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Ask Slashdot: Anti-Theft Devices For Luggage? 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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Ask Slashdot: Anti-Theft Devices For Luggage?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:41PM (#42630919)

    Long piece of String?

    • by Dexter Herbivore ( 1322345 ) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:42AM (#42632637) Journal
      The simple solutions are often the best. I've previously used a pacsafe [] cage, which is a wire cover for your bag that you can padlock to a strut or bar on the luggage rack.
    • by symes ( 835608 ) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @06:20AM (#42632809) Journal

      I always found an unusual odor puts off most people, including airport security. I was once pulled over at Charles de Gaul, on my way home, opened the case and was quickly told to be on my way. I had been traveling for some time and hadn't had any opportunity to launder stuff for a while.

      • People have modded you funny. I've done a few long trips, you're not joking.
      • by TekWare ( 1792534 ) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:48PM (#42634861)
        You are exactly correct on this. I once spent some time in the Amazon in Equador. Was rained on for days. On trip back out of jungle, caught jungle bus (rooftop ride), only to encounter the bridge was washed out. Hiked 17km with all my gear to get to Tena. Literally caught bus to Quito by running in front of it. Hoped on bus for a long bus ride. Two hours later bus was stopped at army checkpoint where we had to show our papers. Everyone was allowed back on the bus but me. Spent 4 hours standing next to guys with machine guns (furious staring does not harm them), until I was able to stop a pickup truck and hired the guy to take me to Quito for $10US. Spent the night in the back of the truck lying on sacks of coffee beans watching the Southern Cross as we drove through the Andes Mountains. He dropped my off at Quito International at 6am with minutes to spare. Had time to shrink wrap my backpack and board my flight - still in the same clothes and boots I was wearing in the jungle the day before. When I landed in Panama you have to push a red button at customs. If the light flashes green you go on your way. If it flashes red you get searched. I got red. They made me take the shrink wrap off my backpack, as they were asking me where I had been and what I was doing. Long story short, she only got the zip on the pack open about six inches, as I was explaining I had just came from the Amazon Jungle. She was getting a good whiff of me by then too. The zip was quickly done right back up and I was sent on my way.
  • by jd2112 ( 1535857 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:43PM (#42630931)
    Any security device would be considered a bomb by the TSA and dealt with accordingly.
    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:44PM (#42630945)

      yea cause we all know trains fly

      • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

        TSA checkpoints are at train stations as well.

        • by MaskedSlacker ( 911878 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:49PM (#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).

          • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:59PM (#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.

            • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @10:02AM (#42633365) Journal

              I checked into Amtrak for a just so I can say I did train trip. I found it to be overly expensive. I could have rented a car and traveled the same distance, gotten a hotel and waited until the train's scheduled arival for less money. At the time, and I'm not sure what air prices are, I think I could have flown back and forth 3 times for the same price as a round trip ticket on Amtrak.

              I decided to pass on the experience and go to Vegas instead. I figure if you are going to throw money away, you might as well have fun while doing it.

          • Chicago to Boston is nearly 24 hours. I would imagine the longer trips from coast to coast would run at least twice that.

        • by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:33PM (#42631901) Homepage

          TSA checkpoints are at train stations as well.

          That was something I could never understand. Why would the TSA even need to be concerned about trains? A terrorist wouldn't board a train with a bomb. A terrorist would plant a bomb in a strategic location somewhere along the tracks, and blow it up from a safe distance. Of course, the TSA desperately needs to justify its existence and taking the security theater show on the road is one way to do it. Wait a year or two and they'll be in shopping centers, theaters, malls, sports events, and your neighborhood. Your papers, please.

          • I don't get this. I have never seen a TSA agent or checkpoint at any of the major rail stations.

            Hell, I can get on the platform next to the tracks without even having a ticket in most places - I used to go into Boston's South Station and grab lunch or take pictures all the time. To get from the bus terminal to the indoor rail station, you HAVE to walk along the platform next to the trains.

        • Which ones, exactly? I take the train quite a bit, and I've yet to even walk through a metal detector or see anything more than a cop eating lunch at the station.

          And we're not talking podunk suburb stations, we're talking Boston, NYC, Chicago, Syracuse, etc - large cities with lots of people traveling. Frequently. Including holidays.

          Despite the slightly higher cost, train travel is ALWAYS more appealing and less stressful and invasive than air travel. For starters, the seats are much more spacious, and ther

    • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:57PM (#42631043) Journal

      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?

  • hooked on high tech? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hurfy ( 735314 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:44PM (#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.....


  • 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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ajlowe ( 2653007 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:55PM (#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 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Saturday January 19, 2013 @01:31AM (#42632313)

        " If your luggage appears to be the least valuable luggage on the train, it will be stolen last."

        BTW, from time to time there are sales of found luggage at train stations. Tens of thousands of pieces are left on trains each year, you can bid on them with their original content. It's a cheap way to get sturdy luggage for small money. You could choose one that looks worse than it is, to deter thieves.

    • by Whiteox ( 919863 )

      My dad collected a pile of dog poo that he put into an empty beer case, stuck it in the back tray of his pickup to be dumped somewhere. He stopped off at a store and when he got back, someone stole his 'beer'. Hahahaha!

  • luggage loser (Score:5, Interesting)

    by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:46PM (#42630965)
    this is what works for me: hideously ugly and decrepit luggage. Since 1992. Never failed once.
    • by The Dark ( 159909 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:58PM (#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? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chaseshaw ( 1486811 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:46PM (#42630967)
    is your goal theft prevention, or thief incapacitation?
  • just google it (Score:5, Informative)

    by v1 ( 525388 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:52PM (#42631011) Homepage Journal

    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,

    • 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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by swampfriend ( 2629073 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:02PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:54PM (#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.

  • Black Mamba (Score:5, Funny)

    by Modern ( 252880 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:55PM (#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.

    • Snakes on a Train. Coming soon to a theater near you...

    • by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:23AM (#42632581)
      Interesting. But correct me if I am wrong, black mambas don't have feet. My favourite anti theft device for my luggage are feet. Thousands of tiny little feet.
  • by drolli ( 522659 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:55PM (#42631029) Journal

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

    • 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.

      • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

        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.

        It's trivial to encrypt your data in a way that won't be obvious upon casual inspection and offers some plausible deniability. Like hide your encrypted porn volume 10 minutes into your "Hot Sexxy Babes and Donkeys" movie. No one will notice the encrypted data upon casual inspection, and if it's discovered, it's just random noise and you can complain that your DVD drive must have corrupted it.

  • ..Blend in (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Archon-X ( 264195 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @08:58PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:35PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by marxzed ( 1075971 )
        this is exactly the right advice for handling cash in less than ideal situations. I always travel with at least 3 days of emergency money plus enough to pay full airfare to "get the F**k outa dodge" if sh*t goes bad (you do not want to be stuck without an exit in somewhere like Laos or Sri Lanka or even Thailand when the bullets start flying) so that means carrying about a grand in US and local cash, some goes in a money belt some goes in shoe liners (liners glued back in with a light adhesive) , some g
    • 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.

  • Get a room. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ( 245670 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:00PM (#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.

    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      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 do

      • Pacsafe travel goods? Yes I can recommend them. A bit expensive but hey so are my SLR and lenses.
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

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

  • locks and cables (Score:5, Informative)

    by erice ( 13380 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:15PM (#42631143) Homepage

    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.

    • by Plammox ( 717738 )

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


    • Re:locks and cables (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:53PM (#42631391)
      • by mlts ( 1038732 )

        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.

        • Problem with hard luggage is, if you've ever really travelled with your luggage (ie, put it on your shouder / back / walked with it for days / are in an 'interesting' country - they're a pain in the ass, they're an obvious target, and they're a pain in the ass.

          Most people travel with so much useless shit. Here's a game: next time you travel, pack your bag, and take one thing out. The time after that, take out another thing. You'll get down to a point where you have some basic conveniences, and that's all yo

  • Try something like this Child Guard Monitor []
  • by alexhs ( 877055 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:17PM (#42631167) Homepage Journal

    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.

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

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

  • 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.



    • 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.
  • 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

  • Some ideas... (Score:5, Informative)

    by erp_consultant ( 2614861 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:33PM (#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.

    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      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 cod

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s4ltyd0g ( 452701 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:34PM (#42631273)

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


    • by erice ( 13380 )

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


      Sort of. You get new gear after you get home. For the remainder if your trip you will have none. That's probably going to be an issue because, if you didn't need your gear on your trip, why did you bring it with you? Loosing your camera gear on the way out to a photo safari pretty much blows the trip.

  • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:35PM (#42631281) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • iPod Touch + find my iPhone.
  • PacSafe (Score:4, Informative)

    by upuv ( 1201447 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:47PM (#42631355) Journal

    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. []

    • 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. []

      So you have to pack your stuff in another suitcase that is not your pacsafe suitcase and pack your pacsafe suitcase into that other suitcase as well?

      That's stupid.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @09:57PM (#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.)

    • by jrumney ( 197329 )
      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?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:44PM (#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.

    • I have to agree, I've traveled thousands of kilometers by train in Canada and the UK and for 12 months I was doing a three hour trip twice a week in Indonesia of all places and I have never had a single thing stolen from me. Don't worry, be happy.

  • by kawabago ( 551139 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:04PM (#42631473)
    Everyone will assume your whole life is cheap and ugly and not worth stealing.
  • by Karganeth ( 1017580 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @10:13PM (#42631519)
    There is 0 chance someone is going to steal your luggage if its bright pink. It's that simple.
    • by jamesh ( 87723 )

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

      I would. Just to prove you wrong.

  • 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 real

  • Nobody would be dumb enough to be seen with that, especially around airports. So your luggage is safe.

  • by luckymutt ( 996573 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:32PM (#42631897)
    I had a friend years ago the used a diaper bag to carry is cameras and lenses around in.No one will touch that.
  • Check in a gun (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bubblegoose ( 473320 ) <> on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:41PM (#42631929) Homepage Journal
    Having a gun, any gun, even a starter pistol, subjects your luggage to tighter security. For instance, when I checked a rifle for a hunting trip, the TSA walked me back to a room, made sure the rifle was unloaded and watched me lock the case. Then they handed me a receipt. They pay extra attention to that piece of luggage. When my plane landed, someone escorted my locked case out to me, matched the tag on the on the case with my receipt, checked my ID and gave me my case. There is no way they would have lost that piece of luggage. I bet if my case had been lost or stolen, there would have been a lockdown and search. Lifehacker detailed that same thing, I guess professional photographers pick up a $20 starter pistol just for this purpose. []
  • Start practicing looking dangerous while you sleep.

  • by jafiwam ( 310805 ) on Friday January 18, 2013 @11:54PM (#42631975) Homepage Journal
    Shoot one of the other passengers the first night. Or, throw them off the train and say, ironically, to the other passengers "no ticket"
  • Soft-sided luggage or any luggage, bag, purse, murse, fanny pack, laptop case, carry case, pouch with a plastic zipper is extremely vulnerable to pilfering. All you need is an ink pen or other small, pointed object to pop it wide open. Locks are of no use.

    Try it. Zip up any bag you might have. A tote bag or backpack will do as long as the zipper is plastic. Zip it shut. Put on a luggage lock if you like. It won't matter.

    Take a common ink pen. Bic, Pilot, whatever. Push the pointy end HARD into t

    • Only plastic zippers? The duffel bags I typically travel with have oversized YKK metal zippers. The zippers pop quite easily with any kind of pen.

  • Just carry a small skunk in your luggage.You could even use a descented one and it would probably have the same deterrent effect.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19, 2013 @03:06AM (#42632543)

    I am doing this Anonymously because it is embarrassing/super illegal. I used to work as a bellhop at a very large East Coast Casino and for 5 years I stole medication from peoples luggage. It was awful and I regret it very much, but I want to try and give back in the way of relevant information.

    First of all, zipper locks are a joke. Just get a ball point pen, take the cap off and place it on the zipped seam and push. It separates the zipper and all you need to do is run the zipper tabs (that are locked together) back around and it looks like nothing ever happened. The only bags that would routinely get me out were the solid plastic kind that have locking combination locks. Since they have no zipper I would pass them by for a bag with a zipper.

    Also remember that I know exactly where you keep your medication because it makes a loud clanking noise when I shake your bag. If you put cotton balls in the bottle, I still know where the bottle will be because most people put meds in their toiletries bag. And then, even if you silence your bottle and keep it out the toiletry bag I will still find it because your pain medication is in a large orange bottle that tells me exactly what pills are inside. This applies to anything in a suitcase. If you don't want someone stealing your precious items, put them in inconspicuous bags. If you had to hide $10k in a suitcase the last place I am going to look in is a box of tampons.

    There is a high possibility that people will go through your bags if you store them in a bell closet and/or valet type service. As employees, we know where all the blind spots on the camera's are. All you need to do is make your bag look like it would take more of my time to go through. Back in the day, if I would open a bag and see everything perfectly folded and organized I knew I could search the whole thing in under 15 seconds. On the other hand, if there was shit just tossed in, I would really think twice about weather I had enough time to make an inspection.

    I will stop here, but if you guys have any more questions I will be glad to answer any questions. There are more ways / techniques, but this is the most common.


  • I almost took a job as an international diamond courier...'til I found out I was the replacement for a guy they called "Lefty".

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