Plastic film for suitcase at the airport: is it worth it?

Some passengers swear by this little extra before an international flight, but experts say they get ripped off.

To wrap or not to wrap? Now that’s the question

Through some serious trial and error — and over a few decades of travel — I’ve collected some hard-earned strategies for making a trip better. And although I’m generally of the ‘better safe than sorry’ school of thought, as I walk towards the check-in counter, I’m still amazed to see people lining up to have their suitcases wrapped in countless layers of plastic.

Not only are they paying $15 for the privilege, but what comes to mind most is a) the endless rolls of plastic that will clog landfills around the world for centuries to come, and b) the basic reality that if a sticky-fingered bag handler or the like wants to get into your stuff, all it will take is a nail file or the like. In fact, having your bag packed is like posting a sign on the side that says, “expensive goods worth stealing inside.” Even more so if you’re packing an expensive Louis Vuitton case.

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Turns out the experts agree with me.

“If someone really wants to rummage through your valuables, all they need is a little set of scissors or a nail file to get to them,” says Angus Kidman, travel expert at finder.com.au. “You can even use a set of house keys to break through the plastic.”

At best, the packaging can protect against minor scuffs and scratches, but I stress the minor.

Perhaps the biggest benefit to splash on packaging is to protect fabric cases in adverse weather conditions, such as snow or rain. If there’s a chance the bag will be left exposed on the tarmac, he’ll at least make sure it stays dry.

“I pack up to protect my stuff from the weather,” says Demi Kavaratzis, director of tours and transport at Expedia Australia. “If a bad storm is on the radar, your bag – and its contents – could get soaked. Not a pleasant start to a vacation!

While the value of packing is sketchy at best, if you really want to beef up the security of your suitcase, there are a few things you can do to ensure your precious cargo arrives safely at its destination, intact and unscathed.

“Put the cash in a smart lock like AirBolt instead,” advises Angus. “It does not require keys and allows you to track your luggage.”

That and high quality zip ties are probably much more of a deterrent.

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Bryce K. Locke