what can happen to you

Re:Don't fly (at least in US) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631463)

if you put a bomb in your carry on luggage and in your check in luggage, there's a good chance the TSA will only pick up one of them, because when they find one they will be to distracted with patting each other on the back for justifying their own existence to give a damn about anything else till the next shift change at least

Re:Don't fly (at least in US) (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631433)

I've flown with radios (Motorola CP200, the kind on the belt of the TSA agents) and I've only had one TSA agent give them a second look. Wasn't a problem then she just took a closer look. These radios look like a solid piece of aluminum on the x-ray machine. I'm thinking a commercially available alarm won't be an issue.

See these guys (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42630937)

They sell plane tickets [] .

Rape-iscan (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#42630999)

Not until the TSA finishes decommissioning Rapiscan machines [] .

Re:Rape-iscan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631421)

Not until the TSA finishes decommissioning Rapiscan machines [] .

I'm sorry you have such a small penis.

Re:Rape-iscan (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42631469)

you mean rape-n-scan macines

Spot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42630941)

Works well

hooked on high tech? (5, Interesting)

hurfy (735314) | about 2 years ago | (#42630947)

Low tech answer is the alarms for elderly people getting up out of bed/chair. Just an alarm box with magnet on a string clipped to person. If they get up it pulls the magnet off the string and sets off the alarm. Should be $50 or less. Clip the string to bottom of bag and hook the alarm to a chair leg or fixture nearby.

Or a GPS device with the tracker app and a tablet...of course if the tablet is in the bag.....


Alarm keychain? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42630953)

What about a simple alarm on a key chain? You put one piece in the bag, you tie the other end to yourself. If the wire is disconnected, there's a loud obnoxious alarm that won't stop until it's plugged back in. You know, those "rape" alarm for late at night.

decoy (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 2 years ago | (#42630961)

Get a nice looking piece of luggage and stuff it with fish heads or something equally obnoxious. Keep your real stuff in a piggly-wiggly bag.

Re:decoy (5, Insightful)

ajlowe (2653007) | about 2 years ago | (#42631031)

Better yet, just use old grungy looking luggage. If your luggage appears to be the least valuable luggage on the train, it will be stolen last. I tend to dress down when I travel because it is more comfortable and it makes me a less desirable target. OK, mainly because it is comfortable :)

Re:decoy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631525)

That works unless you want to use your notebook or tablet during the trip. If there are thieves on board they're watching for people with gadgets and they'll take their bags no matter what they look like.

luggage loser (5, Interesting)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 2 years ago | (#42630965)

this is what works for me: hideously ugly and decrepit luggage. Since 1992. Never failed once.

Re:luggage loser (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631497)

this is what works for me:
hideously ugly and decrepit luggage.
Since 1992. Never failed once.

Yeah, good luck with that shit when the next hipster comes along and thinks your "retro" luggage is far too cool to pass up.

Re:luggage loser (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631557)

this is what works for me:
hideously ugly and decrepit luggage.
Since 1992. Never failed once.

Yeah, good luck with that shit when the next hipster comes along and thinks your "retro" luggage is far too cool to pass up.

Put some weights in it, and his womanly hipster shoulders will dislocate with a sickly pop.

Re:luggage loser (5, Funny)

The Dark (159909) | about 2 years ago | (#42631735)

this is what works for me:
hideously ugly and decrepit luggage.
Since 1992. Never failed once.

Sure, that works for you, but what would you suggest for those of us who aren't hideously ugly?

dead or alive? (3, Interesting)

Chaseshaw (1486811) | about 2 years ago | (#42630967)

is your goal theft prevention, or thief incapacitation?

just google it (5, Informative)

v1 (525388) | about 2 years ago | (#42631011)

google for "purse alarm". there are a wide variety of options for things that make noise if disconnected.

for proximity, goole all the options with 'child proximity alarm", this is probably more up your alley. Some only sound an alarm on the kid, some only on the parent with the remote, and some do both. that's up to you what you want.

final option for gps is a smartphone with a "find my phone" option. Like with the iphone where you can see where it's at from a computer. that would be useful if the bag disappeared without setting off whatever else you had watching it like a proximity alarm, or if they managed to outrun you and hop in a car etc with your bag,

Re:just google it (2)

pcr_teacher (1977472) | about 2 years ago | (#42631441)

There are wireless proximity alarms (designed for keychains or children) that work with your smart fone, setting off an alarm on your phone when the distance goes beyond about 10 meters:,review-1689.html []

Also look for Loc8tor plus: the range is supposed to be 100 meters.

Battery life is an issue...

Re:just google it (5, Interesting)

swampfriend (2629073) | about 2 years ago | (#42631447)

Don't put an alarm on your luggage. Please. For the sake of all the other passengers, please don't use one.

I don't have any hard science to back this up, but past experience compels me to guess that you are likely to set it off accidentally many times for every one time it's set off by theft.

It will cause problems if you are separated from your bag by security personnel in the course of routine security measures, and that might subject you to non-routine security measures.

A proximity alarm will not prevent someone from taking just the things they want to steal and leaving the rest. An alarm that activates if the luggage is opened seems to me like a more expensive alternative to a crate.

If I were a thief with your luggage and it started making an alarm noise, I would get rid of it and distance myself from it as fast as possible, without caring about the longevity of the contents. You can see how this might work on a train. Even a loud alarm would be hard to hear when it's sitting on the trestles twenty miles behind you.

I think the most sensible security advice, which has probably been repeated elsewhere here, is that you shouldn't be carrying anything you couldn't stand to lose. If there's some kind of special circumstance here you should just talk to the people at the train station if they have a safe, a cargo cage, or some other secure place so that you aren't wrestling with paranoia the whole time.

chill out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631015)

get laid and chill out. you might then enjoy yourself.

Self-Insure and stop worrying (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631021)

You could try a carabiner to attach it to something; but I think that would just advertise that there might be something worth taking.

My real solution, which I use when traveling, is to budget for a loss, and not carry anything in detachable luggage I can't replace. Ireplacables (or difficult to replace) goes on my person.

Re:Self-Insure and stop worrying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631217)

Don't even need to "self-insure" - just INSURE. Carry whatever you want in the bag as long as it is replaceable, and make sure you are covered for the amount to replace it.

Re:Self-Insure and stop worrying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631437)

These are all thugs looking to take your belongings. Just so you know.

Black Mamba (5, Funny)

Modern (252880) | about 2 years ago | (#42631027)

Fascinating creature, the black mamba. In Africa, the saying goes 'in the bush, an elephant can kill you, a leopard can kill you, and a black mamba can kill you. But only with the black mamba--and this has been true in africa since the dawn of time--is death sure.' Hence its handle--'death incarnate. Its neurotoxic venom is one of nature's most effective poisons, acting on the nervous system causing paralysis. The venom of a black mamba can kill a human being in four hours if, say, bitten on the ankle or the thumb. However, a bite to the face or torso can bring death from paralysis within 20 minutes. The amount of venom that can be delivered from a single bite can be gargantuan. If not treated quickly with anti-venom, ten to fifteen milligrams can be fatal to human beings. However, the black mamba can deliver as much as 100 to 400 milligrams of venom from a single bite.

Just be sure to include a return address.

Re:Black Mamba (1)

crutchy (1949900) | about 2 years ago | (#42631583)

the inland taipan (aka fierce snake) is the most venomous land snake in the world. black mamba venom is apparently the fastest acting though.

average quantity of venom delivered by a fierce snake is 44 mg and the maximum dose recorded is 110 mg
a black mamba bite delivers about 100-120 mg of venom on average, with the largest envenomation on record being 400 mg

ok black mamba is probably more bad-ass, but maybe throw a black mamba and a fierce snake in your luggage just to be sure anyone taking it is fucked. just be careful when you take out your trousers though, because that would be a trouser snake i wouldn't want to mess with (especially after a trip in a suitcase). [] []

Encryption + Cheap netbook (3, Insightful)

drolli (522659) | about 2 years ago | (#42631029)

Take care that if its stolen it will not be bad for you.

Re:Encryption + Cheap netbook (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | about 2 years ago | (#42631243)

As others have pointed out before, check the laws of the countries that you are leaving and traveling to regarding encrypted materials and/or encryption software and what's legal (and risky) at each border crossing.

..Blend in (4, Interesting)

Archon-X (264195) | about 2 years ago | (#42631053)

Use ugly, beaten up, non descript luggage.
Place your valuables (cash, cards, passport) in a small bag - and stuff it down the front of your pants.
Carry a 'fake' wallet with your day cash, and an expired card or two. Money belts / around the neck pouches are no secret. If you get jumped, they'll look for them. If someone has their hands down the front of your pants, you've got bigger problems.

I find these are the perfect size for the passport: [] - and you get a travel tower, too!

Most importantly: don't panic, and don't be over-protective of your luggage. Oppurtunistic theives (presumably these are the ones you're trying to prevent) - take body language seriously.

I kind of get the feeling you're taking the trans-siberian train (or similar).. If that's the case, just relax.

The above is tried and tested personally 3x across russia, iran, turkmenistation, ouzbekistan, tadjikistan, kazakstan, mongolia, china, nepal, south america, cambodia, ukraine, etc etc etc - in buses, trains and bikes.

Re:..Blend in (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631277)

I've traveled enough to know that most people are really too obvious. You don't need to outrun the lion. You just need to be faster than the slowest person.

I've been with people who flash money. When you pay for something, make sure it looks like you aren't carrying much. Don't pull out your whole bank roll and peel off a bill. Keep your money in two piles and don't ever show the one with the big bills in public.

Don't act like a confused tourist. My parents used to stand on a busy street corner and unfold a map. Everyone for blocks in four directions could see the map. Even at 15 I knew we were an instant target. You can walk 20 feet down one block and lean against a wall, so far fewer people will see you. Also, have you map folded right before hand so you can consult it without opening the entire thing in public. That said, don't dodge down an alley to check your map. You want some people to see you for safety.

Don't act lost even when you are. Instead of turning around, just walk around the block or go in a shop and leave going the back the other way, fewer people will notice.

Thieves also work in groups. Be careful when there's an unreasonable distraction. That guy who won't leave you alone might have someone else taking your bag.

Watch out for strange touches. If someone bumps your backpack or pulls at your clothes they may be trying to hide other things. I've scared a few pickpockets by spinning around at minor touching.

Assume you will be robbed and minimize your losses. I've been lucky, but most people I know have been hit once or twice.

If you suspect someone is a shark, they probably are. Once they target you, they can be hard to shake.

Sorry for the rambling, but in short, just make sure you aren't the dumbest tourist in the area and you'll be fine.

Re:..Blend in (-1, Troll)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#42631509)

"If you suspect someone is a shark, they probably are. Once they target you, they can be hard to shake."

Not really, turn around and show them the hilt of your pistol you are conceal carrying. that shark will run away from you like a scared little girl.

Re:..Blend in (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631663)

Depending on where you are, that might be considered brandishing a weapon and therefore illegal. Yes, my state has colossally fucked up rules regarding permissible carry.

Re:..Blend in (1)

PsychoSlashDot (207849) | about 2 years ago | (#42631399)

Place your valuables (cash, cards, passport) in a small bag - and stuff it down the front of your pants.

Bag being small or not, where are you coming by all this room in the front of your pants for traveling cash, ID, and cards? At least in my case, that storage area is at capacity. Using travel lingo one might say... overbooked.

ACP 1911 M1 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631719)

Never fails to work, if you are a not a light sleeper, use a proximity alarm. Fire two rounds, one into the pelvis, second to the forehead.

MFG, omb

My regulation SIG 226/9mm works almost as well, but with a 9mm round you need to aim high centre of pelvis so you break the spine!

Use a lock (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631057)

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

Unless you're travelling with nuclear secrets, or gold buillion, all you have to do is make your luggage less attractive to passing thieves than your neighbours luggage.

pack inteligently (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631069)

If you're truly paranoid there will be a theft, then leave your jewels at home (or just leave your suitcase full of cocaine at home). Also good is not being a jerk, believe it or not people are less likely to steal if you don't upset them, say with your obnoxiously beeping luggage. It's hard but some faith in humanity is not always misplaced. I travel across the US via train somewhat annually and have never experienced a theft.

Get a room. (4, Insightful) (245670) | about 2 years ago | (#42631077)

I've taken long train trips. If I expect to have to sleep, I get a room in a sleeper car. If you've got the money to spend on some sort of GPS tracking system and proximity alarm, you can afford a sleeper car. If you can't afford that, lock the zippers, tie the bag(s) to your leg and dream about the day when you can afford to travel in comfort. A well-designed travel bag will be configured so all of the zippers can come together in one location and be locked with a single lock. Even my super fancy camera/laptop bag with 5 external zippered pockets can be locked with two locks.

Re:Get a room. (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 2 years ago | (#42631211)

Here is what I do, if on a long train trip:

The *real* sensitive stuff, I'd see about having shipped insured by Fedex or another good shipping company. That way, you will be assured you get your stuff or a check for the amount of how much it cost.

Now, get yourself some TourSafe luggage from This has embedded "chainmail" in rather large links between the fabric. It won't stop someone determined, but it will slow the thief with the pocketknife. Then buy yourself a decent combo padlock. You don't need a Sargent & Greenleaf 8077AD. Get yourself a few decent locks (Non-TSA , obviously) and call the job done.

If you want to protect an existing backpack, PacSafe also has security "sacks" which can go over items, then lock to something.

This won't provide you with Fort Knox protection, but it will resist a sneak thief well enough.

Re:Get a room. (1)

thephydes (727739) | about 2 years ago | (#42631671)

Pacsafe travel goods? Yes I can recommend them. A bit expensive but hey so are my SLR and lenses.

Re:Get a room. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#42631515)

And put duct tape on the zipper. I can get in your bag in 30 seconds with a bic pen.

Handcuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631113)

Just handcuff the luggage to yourself. They'll have to cut the cuff, or your arm, to get it off.

Re:Handcuff (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 2 years ago | (#42631455)

The article image for this is amazingly appropriate.

Re:Handcuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631507)

Looks good on TV, but a good kick or jostle can cause some serious tendon damage with a standard police handcuff. At least use a locking leather bondage strap cuff on your arm, then handcuff the luggage to the leather cuff's D-ring.

Re:Handcuff (2)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#42631731)

No, handcuff the luggage to the metal bar on the luggage shelf.

locks and cables (4, Informative)

erice (13380) | about 2 years ago | (#42631143)

I do a lot of travel in third world countries where theft risk is a big issue. I'm not sure if a long train ride in first world country qualifies for such paranoia but here's what I do:

1) Padlock all the metal zippers. Anything with in a compartment with a fabric zipper can not be secured. There is little point in securing a bag if someone can simply open a zipper and remove the good stuff. A lock is pointless if someone an simply cut the handle with a pocket knife.

2) String a cable lock through one or more padlocks and wrap it around an immovable object, like a seat leg. I use a cheap bicycle lock much like this one: [] but there are plenty of options.

Security doesn't have to be perfect, just good enough that isn't worth the trouble or risk to the thief.

That said, there have been times when I would have liked something a proximity alarm: not so much for theft but so that I don't absent mindedly leave something behind.

Re:locks and cables (1)

Plammox (717738) | about 2 years ago | (#42631187)

I'm not sure if a long train ride in first world country qualifies for such paranoia


Re:locks and cables (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631391)

Re:locks and cables (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 2 years ago | (#42631585)

Bingo. This is why I prefer hard-sided luggage. It holds less, but a thief isn't just going to pop the zipped area with a pen and have complete access to the contents.

Low tech? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631157)

Back when I used to fly I had a laptop case with a pocket you opened from the outside. I stapled a 10', or so, piece of day-glow ribbon to the inside and a clip on the other end. Theory was if someone grabbed the case it would leave a 10' tail behind. Never actually tried it.

Electronic Leash (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 2 years ago | (#42631165)

Try something like this Child Guard Monitor []

Strong key. (2)

alexhs (877055) | about 2 years ago | (#42631167)

Use a good lock with a strong encryption key, as the outlaws will only bother with the low-hanging fruits.
I personally use 12345 on all my luggage, and have been fully satisfied with it.

How about... (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 years ago | (#42631171)

a sticker, saying: "there may be a killer cobra inside".

Re:How about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631393)

Label your luggage as biohazard material. People are scared of getting sick.

How about... (2) (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 years ago | (#42631179)

a sticker, saying: "smack inside -- want some?".

Ship it. (1)

TrumpetPower! (190615) | about 2 years ago | (#42631181)

If whatever you're taking on board is so expensive / irreplaceable that you're seriously worried about theft, then use a separate shipping service (UPS / FedEx / whatever) with suitable insurance.



Re:Ship it. (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#42631739)

Some things are irreplaceable without being intrinsically valuable; e.g., I took my laptop on safari in Africa and downloaded all images to it every night. The camera battery, its charger, the camera itself, and laptop were irreplaceable items - they simply could not be purchased outside perhaps Nairobi and were the storage for the photographic record of the trip and thus held irreplaceable images.

How about... (1, Funny)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 2 years ago | (#42631193)

a sticker, saying: "I've thought about this, I've prodded ./ -- you don't want this. -- Thank you."

tip good some times a shit tip = lost bag (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#42631235)

tip good some times a shit tip = lost bag

Re:tip good some times a shit tip = lost bag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631523)

tip good some times a shit tip = lost bag

With that logic, I guess it's a damn good thing doctors don't work off tips.

Warning (1)

EgNagRah (1650283) | about 2 years ago | (#42631237)

Put a sticker that states a GPS tracking device is enclosed.

TSA locks = "please search (and loot) this bag" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631241)

I assume you're looking for something to keep the TSA employees honest. Good luck with that. Please let us know what works for you.

Some ideas... (4, Informative)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about 2 years ago | (#42631269)

1) Don't carry fancy luggage. It attracts attention and tells a potential thief that you have money and are likely carrying valuable items.
2) Try and find a hard sided suitcase rather than a soft one. A pocket knife will slice through the more common soft sided luggage with ease. A hard case makes the thief have to work a bit harder and probably skip the effort all together.
3) Make photocopies of your vital documents and carry the originals on your person and put the copies in your luggage. If your luggage gets stolen it makes it easier to identify you as the owner - assuming of course that you actually ever see it again :-)
4) If you are carrying something valuable in your luggage then try not to open it in public. Take it in the bathroom and watch to make sure you are not followed.
5) If you can afford a private cabin get one. The door has a lock on it so you're less likely to have to worry about theft.
6) If you're carrying a laptop in the carry on luggage then encrypt the hard drive. Truecrypt is free and works probably as well as anything else. At a minimum, create an encrypted volume on the hard drive and put your critical files in there. Better yet, encrypt the whole drive.
7) Put a password on your cellphone. Android and Blackberry allows you to encrypt the contents of the phone and it's password protected. Not sure if iPhone offers something similar but I suspect it does.
8) Don't put your home address on luggage tags. If someone steals your luggage they now know where you live and also know that you're not home. Best case they break into your house and loot it. Worst case your family is home when they break in. I just put my name and a phone number.

Re:Some ideas... (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 2 years ago | (#42631567)

As for electronic items, my two cents:

9: The iPhone does have encryption. I'd insure it, set a password [1], set it to erase after 10 tries, set find your iPhone on, back it up, and call it done.

10: If really worried about data, I'd consider fedexing an encrypted HDD with your real stuff to the hotel, and using a dummy install on a trip. This way, a routine border search won't turn into a seizure and a visit to the local grey bar hotel when some guy sees encryption and you don't give them the unlock code. Even better, use the laptop as a glorified terminal, where accessing data is done through a VPN and a remote login.

11: Similar to #8 in the parent, but I'd consider using a work address (if possible), or one of the shipping receiving services (glorified post office box that accepts UPS and FedEx.) This way, the bags can be shipped -somewhere-, without revealing one's home address.

[1]: On the iPhone, if you set a password (not a PIN), and use all numbers, you will get a number pad when it asks for it. This makes it easy to enter in a >4 number code.

Re:Some ideas... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#42631753)

5) If you can afford a private cabin get one. The door has a lock on it so you're less likely to have to worry about theft.

At least in the U.S., the cabins don't have locks. That said, they do have curtains over the windows and they don't let non-sleeping-car passengers wander through, so the risk of somebody randomly walking off with your stuff is very small.

Insurance (4, Insightful)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | about 2 years ago | (#42631273)

Can't you just take out insurance on your luggage and enjoy the trip? It it gets stolen, you'll get new gear.


Reinforced bags (2)

rwa2 (4391) | about 2 years ago | (#42631281)

I forget the brand, but REI carries a line of secure purses and travel bags with steel-reinforced straps and interior locks and bolts and low-profile carbiners on the straps to make it easier to lock them to furniture and a bit harder to casually snatch your bag.

Of course, they cost more than anything I'd actually put in them.

Re:Reinforced bags (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631573)

Maybe you're thinking Pacsafe?

Relatively inexpensive, but quite accurate (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 years ago | (#42631303)

iPod Touch + find my iPhone.

PacSafe (3, Informative)

upuv (1201447) | about 2 years ago | (#42631355)

I've used PacSafe stuff many times. Basically all of my paranoia is gone when I go way over the top some times. I often use them to hold bags on motorcycles and when I just want to leave my heavy bag somewhere and keep it safe so I can do something more casual.

You can't use them for checked or carry on on a plane. TSA freaks out. You have to pack the packsafe stuff in a normal bag when on a plane.

I have no affiliation with pacsafe what so ever. I'm just a happy customer. []

Re:PacSafe (1)

Punchcardz (598335) | about 2 years ago | (#42631559)

Yeah, I use those while hosteling in Europe or staying in dodgy places at conferences (Grad Student). Love them.

What countries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631389)

You really should say what countries you will travel through. For instance in the former Soviet Union, just get a bottom bunk and put your suitcase in the bin under the bed. Since the Bed is the lid for the bin it is safe. Or get a top bunk and haul your luggage up to the bunk and stow it in the space above the corridor. I've done this even with a big suitcase. In other countries you would need to find out what locking device could be fitted to your compartment door if that is possible.

And don't forget the most important security device; your brain. For instance, ask the conductor when you would be woken during the night for border crossing or whatever. Then keep a clock handy and when someone bangs on the door, check the time. If it is not the right time, they are thieves. Ignore them.

And don't forget to remove your airline luggage tags at the airport. Lot's of folks travel by train who cannot afford plane travel. Don't make yourself stick out as a lucrative theft target.

Fellow travelers, and relax (5, Informative)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 years ago | (#42631415)

Luggage is rarely stolen on trains: Any thief would have a high risk of getting beaten up by fellow travelers. The situation also does not lend itself to professional thieves: The haul is not worth a lot commonly, you need to ride the train for some time (and be notices by the conductor, etc.), you cannot run, you cannot scout the situation when you can finally run, there are usually queues at stops, so you have to steal minutes before you can get off the train, etc.

So, get to know your fellow travelers and relax. In fact the only real theft risk I see is if you are overly protective of your luggage. It may inspire some amateur thieve. (Of course, money, documents, etc. belong on your person.)

Re:Fellow travelers, and relax (1)

jrumney (197329) | about 2 years ago | (#42631503)

Indeed. The poster needs to relax and enjoy the journey. Is he really going to stay within close proximity of his luggage for two days to avoid setting off his proximity alarm? Dragging it with him whenever he leaves his compartment to go to the toilet, dining car or just to stretch his legs and relieve the monotony of being in a small enclosed space for two days on end?

Re:Fellow travelers, and relax (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631677)

Luggage theft depends on the country. It is/was common in Italy for decades. A couple of points:

a.) You are asleep. Even if you are disturbed you will not wake up quickly and will not realise what's going on.

b.) The lock on the cabin door is useless

Here's what worked for me back in the day when I was backpacking:

1. Get a compartment where you can pull down the seats to form beds (this only applies to old style European trains)

2. Have 3-4 companions in the compartment

3. Put all of your bags next to the window

Result, any theif is going to have to climb across 3-4 sleeping people to have a hope of getting near the bags. It's an impossible task

Couchettes are more dangerous as they consist of bunks with a central aisle that you can't block. In that case, sleep with your baggage between you and the wall. That gives you a bit of a chance

Lastly, if there are guys hanging around in the corridor, talk to the concierge and insist he remove them as they obviously don't have couchette tickets and shouldn't be there. I wish you luck but your milage will vary as sometimes (often?) the concierge is bribed.

I speak from experience here, I once woke up to find someone rummaging around in my young daughters toy bag - which looked like a handbag. I came close to throttling the guy. He claimed to be looking for cigarettes.

The Question (0)

oldhack (1037484) | about 2 years ago | (#42631453)

Who's the (worse) moron, timothy or the douchebag that submitted the question?

Buy cheap ugly luggage (2)

kawabago (551139) | about 2 years ago | (#42631473)

Everyone will assume your whole life is cheap and ugly and not worth stealing.

Bring your IPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631483)

Nobody will steal them anymore.

Beehives (1)

spankey51 (804888) | about 2 years ago | (#42631505)

Beehives []

Re:Beehives (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 2 years ago | (#42631555)

I was thinking miniature attack schnauzers inside, but a beehive would work even better since I could use the honey at breakfast.

Bright Pink Luggage (3, Funny)

Karganeth (1017580) | about 2 years ago | (#42631519)

There is 0 chance someone is going to steal your luggage if its bright pink. It's that simple.

Keep it simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631593)

At the risk of stating the obvious: make it irrelevant. Don't take anything expensive or irreplacable. Don't use fancy luggage. Leave the electronics, diamond stickpins,cuff links, and designer watches behind. If someone steals two weeks worth of your used underwear, wish them luck and buy new ones.

Basics only (1)

cerberusti (239266) | about 2 years ago | (#42631607)

Bring only basic items.

Clothing, toothbrush, toothpaste, and maybe a charger for the basic prepaid cellphone you picked up before you left.

Anything else is an invitation to theft, and you should consider it potentially lost before you leave. If you decide it is more important to bring your Ipad than leave it home so be it, but the potential cost to you is the cost of the device.

If your employer sends you, request a travel laptop. These are disposable, and it comes at no cost to you.

No technology will really prevent theft, especially since anything which will prevent access is also a potential threat to our friendly government, and can be impounded for a very long time.

So... travel light.

Simple is still best. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42631617)

a) Get a really loud alarm device preferably one that will break an eardrum. Some of the piezoelectric alarm can be are very loud and run on button cell batteries if you can build it yourself. Less likely to set off a security alarm during check in.
b) If you buy a cheap one replace the trigger switch with one that will be triggered by opening the case. Magnetic is one choice, exposure to light another. A simple two part spring switch will work if the alarm has an on off switch besides a sensor. Put a piece of paper between the springs and pull it out when closing the case. This will arm the alarm and it will go off when the case is opened.
Check out for other ideas.

Travel light (1)

bogibear (999147) | about 2 years ago | (#42631641)

Travel light and ship your luggage, just keep the essentials with you.

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