You have no doubt seen many passengers at the airports rolling their suitcases with layers of plastic wrapped over them, or see people queuing for a service that wraps their bags for them.

You’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. Why are they doing this, should you do it, and is it worth the money and hassle of wrapping your luggage?

So, first, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of wrapping your luggage.

Pros of Wrapping Your Luggage

  • Theft Deterrent: Having your bag wrapped in plastic wouldn’t exactly stop your bag from being broken into if a thief wanted to, but it acts as an excellent deterrent because thieves would more likely find an easier target.
  • Damage Protection: If your bag is wrapped in plastic, there is an extra layer that will protect it from a variety of sources, including wear and tear, scratches and stains, and the weather
  • Avoid Accidental Openings: If your bag is tightly wrapped in plastic, it will prevent it from being accidentally opened during transportation.

Cons of Wrapping Your Luggage

  • Cost: Finding a service that will wrap your bag or buying material to do it at home obviously isn’t free, though it isn’t too expensive either. If you have several bags that you need to wrap, the cost can soon add up, though.
  • Environmentally Unfriendly: Because plastic is used for wrapping, it isn’t exactly environmentally friendly.

How Much Does it Cost?

While prices can vary depending on the airport, size of your bag, and company performing the service, you can expect to pay about $15-20 to have a regular sized bag wrapped, and over $20 if you want an oversized item wrapped, such as a golf bag, or musical instrument.

How Long Will it Take?

If you use a professional service that specializes in baggage wrapping, it won’t take long at all – just a couple of minutes.

If you wrap your bags yourself at home, it can take a bit longer.

Either way, definitely make sure that you don’t plan to open your suitcase again until you get to your destination, otherwise you will have to do it again, which will cost you both time and money.

What Companies Offer Bag Wrapping?

Companies that specialize in wrapping your bag include Secure Wrap, True Star, and Seal & Go.

According to Marketing Director, Gabriela Farah-Valdespino, “Secure Wrap is the only authorized provider to work with TSA in the United States and has worked with the agency since 2003.”

Additionally, a QR code is placed on every bag Secure Wrap wraps. So if your airline loses your bag, the person who scans this QR code can find out your name, flight number, email, and departure city, so you can be reunited with your bag more quickly.

So, if you can find a Secure Wrap kiosk at the airport, they might be your best bet.

Not All Airports Have a Luggage Wrapping Service

Keep in mind that if you want to wrap your bag, you might not always be able to because not all have kiosks that offer this airport service, though major airports typically will, such as, Miami International, and JFK.

Make sure you research the airport beforehand to find out if a baggage wrapping service is offered. If not, you can wrap your bag at home or find a company that offers this service locally.

Isn’t the Plastic Used For Wrapping Bad for the Environment?

It’s not exactly environmentally friendly to wrap your luggage, but many of these companies, such as Secure Wrap, claim that the plastic they use is environmentally safe, non-toxic & 100% recyclable.

If you wrap your bags, you are encouraged to recycle the plastic once you have removed it from your bag.

What Happens if the TSA Need to Open Your Bag?

If during the screening process something in your bag is flagged on one of the airport scanners, the TSA will unwrap your bag, so they can take a closer look.

Unfortunately, once a TSA agent has unwrapped your bag, they won’t rewrap it.

Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.

Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.

Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).