Rimowa Theft Prevention: 41 Essential Tips for Safe Travels

Traveling can be both exciting and stressful, depending on your likes and specific situations. However, certain conditions can make your traveling experience even more stressful.

One particular problematic situation is luggage theft or misplacement. Interestingly, most travelers are completely unaware of the dangers their luggage encounters once they hand it over to the airline. 

The dangers luggage is exposed to can take many forms, and certain brands like Rimowa tend to attract thieves due to their prestige.

Luggage theft is a serious problem and is not unique to one country alone. It is rampant; hence, you must be vigilant because your luggage can be stolen. 

As common as luggage theft is, stealing valuable items from suitcases is far more common and can lead to delays, missed appointments, and other confusing and disappointing situations. 

We have written this piece to help keep your Rimowa suitcases safe during travels. Here, we will discuss essential tips for safe travels, highlighting where your Rimowa luggage is most at risk and more.

Let’s dig in!

Do Rimowa suitcases get stolen?

As previously mentioned, luggage theft is a prevalent issue, and no luggage is immune to this problem.

According to the Department of Transportation data, the number of delayed or lost bags increased to six out of 1,000 bags in February, up from five out of 1,000 at the same time last year (2021), indicating that as more people travel, baggage theft increases.

Also, in 2018, a notable incident was reported by the Bangkok Post news involving the theft of three Rimowa bags. 

These bags were eventually seized by the Suvarnabhumi airport police, including one that belonged to an American tourist named Elsie Mullers, who had filed a complaint with the airport police.

This begs the question: What could cause someone to steal a Rimowa suitcase? 

There could be several reasons behind such actions. Some individuals target Rimowa luggage bags because they believe they can easily resell them due to the brand’s prestige. 

Alternatively, they might be searching for a specific type of bag that Rimowa produces, which is not readily available elsewhere.

Regardless of the motives, it’s crucial to remain vigilant, especially if traveling with a Rimowa bag. 

Thieves seem to have a particular interest in these bags at airports. Therefore, keeping a close watch on your luggage at all times is advisable.

Where is my Rimowa luggage most at risk?

Once you have checked in your Rimowa luggage, its journey has several points where it can be accessed and riffled through. There are also situations where a thief can walk away with your backpack.

The three most prevalent spots where your Rimowa luggage is most at risk are: 

Back of House

The airport “back of house” is the space between the baggage drop-off point and the baggage make-up area, where the luggage is loaded into containers or onto tub carts. 

Although this area may have closed-circuit surveillance cameras, they are often not actively monitored. 

The back of the house is a complex network of luggage belts and machinery, making it easy for thieves to find a secluded spot to open a bag and steal its contents.

Belly of the airplane

Once your Rimowa bag is placed inside the airplane’s cargo hold, it becomes vulnerable. The loader (individual responsible for loading bags into the aircraft) typically has unsupervised access to all the bags on the flight. 

Your luggage is especially at risk if it’s not in a preloaded container and is loose in the cargo hold. 

On flights without containerized loading, there is usually only one loader, allowing them the time to quickly inspect and potentially pilfer bags that are easy to open.

The luggage carousel

The luggage carousel is the area where you wait to retrieve your bags upon arrival. This location can be chaotic, crowded, and confusing, which creates opportunities for thieves. 

They can take advantage of the distractions in this area and pick up the first available bag they see, making a swift exit.

Who are the individuals behind this luggage theft?

The back-of-house area in an airport is naturally a highly secure location due to its critical role in ensuring passenger safety and efficient operations. 

However, despite this level of security, it’s pretty astonishing that many luggage theft incidents involve individuals who are, in fact, airport employees, such as bag handlers or a member of the TSA security screening team.

Frequently, these perpetrators work in organized groups to enhance their effectiveness. 

Additionally, there are instances where luggage theft is carried out by other passengers pilfering items from fellow travelers’ carry-on baggage while on board the airplane. 

Is there a risk of theft by TSA personnel?

Typically, you should not worry as your luggage travels through TSA personnel at the airport. 

However, regrettably, within any organization, individuals can engage in dishonest activities, including the personnel working for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

It’s crucial to recognize that luggage theft is not a problem unique to the TSA; it is a global issue that occurs regularly. These thefts often occur opportunistically, such as when items are left behind at the pre-board screening checkpoint. 

Thieves know travelers carry valuable items through this checkpoint to safeguard against theft from their checked luggage. 

To minimize the risk, it is essential to follow a simple rule: 

  • Never leave your belongings unattended at the pre-board screening checkpoint. Moreover, it is advisable to refrain from leaving anything of value behind, as items like laptops, cell phones, and wallets can be tempting targets for TSA agents and potential thieves. 

41 tips for Rimowa theft prevention

So far, we have been able to establish that luggage theft is a common problem worldwide. 

Now, let’s go into the details of safeguarding your Rimowa luggage with these 41 tips.

1. Place an AirTag inside the inner linen

AirTag is an Apple product that provides an easy way to keep track of your stuff, including wallet, pet keys, and luggage. Simply attach the AirTag tracker inside the inner lining of your Rimowa suitcase, and then view its location at all times in the Find My app on your iPhone.

The AirTag tracker also includes capabilities like playing a sound through the built-in speaker and telling you how far you are from your AirTag Precision Finding. 

If you don’t own an iPhone, you can find numerous AirTag alternatives for Android and Samsung handsets on Amazon.

2. Opt for a less recognizable Rimowa model

Luxury suitcases, including high-end Rimowa models, can stand out and attract the attention of potential thieves. 

These bags may be perceived as holding valuable items due to their upscale appearance, making them more enticing targets.

To prevent unwanted attention from fancy luggage grabbers, go for less recognizable Rimowa models. For example, Rimowa models in gray or black colors.

When your luggage appears less conspicuous and extravagant, it’s less likely to draw unwanted attention.

3. Buy a luggage cover

Image Source: Gracefuldegrade.com

Using luggage covers is an excellent way to keep your bags together and free from scratches and scuffs during travels. 

Beyond that, they can be beneficial with regards to the fact that they can also deter casual thieves from accessing the contents of your luggage.

Although luggage covers are not foolproof, as they can be sliced and removed, they provide extra protection for your luggage.

You may like to read: Rimowa Luggage Covers: All Models Reviewed.

4. Keep luggage closed at all times

Locking your check-in luggage is a prudent step to enhance the security of your belongings during travel. 

Thankfully, Rimowa suitcases come with TSA-approved locks that only TSA agents can access for security checks without damaging your luggage since they have a master key.

The lock ensures that your belongings remain secure while allowing for necessary inspections if required. 

This TSA design is part of Rimowa’s commitment to providing peace of mind for its users during their travels.

5. Make your luggage highly recognizable with bright stickers

Image Source: Rimowa 

On the flip side of tip number 2, you can enhance the security and quick identification of your Rimowa luggage by placing colorful stickers or tying a brightly colored ribbon onto your bag’s handle. 

This simple addition makes your bag easier to identify and acts as a visual deterrent against theft. Baggage thieves don’t want attention, so they primarily focus on bags that blend in, like plain colors (black or gray).

Beyond adding stickers, other ways to make your bag highly recognizable include:

  • Using a marker to write something on it in a bright color
  • Placing a Smart Luggage ID Tag on your luggage so that your bag can be returned to you if someone with a good mind finds it. This service has a high return rate of over 80% returns within 24 hours. This high rate may be due to the award the person who returned the bag receives.
  • Hang something on the handle or another part of the suitcase, like a plush toy or a Rimowa luggage tag.

6. Configure a geofence using AirTag or similar technology

Configuring a Geofence using AirTag can help you find your bag. Configuring entails turning on the left behind toggle in the Find My App of Apple’s AirTag or similar technology. 

Whenever it is turned on, you will get an alert if you get separated from your AirTag attached to your luggage. If you do not turn the toggle on, you won’t get alerts when you are separated from your luggage. 

So during travels, configure geofencing and toggle on the left behind feature for proxy monitoring

7. Exercise caution and vigilance during travel

During travels, it is essential to stay vigilant until you get to your destination. This is crucial to discourage theft; if a stranger offers to assist you with your bags, respectfully say no. 

Also, do not leave your luggage unattended at airports or train stations. These locations can be attractive to thieves who take advantage of the bustling environment. 

Leaving your bags unattended makes it easy for them to blend in and seize an opportunity.

8. Place a copy of your boarding pass inside your checked luggage

Including a copy of your boarding pass inside your Rimowa luggage is a smart precautionary measure. In the event that your expensive luggage is misplaced or ends up at the wrong destination, having a copy of your boarding pass inside can expedite locating and returning your bag to you.

It not only aids airline staff but also allows any well-intentioned individual who finds your lost bag to help facilitate its return to you.

This simple step can significantly streamline lost luggage recovery, ensuring it reaches its rightful owner promptly and efficiently.

9. Never pack valuable items in checked luggage

Since luggage theft and mishandling are on the rise, it’s advisable to always carry important items like your phone, laptop, headphones, and other valuables on your person. This way, you maintain direct control over them and reduce the chance of theft.

Alternatively, store your valuables in your carry-on bag. Keeping them in your carry-on allows you to maintain visual contact with your bag at the airport, enhancing security.

10. Carry your bag on-board

Keeping your luggage close to you at all times will definitely minimize its exposure to theft and damage, but then you need to protect it from other passengers. 

As daring as it sounds, some thieves are bold enough to stand up during a flight and search through someone else’s bag and steal valuables from it.

Also, deciding to carry your bag on board will force you to pack light,  speed up your trip, and save you the cost of checked luggage, which, depending on the airline, can be between $25 to $30 per bag! 

Keeping most or all of your luggage with you at all times is the number one way to avoid having it become lost or stolen.

11. Go directly to baggage claim

Don’t stop to get a drink or food when you get off the plane. Proceed straight to baggage claim to receive your checked luggage. Arrive before the baggage is loaded onto the conveyor belt so you can spot your suitcase as it is dropped.

Going directly to the baggage claim area immediately after you land reduces the risk of your luggage being stolen, as some airports still allow outsiders access to the luggage carousel, and bags get stolen occasionally.

12. Check the baggage claim area

When you come to claim your bag and don’t spot it on the baggage claim carousel, look around the baggage claim area for any designated locations where airlines may have placed removed bags.

Some airlines do this, especially if there have been delays or extended waiting times on the tarmac. Your Rimowa bag may not have been stolen and could be in a nearby area waiting to be picked up by you.

However, It is important you claim your bag as quickly as you land because unclaimed bags that remain on the belt make an attractive target for thieves.

13. Can’t find your bag? Don’t panic, report it immediately

Losing your bag can be a stressful situation, but it’s essential to stay calm. Instead of panicking, approach the airline’s customer service agents or a designated lost and found area at the airport. 

Report the missing bag immediately. In most cases, they can help track down your luggage or provide guidance on the next steps.

If your bag remains unaccounted for, consider filing a formal claim with the airline and TSA. 

They will assist you in the process. But be prepared to provide detailed information about your bag, including its description, contents, and any receipts for valuable items.

14. Take a photo of what’s in your checked luggage

An excellent strategy for keeping your luggage and, more specifically, the items in your luggage safe is to take pictures of the contents in your checked baggage before you pack them as a proactive step that can be immensely beneficial in case you encounter issues while traveling.

In addition, taking pictures of your luggage can help staff identify your luggage easier. 

Most airlines offer compensation to passengers who accidentally lose their luggage up to a specified sum if they cause the loss of the passenger luggage. 

Check with your airline about any limitations on prohibited items.

15. Reduce the number luggage you are traveling with

Reducing the amount of goods you carry increases your chances of keeping everything together. The more luggage you bring, the more likely a mistake may occur.

When traveling, you might want to travel with Rimowa carry-on and backpack instead of those heavier 7-piece-suitcase sets.

16. Never leave your luggage with people you do not know

It may be tempting to want to trust some persons at face value, but do not be fooled. There have been numerous reported incidences of passengers leaving their luggage with someone dressed as a nun only to return a few seconds later to find that everything had been stolen.

17. Book a non-stop flight

Book a flight that goes directly from your departure airport to your destination without making any intermediate stops or layovers.

The likelihood of lost luggage increases during busy flight periods. And this is even more common when traveling internationally. 

If you cannot book a non-stop flight, make sure you leave ample layover time between connecting flights.  

In the event of a delayed flight, the window for transferring your luggage from one flight to another becomes narrower, increasing the potential for luggage mishaps. 

18. Don’t travel with anything you can’t replace

Beyond losing your Rimowa luggage, remember thieves might be more interested in your bag’s items. Hence, it might be best to leave anything of value back at home.

It is better to do without them for a few hours or days than to lose them forever. 

Go through your list of items and analyze their importance for your trip. If you genuinely don’t need any piece of article on your trip, leave it! 

19. Keep an eye on your luggage even in-flight

According to freelance travel writer and specialist Ramsey Qubein, “There are an increasing number of reports of people having things stolen from their bags on long-haul flights where people can rummage around in overhead bins when the lights are dimmed, and others are sleeping.”

With that piece of update, it is a good idea to keep your carry-on bag close to you in plain sight.

20. Store your luggage (smartly)

If it does happen that you will have a long layover and want to explore the city, there are secure places to store your luggage so you don’t have to tote it around. 

Services like Luggage Hero can let you know where you can safely store your luggage in cities for a small fee, usually between a dollar or two per hour.

21. Arrive early and board the plane early

While planning a trip, prepare to arrive early and board the plane early. 

Arriving early gives ample time for security checks. Boarding the plane early also guarantees overhead space for your travel bags. Hence, you can keep your bags close to you.

22. Entrust it to a shipping or storage service 

Consider shipping your valuables to your travel location in advance using a short-term storage service if you want to avoid carrying them with you or want to avoid dealing with the trouble of moving and checking bags.

Although this is a more pricey option, it saves your suitcase the indignities of air travel and the peace of mind that your luggage and items are safe from theft.

23. Look into excess valuation

An uncommon strategy for safe traveling is to purchase excess valuation from the airline you want to use. This is a great tip because airlines are accountable, but only to a degree if something happens to your bag. 

For instance, in the United States, airlines are responsible for paying up to $3,500 in damages for lost or damaged luggage, covering the luggage’s cost and all its contents. 

The restrictions are significantly more strict when traveling internationally: It is restricted to around $1,600 per checked item as per an aviation treaty.

But what if your luggage and its content is worth more?

This is where purchasing an excess valuation is critical.

Although it isn’t insurance, it allows you to tailor the coverage to match the perceived value of your baggage. Also, your homeowner insurance may cover some of your losses, so check your policy.

Related reading: What If My Rimowa Breaks Down? How Does the Rimowa warranty work?

24. Check in your valuables with a firearm

Checking in valuables with a firearm can be a strategic choice for added security during air travel. Because airport security tends to give more attention and track all luggage that contains declared firearms, this category of bags is much less likely to be lost or tampered with. 

Furthermore, this category of bags is given special rules. For instance, they must be placed in a locked hard-sided container, and only the passenger retains the key or combination unless the TSA agent requests access. 

This means you are likely to be informed and present during any inspections or openings of the container. 

However, there have been cases of TSA agents allegedly breaking this rule by inspecting closed doors after the owner had opened the suitcase. Still, it makes theft of your luggage and its items much more difficult.

The drawback of this tip is that it might be more trouble than simply checking your bags, so you’ll need to prepare ahead of time and get to the airport early. 

Flying to places where guns are prohibited might also provide legal challenges, so exercise caution and research local regulations before your trip.

Read also: Your Rimowa damaged or stolen. Now what?!

25. Watch out for scammers

Airport scammers look for victims carrying valuable Laptop bags and carry-on bags. For instance, they frequently stand in front of the unaware traveler at a metal detector while working in pairs and wait till their target places the laptop on the conveyor belt. 

The first con artist effortlessly passes through the metal detector. The second person purposefully activates the detector and starts a very slow process of removing jewelry and emptying pockets. 

While this happens, the first hustler takes up the laptop as soon as it emerges on the conveyor belt, walks away quickly, and disappears amid the crowd.

26. Purchase baggage insurance

The maximum baggage insurance in the United States ranges from $250 to $3,000. It is pricey, but on the flip side, it is cheaper than baggage theft.

Furthermore, Insurance can be helpful when your luggage is delayed because most plans allow travelers to purchase replacement clothes and toiletries up to a certain amount.

27. Do not pack any suspicious-looking items

Generally, you do not want to give anybody any excuse to open your bag. So this tip kind of flips tip number 24. 

With that said, during your trips, you may want to avoid traveling with dense items that airport X-rays can’t scan because this gives airport security the right to open your bag, which may compromise your lock.

Items that may raise suspicion include:

  • Stacks of books, magazines, or paper. 
  • Heavy and dense metal objects.
  • Various types/large quantities of food, including canned food, chocolate, coffee, jars with food, baking mixes, and powders.
  • Electronics appliances, especially those with many or long cables.
  • Tools.
  • Large packs of soaps.

28. Keep your bag neat and organized

Image Source: “Suitcase and Set of Travel Organizers with Belongings on Floor” by Pixelshot 

Keep the items in your luggage organized. If your bag is well-organized, you lower the chances of something happening to your luggage.

In addition, certain practices and products can even serve as a good deterrent for thieves. For example, if you are traveling with a Rimowa checked bag, in addition to its flex divider, you can use packing cubes to keep your items organized. 

This organization helps discourage people from quickly stealing your stuff if they try to cut your bag open.

29. Use a luggage mesh protector

Image Source: Amazon

A luggage mesh protector is an excellent travel accessory. The mesh makes getting into your bag or stealing it a little more complex.

A mesh protector can also be used for anchoring your travel bag to something sturdy, such as the luggage rack on buses or trains. 

As helpful as this accessory is, the interesting thing is that only a few people know about it. This may be your first time, too.

You may also like: Will Rimowa Fit in the Train? Assessing Rimowa’s Compatibility on Trains

30. Make use of a luggage harness

Similar to the luggage mesh protector, a luggage harness is a fantastic solution for keeping your luggage locked and making it unique and easy to spot. Consider buying and using it during your trips.

31. Add a large, easy-to-spot nameplate 

Another interesting tip is adding a large, easy-to-spot nameplate to lower the chances of somebody grabbing your luggage at the baggage claim conveyor by mistake.

32. Double-check to see the routing information placed on your bag handle to verify its accuracy

To ensure accurate routing of your suitcase, you can politely ask the flight attendant handling your luggage if you can examine the routing information placed on the handle before they send your bag down the conveyor belt. 

This verification is particularly crucial if you have a connecting flight. Occasionally, bags may not be routed directly to your endpoint, and it could be your responsibility to pick up your bag during a layover and re-check it. Seeing the label helps you confirm the routing details.

So, double-check to avoid any risk of loss.

33. Make yourself known

Enhancing the identification of your luggage is a prudent practice when traveling. The idea in this tip is to place identity cards in different places in your bags.

By placing Identity cards in various pockets and pouches, including the paper tags provided by the airline carrier, you can significantly improve the chance of your luggage being returned to you in a situation where you got separated from it. 

Ensure you include your name, address, and mobile phone number in these cards.

34. Share your plans

Although it is not a common practice to share one’s travel plan, you might want to share your travel plans.

This act can help airline staff route your suitcase if they locate it and can’t reach you, so place a copy of your itinerary in a relatively easy location.

35. Stick to the traditional checking method

Sticking to the conventional method at the main counter is wise. By directly interacting with the airline personnel, you can ensure that your luggage is tagged correctly, reducing the odds of a mix-up.

36. Place your bag upside down

When stowing your carry-on bag in the overhead compartment, ensure your luggage is positioned so the pockets and zippers face inward when you place it in the overhead bin. 

This arrangement makes it more challenging for unauthorized access, as any attempts to open your bag would be more noticeable to you or other passengers.

Alternatively, if you decide to place the bag under the seat, make sure the pockets are facing you. 

This arrangement prevents the person before you from reaching down and accessing your bag without your knowledge. When pockets are visible, you can easily monitor anyone trying to tamper with them.

You may also like: Does Rimowa Cabin fit in the Overhead Compartment? A story of Rejection, Acceptance, and Fitting in.

37. Travel with safer airlines

Some airlines are safer to travel with than others. The reason is that they have taken a step further to ensure that the luggage of their travelers is safe.

For example, airlines like US airline Delta now use a tiny RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tag in the familiar barcoded label that is tied to your bag handle so machines can scan each bag automatically as it moves through the airport system.

Stray bags can be found more easily via a central monitoring system. Airlines like Delta assert that 99.9% of their customer’s luggage is handled “perfectly.” 

Note that Delta is not the only airline incorporating RFID tags for baggage handlers.

38. Speak up if you see something

If you notice someone who shouldn’t be handling your luggage, do not be quiet. Say something immediately. This will stop the act and alert the flight attendant or security guard if an item is missing after the observation.

39. Pick proof seals

Image Source: Amazon

These locks are TSA-approved, meaning they are compliant with airport security regulations. Unlike other locks, these pickproof seals cannot be opened with a master lock.

With other locks, an agent or someone with a duplicate of the “Master Key” may open them, tamper with your belongings, and then lock them again without your knowledge. 

But these locks, once opened, cannot be reattached. Therefore, you will surely know if your luggage has been tampered with.

The pick-proof seal’s unique identification features are also helpful in ways beyond keeping your bags and items safe because, without them, someone could place illicit stuff into your bag without you noticing until it’s too late.

40. Choose high-quality luggage built explicitly with safety in mind

Beyond keeping your luggage safe from theft, you must also watch out for those interested in the item your bag carries. 

Investing in good-quality secure luggage like Rimowa is the first defense against such theft because they are designed to be sturdier and have anti-theft features or accessories to keep your bags safe that cheaper options lack.

41. Lay on top of your checked luggage a jacket emblazoned with the crest of a government agency

Image Source: Amazon

This tip is really unconventional, but it works. As we have established, many thefts are executed by airline personnel. If they think you’re a regular citizen and they assume you have some critical items in your luggage, some dishonest workers may decide to steal them.

But if you make them assume you to be some high-ranking government official who has the power to get them dismissed or imprisoned?

It might shock you to know that it is possible. Just lay the jacket with the crest from the US Attorney’s Office/Department of Justice/FBI/Department of Homeland Security on your checked bag. 

But note that this is only legal as long you do not wear the costume.

You can find such wear on Amazon.

Takeaway: Utilize these 41 expert tips for safe travels

Keeping your luggage safe can be daunting. For those with fashionable luxury luggage like Rimowa, it can be worrisome. This is due to its tendency to attract luggage thieves solely targeting high-end brand luggage. 

They do so with the mindset that they might contain expensive items, in addition to the fact that they offer a higher resale value than other brands.

Whether you love traveling or do it because you have to, this piece has highlighted 41 essential tips that will help keep your Rimowa luggage safe during travels.

Remember that these thefts are not limited to the random person walking into the airport and out with another person’s suitcase. Some of these thefts are sometimes executed by personnel you should generally trust (airline staff), such as bag handlers and TSA agents 

Thankfully, valuable tips such as the ones we have listed in this article can help deter them from targeting your luggage.

You may also like: How Using a Quality Suitcase (Rimowa) is the First Step to Responsible Travel.