Locked luggage?

Jun 22nd, 2005, 09:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 379
Locked luggage?

Just wondering if anyone is locking luggage anymore. We'll be leaving on June 27 for Tanzania and Kenia on Virgin Atlantic to London and on Kenya Airways to Kilimanjaro via Nairobi. Anyone had any trouble on this route with either locked or unlocked luggage? Also, what about security in lodges? We will be staying at Kirurumu Tented Lodge, and Serengeti and Ngorongoro Sopa Lodges in Tanzania, and in Kenya we'll be at Serena Mountain Lodge, Lake Nakuru Lodge, and Siana Springs Intrepids Tented Safari Camp. Are there any safe keeping provisions for passports, cash, etc., at these lodges?
Also, if anyone has any feedback on these lodges, it would be appreciated. Many thanks to all you Fodorites who have contributed to the boards. We've been living the African experience vicariously through your reports for many months now, and finally--it's hard to believe--our own much longed for African adventure lies just ahead. We're so excited.
Bo2642 is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 11:04 AM
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We flew KLM out of JFK and only used cable ties to hold the zippers together. Even had another bag with "stuff" on return... this was a nylon bag that didn't have two zippers, so with punched a hole in the corner and threaded a cable tie thru this and the zipper - no problem. None of our bags were opened on the outbound or return flights.

Can't verify which camps/lodges have safe deposit boxes, but I always had my passport and money on me. Never left it in the room/tent. But my bags were always open and nothing was ever touched. My travel partner did at times leave passport and money behind when we went out, locked in her suitcase. No problem for her.

Just have extra locks with you if you leave items in your luggage in the room/tent - as a precaution and some peace of mind.

Happy travels.
Jun 22nd, 2005, 11:16 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 55
How about the TSA compliant locks? I bought two. They show whether or not they have been accessed by turning a different color on the bottom of the lock. Supposedly TSA can access them through a universal key - but the 24 million ? is - what about African security - will they just bust the lock off? If anyone has further opinion - I would like hear it.
Canechick is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 11:24 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,846
We locked our suitcases both directions. At LAX we were able to wait while our luggage was screened (in case they needed to open and inspect them) but I think not all airports are set up this way. On our way home, TSA had broken the locks (keyed locks, not TSA locks) on one of our suitcases to inspect it before we retrieved them to go through customs. Next trip we'll probably just travel with duffle bags as we have to take at least 1 flight between Nairobi and Kilimanjaro and will use cable ties.

There are probably safe deposit boxes at the lodges and camps, but I just kept our passports and cash with me the majority of the time and on 1 or 2 occasions left them inside our tent in a locked suitcase.
Patty is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 11:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I don't know what airport(s) you'll be going through, but our luggage was not opened for inspection either on arrival or departure from Nairobi. When departing Nairobi, luggage is screened upon entering the airport and prior to checking in, so you're present to unlock and open the bags for inspection, if necessary.
Patty is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 11:59 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 55
That is relief - I fly into Nairobi and then head out to Tanzania the next day through Kili, then 12 days later back over to Nairobi, off to the Mara for a week or so and then back home to Miami. Since I travel solo, I am trying be practical and not overly cautious - but the story of that poor Australian woman who was jailed for drug smuggling really had me thinking - and that is why when I saw the locks that changed colors I snapped them up. By looking at the lock - if it has been tampered with - I could take it to security right away and not be deemed the criminal - I hope. Anyway, it probably wouldn't happen...The other thing is that my travel agent made me sign a waiver stating I had been informed that Kenya is an official terrorist country. And then said to just be very careful with the luggage and to expect some luggage inspection activity.

Thank you very much for your advice.
Canechick is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 02:34 PM
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We had more security checks in NBO then in the States. As mentioned above, bags are screened upon entering the airport and we too went thru a security gate. Then once you check-in the bags are screened out of sight. We went thru a security check before entering Immigration. Now we're in the departure terminal where at the gate all carryon and passengers went thru another security screening.

As to the TSA approved locks, these might work passing thru US airports if the agents have the keys. But once you leave the country, no guarantees. It's not likely that agents overseas have the keys for the TSA locks. It's all that more likely that they can be broken off if someone feels there's something to be checked in your bags.

That's why we went with simple cable ties. They're cheap. You only have to keep a nail clipper or small dull-tip scissor in an outside pocket of the bag so you can snip the cable at your destination.

Oh, and as to cigarette lighters. No problem, I passed thru with two and was never asked about them in the States or overseas. The only place outside the States where cigarette lighters was an issue, was a sign at the AMS airport returning to the States. Still mine passed through with no bells going off or questions being asked.
Jun 22nd, 2005, 08:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 814
THERE ARE NEW RULES ABOUT CIGARETTE LIGHTERS & MATCHES: None permitted out of Heathrow bound for the US in checked luggage. I was told that I must find and remove these things, because if they saw them on a scan, they would pull the luggage. Also in Nairobi, there are apparently new rules on anything sharp, including scissors with round tips, in carryons. The scissors that I have carried in my carryon for years (since 9/11) were confiscated...I spoke to a supervisor and was told these were new rules.
tashak is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 02:56 AM
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Yes, the cigarette lighter and match rules went into effect about 2-months ago. The US under protest from Zippo permits lighters as long as they are not filled. Seems many buy the Zippos as souvenir items of places they visited. And one can carry up to 4-books of matches in their carryon.

Since I just returned from my trip (between end-May to June 12) I just though to mention my experience with these items at the airports in questions.

Besides whether to lock or not, you have to be aware of the lighter and matches situation as well. What will happen to any particular traveler is unknown until something happens or not.
Jun 23rd, 2005, 06:44 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 55
Where do I purchase cable ties that Sandi has spoken of? I never heard of this until now, but it sounds pretty practical. A sports or hardware store? Any brand in particular that is better?
Canechick is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 07:34 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 413
A hardware store will have them for sure. They are usually used for tying bundles of wire together.

Also be aware, not all TSA agents have all possible TSA pass keys. I had to open a bag out of Minneapolis as the inspector did not have the key to the TSA compliant lock on my bag. Had I not been there they would have cut the lock.
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