Luggage straps — Why should you use one?

If you have ever wondered what are luggage straps used for? — this is for you.

Luggage straps are low-cost travel accessories that can help take some stress out of your packing. They also keep the contents of your bag inside when the locks fail!

Often known as luggage belts, or luggage straps, these straps were originally intended for two reasons:

  1. To wrap around your luggage incase the zips broke
  2. To make your luggage easily identifiable on the baggage carousel

Like everything, luggage straps have been given a smart upgrade in recent years. No longer just about providing some identifying colour some luggage straps are now multipurpose tools, helping to keep your luggage safe and even weighing it.

Here’s an overview:

  • What’s the purpose of luggage straps?
  • How to use a luggage strap?
  • Our favourite — 3 in 1 luggage straps
luggage straps with tsa lock on aluminium case

Why should you use a luggage strap?

luggage straps for weak zips

1 — Securing your overpacked case closed!

Unfortunately, the weakest part of any suitcase is the zipper.

I’m always getting a new suitcase, and promising not to overpack it, then within a few weeks I find myself back to my old habits.

This time will be different, ill take care of the new case and won’t overpack”

Tom — thrillofthecase!

It starts well-intentioned — neatly packing stuff in — then it escalates. Before you know it, you’re jumping on the case and doing that half sitting on the zip half trying to zip it closed thing!

9/10 times this works, and by buying a good quality suitcase, you minimise your risk to it breaking. However, having worked in an airport luggage shop, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen people coming in desperate to purchase new luggage or wrap their battered old luggage as their jam-packed case has broken.

Believe it or not, this is the best-case scenario. As outlined by a baggage handler responding to why you should use luggage straps on reddit:

Ex baggage handler here… a $5 bag strap will save you a lot of frustration and embarrassment with keeping your items in your bag when your zips fail on the carousel.

The worst-case scenario is when your suitcase zip breaks as the baggage handlers throw it into the aircraft hold, or as it’s getting dumped onto the baggage carousel. All of your personal belongings, strewn everywhere. In public.

2 — Identifying your case

There’re several ways to make your case more unique, and help easily identify it on the baggage carousel.

  1. Coloured tape
  2. Streamers and ribbons
  3. Oversize luggage tags
  4. Choosing that unique suitcase colour!
rimowa luggage belt on aluminium rimowa luggage

However, if you’re into your smart luggage or are a frequent traveller like me, you’ll be trying to optimise things.

A lot of these colourful adds ons don’t bring any benefits beside from the ease of identification, and in some cases they aren’t recommended.

Those loosely tied coloured ribbons or oversized luggage tags can end up doing more harm than good, as they frequently get caught in the maze of baggage belts and automated machines that go into modern airport baggage systems.

Many times the ribbons on the top of cases can cause a jam in the bag belt. DO NOT put any large identifying items that hang off the bag. This will do more harm than good.

Buying a brightly coloured luggage strap helps you identify your bag and keeps your stuff safe.

Smart luggage strap features

As mentioned, there is now a world of options for luggage straps with combination locks, TSA codes and even inbuilt scales. Here’s how a variety of luggage straps and their features can make your travelling easier:

01. Hooking multiple bags together

Samsonite’s Add-a-bag straps are great for this, and can make lugging multiple bags through an airport much easier.

Also check out J-hooks if you need the ability to hook and unhook bags with slightly more ease than the samsonite option.

02. Locking luggage straps with TSA locks

If you’re strapping your bag together to keep your belongings safe, why not add a bit of extra security and use a luggage strap with a combination lock?

If you are buying luggage straps with locks we would recommend getting one with a TSA lock, so that you can use it globally.

This samsonite strap combines bright colours and TSA-approved security.

samsonite luggage strap with tsa lock

03. Luggage straps with built-in scales

3 in 1 luggage strap

Probably my favourite upgrade in recent years, these luggage straps with scales can be used to upgrade your non-smart luggage — if it doesn’t come with inbuilt scales or a TSA compliant lock — and give you the ability to weigh your bags at home or on the go.

It’s a great feature, and as the CAA point out — if you get caught out and your bag weighs over the limit, you can rack up some pretty huge bills.

If you think you might exceed the allowance, weigh and measure your cases before leaving home. You might prefer to pack fewer things than pay extra for your cases. Excess baggage is often charged per kilo, so the cost can soon mount up, and it will cost you more to pay the charge at the airport rather than paying to take an extra bag when you book your flight.

Excess Baggage — CAA

The best smart luggage strap — 3 in 1

Arguably the best luggage strap you can buy — and something that I have travelled with for years — the 3 in 1 luggage strap.

Samsonite used to do a great version that looks similar to this one from Originbest, but by far the highest quality is from luggagemate.

Their 3 in 1 luggage strap was nominated for a host of design awards, and have been endorsed and branded by major names from the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore to Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic airlines.

They tick all the boxes:

  • Brightly coloured
  • sturdy and strong
  • TSA approved locks
  • Inbuilt scales
luggagemate 3 in 1 luggage strap

If you want to maximise your travel set up, you a 3 in 1 strap is a great way of packing features into one small add-on.