As a frequent traveler, I get asked the following questions A LOT:
- Do you use luggage straps?
- Are luggage belts useful?
- What’s the best way to use and secure luggage with straps?
That’s why I decided to make this post that answers everything that you need to know about suitcase bands.
I rarely check-in my bags, except for the longer trips. I always use suitcase ties to strap and secure my checked luggage, because once I received my hardside suitcase in a rather unpleasant state. All of the contents were spilled right on the luggage carousel. That happened because I overpacked the suitcase and the zipper broke from the pressure. Since then, I’ve learned that it’s better to be safe than sorry.
What are luggage straps for
You might be wondering why would you even need a luggage strap. Suitcases should be built in a way that you don’t actually need any more accessories for them. Well, most of the times they aren’t, so additional accessories, like luggage locks, suitcase covers, straps, or smart trackers make sense.
Aside from simply keeping the suitcase from bursting open, luggage straps have many applications.
- Colorful straps make your suitcase easier to spot. When I chose my belts, I purchased bright green ones. One might say that colorful straps don’t look too good. However, I think that in combination with my black checked suitcase, the overall look isn’t actually that bad. For one, it’s much easier to spot my bag on the luggage carousel between all the other black suitcases.
- Some straps are meant to secure two bags together. Don’t mistake these for regular travel straps though. These are built differently and made specifically for the sole purpose of securing two bags together. This way, you don’t have to pull two bags separately. It’s easier to pull a suitcase with one hand, instead of two, isn’t it?
- Some straps have built-in TSA combination locks for additional security. Although most of the cheaper suitcase straps are closed with a plastic push-button system, the more expensive ones come equipped with built-in TSA combination locks for added security. If the straps are secured tightly and spanned through the handles, they’re actually not that easy to remove. However, I don’t think that they offer too much security as the straps can be easily cut open. It just makes the job for the thieves slightly harder.
- The primary purpose of suitcase bands is to work as a safety measure in case of a broken zipper. Especially on hard-shell suitcases, the zippers can burst open. Straps will keep all of your contents from spilling out.
How to use and secure luggage straps
It turns out that some people are uncertain of how to use suitcase belts properly. So here’s the correct way on how to use and secure travel straps.
How to use X-shaped criss-cross luggage straps
- Start by wrapping the strap around the height of the suitcase, making sure to pull through all handles;
- Pull the Strap through the metal triangle, so that it forms a ninety-degree angle;
- Continue wrapping the strap around the width of the suitcase, making sure to pull through the side handle;
- Before finally clipping the straps together, make sure to adjust the length of the belt so that it’s a tight fit;
- Secure the push-lock system and check if your strap sits tight enough.
How to use regular luggage straps
- Start by placing your suitcase vertically on its wheels;
- Wrap the luggage strap around the width of your suitcase, making sure to wrap it through the side handle;
- If you don’t have a side handle, wrap the belt around the height of the bag, by pulling it through both top handles;
- Before locking the strap, adjust the length of the strap so that it’s a tight fit;
- Lock the belt, making sure that it’s a tight fit and that the strap is pulled through a handle.
How to use Travelon or Easy Bag bungee straps
- Clip the strap around the top handle of your suitcase;
- Retrace the retractable handle fully;
- Place your handbag on top of your suitcase. If the bag has a rear strap, make sure to wrap it around the retractable handle;
- Pull the bag around the retractable handle and adjust the tightness of the bungee, making sure that your handbag is secure.
Are luggage straps allowed and TSA approved
TSA hasn’t stated any policies that restrict suitcase belts. At least none that we could find of. Luggage straps are allowed to be used on checked and carry-on suitcases, as long as the straps can be taken off by the TSA agents. For instance, there are some straps available with combination locks. You should make sure that these locks are TSA approved, which means that the TSA agents can open it with a unique key.
When researching information about suitcase bands, I noticed that a lot of people are confused whether travel straps are allowed on checked suitcases or not. For instance, several travelers stated that sometimes Air France might ask you to remove the straps before checking the bag. Although this happens rarely, some airlines might not allow luggage straps. In that case, you should remove the straps and continue normally.
Note, that in rare cases your straps could be lost while checked in. This can happen due to the belt not being adequately secured and falling off while it’s being transported to the plane.
Sometimes, people leave some parts of the strap hanging, that can get caught up in the conveyor belts. In these cases, the baggage handlers will most likely cut the strap off and throw it away. That’s why you should make sure to secure all loose ends.
Are luggage straps worth it
In my opinion suitcase belts are pretty important and more critical than luggage locks. The simple reason being that they are actually useful in protecting the contents of your bag in case of a broken zipper. With luggage locks, you only make the job for thieves slightly harder, so they’re only partially effective.
Of course, if you’re traveling with a high-end suitcase, like Rimowa, travel straps might not make that much sense. Rimowa suitcases are exceptionally well made, so the chances of the zipper bursting open are slim. For the cheaper suitcases below 200$, I’d recommend getting luggage straps.
That, and also there are some additional benefits, like making your bag easier to spot on the luggage carousel, or having more security with an additional TSA lock. Also, some straps can be used to secure several bags together, which makes it easier to roll them around.
I’ve started using luggage belts only since my checked bag burst open. It was an unpleasant experience that could have been avoided with a cheap luggage strap. Lesson learned.
Where to buy luggage straps
You can find suitcase bands in almost any luggage store. Retail and online.
For instance, you can find travel straps in some of these retail stores:
- Best Buy;
Or in these online stores:
And to be frank, no place isn’t particularly the best, unless you’re looking for something specific.
One thing to note though is that usually, suitcase bands are more expensive in local stores than online, but the same goes with almost any item. Also, you can order some more-specific straps online, like the ones with personalized embroidery, TSA-approved locks, and some particular ones, like the Travelon Bungee strap.
If you have Amazon prime, I’d go with Amazon, as the shipping is really fast and often the price is the cheapest.
What are the best luggage straps
There are various types of luggage straps available. Each one is made with a slightly different purpose. Personally, I have the x-shaped straps in bright green, and they’re pretty good. They cost slightly less than 10$ and overall, I’m happy with the purchase.
However, some options are more superior and better-built than others. For instance, the TSA-approved straps offer more security, and x-shaped straps are less likely to fall off. I’ve written a short description of each kind and the main benefits that they provide.
These luggage belts are the most affordable ones and do the job just right.
They’re universal, meaning that they’ll fit most suitcases. To be precise, they’ll fit 20 – 32-inch luggage, which covers the whole spectrum. Another benefit is that these suitcase bands are colorful and bright, available in bright blue, venom green, bright orange, and pink colors. It’ll help you easily differentiate your suitcase among others.
The only thing that I don’t like is that they’re not made in an x-shape. To wrap them around the width and the height, you’ll need to get two straps. And because they’re not connected, the belt is likely to fall off. Especially, if your suitcase doesn’t have any side handles.
Also, some people have experienced minor quality issues with these straps. For instance, the plastic clips can break easily, or the fabric itself can start tearing.
I like these luggage straps better than the single-piece ones. They’re priced similarly, and the x-shaped design makes the straps less likely to slip off. I own these straps, and I’m satisfied with my purchase.
I have the bight green option. However, these straps are also available in black, bright blue, orange, pink, and yellow. Although they do come with a built-in luggage tag, I prefer to use the luggage tag that’s on the back of my suitcase.
Note, that these suitcase bands are only suitable for 20-28 inch suitcases. Some checked bags are larger than that, so I’d advise you first to measure your suitcase.
Although this luggage strap is slightly more expensive, it’s also better. The Elastraap luggage strap has a built-in TSA-approved combination lock for additional security. Although I don’t think that this strap provides too much protection, I still believe that the combination lock is useful. The regular straps are opened by squeezing both sides and can quickly open up while your bag is checked. With a combination lock, this shouldn’t be a problem.
This belt isn’t x-shaped, so you’ll have to wrap it through the side handle or the top handle, to secure it in place. It has a silicone back side that keeps it from slipping off, which is nice.
It’s meant to be used by wrapping it around the width of your suitcase, and it will fit most suitcases because the length of the strap can be adjusted between 45-85 inches.
The Travelon bungee straps differ from all other straps mentioned in this list. The difference lies in their purpose – They’re not made to protect against broken zippers. Instead, they’re great for securing smaller items on top a suitcase, for instance, a jacket and a handbag.
The idea is simple. Secure one end to the top handle of your suitcase, put your handbag on top and secure the other end around the retractable handle.
A handy item to have if you’re traveling often with many layovers.
If you’d rather have something special, you should check out these luggage belts.
For just a few dollars more you can get your name and surname engraved on the luggage strap. In total, you’re limited to 18 characters and spaces of your imagination.
The strap itself is pretty simple and can be adjusted to 35-64 inches in length. This length could be too short for 28 inch and larger suitcases. I’d advise measuring the total diameter in width before ordering this strap, just to make sure that it will fit.