Basic padlocks and combination locks aren't a bad way of keeping undesirables out of your luggage, but as with everything else in the world, technology is bringing new security options to travelers. From fingerprint scanners to global lost luggage tracking and more, here are four high-tech security options to consider for your next vacation.
Dog and Bone LockSmart Travel Bluetooth Lock
Rather than fumbling around with tiny luggage keys (or, more likely, losing them at a critical moment), the Dog and Bone LockSmart Travel lock uses a Bluetooth connection to secure your luggage.
It's a smart idea, since any recent smartphone has Bluetooth support, and the technology isn't especially hard on battery life. You simply pair the lock with your phone or tablet and use the company's app to manage it. The app can deal with multiple locks and offers a variety of ways to unlock – entering a passcode, using TouchID on Apple devices, tapping an icon and more.
You can even grant and revoke access to other app users if that's something you think you'll have a use for. All activity is logged and available in the app, so you can see at a glance when the lock was opened and closed, and who did it.
It's also TSA-approved, so hopefully, the lock won't get smashed open by an over-zealous security official. The LockSmart Travel lock was announced at CES 2016, so keep an eye out for retail availability.
eGeeTouch Smart Travel Padlock
After a successful crowdfunding campaign, the eGeeTouch Smart Travel Padlock is now available for pre-order. The lock uses Near-Field Communication (NFC) as its primary method of authenticating and unlocking, along with a compatible device and app. Users just swipe the eGeeTouch sticker/key fob that comes in the package, or their own phone or tablet, on top of the lock.
Not every device supports NFC – most notably, iOS devices don't let anyone except Apple access the NFC chip – so there's also a secondary Bluetooth option as well. Batteries in the lock last up to three years, but if you forget to change them even after being reminded by the app, you can use a portable USB battery for an emergency charge to unlock your bag. The eGeeTouch is TSA-compliant. You can pre-order via the IndieGoGo page for $35 plus shipping.
Space Case 1 Suitcase
The Space Case 1 has all manner of high-end features, ranging from being able to charge your devices through to bringing the party to your hotel room with an inbuilt set of speakers, and it also includes some fancy security technology.
Rather than using Bluetooth, NFC or keys, the Space Case lets you unlock it using merely your fingerprint. Swipe a pre-enrolled finger over the sensor on the case, or use the fingerprint scanner on your phone to unlock via the app, and away you go.
If the battery runs out in the case, there's a four-dial combination lock to open things up in an emergency. Like the other locks listed here, it's also TSA-approved.
Preventing people from breaking into your luggage is one thing, but security doesn't end there. What happens when your suitcase isn't waiting for you at baggage reclaim, and not even the airline knows where it is?
A few companies have stepped up to help in this situation, one of which is Lugloc. Utilizing a small device about the size of a computer mouse, any bag can be tracked via standard GSM cellular technology, in almost any country in the world, using a smartphone app.
Because it doesn't rely on traditional GPS satellites, the Lugloc will work indoors, even when buried inside a suitcase. It turns itself off when it detects its in flight, and back on again when the aircraft has come to a complete stop.
There's also a Bluetooth proximity sensor, so you'll be alerted when your bag is nearby (on the baggage belt, for example, or in a big pile of luggage on the floor). The Lugloc and uses a rechargeable battery that lasts fifteen days. There's no subscription fee; instead, you pay for each "trace" you initiate.