When choosing a luggage belt, or luggage strap, the most important consideration is the strength of the strap and the durability of the clasp or buckle that holds it closed. A luggage belt should also be easy to spot, which aids in locating and reclaiming checked baggage. If you wish to use a belt that provides additional security for luggage, in the form of locking clasps, the quality of the clasps should be a priority. Check to see if a given belt meets the particular safety and legal standards imposed by security in the airports or stations where it is apt to be used.
The primary function of a luggage belt is to hold a suitcase closed while the bag is being handled by airport and airline personnel and during the course of travel. Therefore, it is important to consider the strap's durability. Check the material from which the strap is constructed, which, ideally, would be durable nylon or some other very rugged material. The latch and fittings on the belt should also be checked for durability. Avoid lightweight plastic latches and fittings, as these are prone to failure during rough handling.
Modern luggage is often somewhat bland, and a well-chosen luggage belt can make the process of identifying one particular black suitcase much less arduous at the end of a long flight. A brightly-colored luggage belt can be a useful way to easily identify your suitcase. Combining two belts of different colors may make your suitcase look a bit garish, but it practically guarantees that it will be uniquely identifiable.
In some cases, luggage belts are meant to provide a degree of additional security against luggage theft or tampering. If this is your concern, the strength of the belt and buckle remain of paramount importance. Evaluate the locking mechanism carefully. Make sure that it is both easy to use and durably constructed.
Remember contemporary airport safety rules when shopping for a luggage belt. Most national aviation security agencies have rules concerning which sorts of belts and locking mechanisms are allowed. The Transportation Security Administration in the United States, for example, has a strong preference for belts and locking mechanisms from an authorized list of manufacturers, who provide screening agents with the tools to open these locks easily and then re-attach them. Belts and locks that do not meet local rules and standards may be cut or forced open to allow bags to be searched.