If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ve probably heard about the TSA-lock and there’s also a great chance that you already have one. But others who’re not traveling as much or just a few times a year might not have heard about these padlocks that are TSA-approved.
It’s always a good idea to keep your luggage as safe as possible while traveling, both during transport and when you got to the hotel or guesthouse you’re staying at. In this article, I will talk more about what a TSA-padlock is and of course where and if you should buy one!
What is a TSA-lock?
A TSA-lock is essentially a type of padlock that is preapproved by the US “Transportation Security Administration” and safety personnel on airports worldwide. The difference between TSA-locks and a regular padlock is the fact that security staff at airports have a specific key that can open the TSA-approved locks.
Who needs a TSA-padlock?
Checked baggage with a standard padlock must be opened up by force when the security staff decides to take a closer look at your baggage. With a TSA lock, you do not have this problem since this padlock is a special one, approved by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Security staff at the majority of all airports around the world have a unique security key that can open all TSA-approved padlocks.
With this, you avoid the hassle of having to buy a new padlock when your baggage has been inspected by security personnel.
The padlock is a combination lock, where you can select the security combination to open the lock. This TSA padlock weighs 63 grams and the dimensions are 6.5 x 3 cm.
Extra important for those traveling to the US
If you’re traveling to the United States and use a regular padlock, you’re breaching the rules. You see, the only locks that are approved for trips to or from the US are the TSA-approved locks. Of course, you can leave your luggage unlocked, but then you will also risk that anyone can open your luggage.
Can’t I just use a regular padlock?
Of course, the only difference is the fact that the TSA-approved locks can be opened without force by the security staff at airports. Unless you travel to the US, there are no restrictions that I know of from other countries. But, if and when someone wants to perform a security check on your luggage, they must open it by force if you use a regular padlock.
That’s why it’s just better and more convenient to get a TSA-padlock right away and avoid costs of buying a new padlock in the future.
Are there different TSA-approved locks available?
Yes, there are many to choose from, and the difference is usually just in size, material and price. I prefer smaller padlocks in metal, but there are also cheaper and bigger variants of TSA-approved padlocks in hard plastics.
Suitcases with built-in combination locks
Samsonite and other well-known suitcase brands have started to implement built-in padlocks on the suitcase, which is also approved by the Transportation Security Administration. This is very convenient for those who travel a lot, but if you prefer cheaper suitcases, you can just buy a budget version and a separate TSA-lock.
Where to buy a TSA-padlock?
These padlocks are popular, so you can buy these at most shops selling travel-related items. But to make it easier for you, I will just share a link to the same TSA-padlock that I’m using while traveling.
Depending on manufacturer and model version there might be small differences in terms of instruction. But if there are any problems, you can just look into the manual.
What to do if you forget the code?
Not every TSA-lock will use a number combination, and there are simple locks with a key that are approved as well.
But if you do forget the code, there is actually not that much you can do since most of them have an inbuilt security system. You can normally just reset the code when it’s unlocked. So, the alternatives will be to try every combination possible.
Or if you don’t have the patience, you can just open it by force as you could with a regular padlock that you’ve forgotten the key to.