The safest way to travel with your most prized or expensive possessions is by keeping them in your carry-on or in your personal item — that way, you won’t have to worry about handling mishaps and misplaced luggage. There’s a reason many musicians will purchase an extra seat so they can keep their instrument right next to them on the plane, for example. But sometimes, you have something too large for carry-on that you need to travel with. In that case, you might want to lock your essentials, which will buy you peace of mind.
However, you can’t just buy any lock — it’s important to first look for a TSA-approved lock. Fortunately, they’re easy to find. TSA-approved locks have the TravelSentry emblem, which is a small red diamond logo. These locks are specifically approved by the TSA — if TSA agents need to inspect your luggage, they can use a master key to unlock it without having to cut the lock. If you use a regular lock and the TSA decides to inspect it, they’ll have to cut through it.
It’s worth noting that there are limitations to TravelSentry locks, however. The master key has been leaked in the past, meaning that a dedicated thief with a 3D printer can unlock TravelSentry locks. The keyword, of course, is dedicated. Any extra level of security, even if it’s not failsafe, can still act as an effective deterrent. As long as you know the limitations of a TSA-approved TravelSentry lock, they can be a worthwhile addition to your travel kit. Plus, most of them cost less than $20, so they’re an affordable way to buy a little extra peace of mind.
1. Masterlock TSA Accepted Luggage Lock
Masterlock is one of the most trusted lock brands, and this less-than-10-dollar lock is an affordable way to add a little extra security to your luggage. It has a three-digit combination, featuring three separate dials. Plus, you can set your own combination, so you’ll ensure it’s something you’ll remember, rather than a random code.
2. Pacsafe 750 TSA Accepted Key-Card Lock
Instead of a forgettable combination or an easy-to-lose key, this unique option from Pacsafe utilizes a credit-card-sized keycard. That way, you can tuck the card into your regular bifold or into your passport wallet. Two key-cards are included with the lock.
3. Eagle Creek 3 Dial TSA Lock & Cable
This lock from Eagle Creek features a three-digit combination and a traditional shackle. There are three separate dials for entering the code, making it easier to use than more traditional dial-style locker locks. In addition to the lock, a handy cable is included. It’s separate from the lock, so you can use it as needed.
4. Masterlock Numeric TSA-Accepted Luggage Lock
FOUR DIGIT CODE
This lock from Masterlock is similar to the other Masterlock offering, including a customizable combination. However, it has an extra level of security — you can set a four-digit combo, instead of a three-digit combo. The other detail that sets it apart is the shackle. It’s extra long and has a curved shape that somewhat resembles the letter R. This allows it to more easily clasp around an equipment case.
5. Pacsafe ProSafe 620 TSA Accepted Luggage Locks
If you have multiple pieces of luggage, or a larger piece with multiple entry points, you might want to invest in multiple locks. Fortunately, this set from Pacsafe makes it easy. Plus, three keys are included, so if you lose one, you’ll have extras handy. Keep one on your keychain and pack a spare in your carry-on, for example.
6. Forge TSA Approved Luggage Locks 2 Pack
EASY TO USE
If you’re looking for a two-pack option, this set from Forge includes two TSA-approved combination locks. The locks have a window on the side that makes it easy to see your combination, making for quick access when you need to unlock the locks.
7. Pacsafe TSA-Accepted 3-Dial Double Cable Lock
This cleverly designed option from Pacsafe features a cable-lock design and a three-digit combination, which can be customized. The detail that sets it apart is the double-sided cables, allowing you to attach multiple clasps that may be too large for a single shackle.
8. TSA Approved Luggage with Zinc Alloy Body
These tiny locks pack a lot of power. With hardened alloy shells and durable steel shackles, you can rest easy knowing your belongings are safe and secured. Plus, they come in a pack of four, making it easy to securely lock up all of your valuables.
9. TSA Approved Travel Combination Cable Luggage Lock
BEST CABLE LOCK
Available in classic black or orange, this travel lock features a three-dial combination lock and an extra durable steel cable for ease of use. 100% TSA-approved, this handy lock is great for carry-on luggage, bags, purses and more.
10. 4-Ft Cable Lumintrail Combination Travel
With a four-foot cable, this handy travel lock is great for larger items like rolling suitcases. Built with a durable coated steel construction and featuring a three-combination lock, you can choose from three vibrant color options.
11.Tarriss TSA Lock with SearchAlert
This durable lock features an easy-to-read three-dial zinc alloy combination lock with an extra sturdy flexible cable. Plus, a handy built-in indicator light lets you know when the TSA is opening your bag.
12. TSA Approved Luggage Locks, Fosmon
This handy four-pack features durable, portable locks with three-dial combinations and varying colors. Great for smaller bags and suitcases, this economical pack is a smart choice for the whole family.