Luggage tags play an important role in finding lost luggage. They’re one of the most important travel accessories to have.
You see, when luggage gets misplaced, most commonly it happens because the plastic label that identifies your suitcase somehow gets ripped off. The barcode on the label contains who the suitcase belongs to, where it’s supposed to be, and other important info. When the label gets ripped off, essentially, nobody knows who the bag belongs to.
That’s why it’s important to attach a separate luggage tag with all the necessary information. But at the same time, you don’t want to reveal too much info, in case your suitcase gets stolen. In this guide, we’ll tell you exactly what you should write on luggage tags, and what you shouldn’t.
Here’s What Info You Should Put on Luggage Tags
Checked and Carry-On Luggage
For checked and carry-on luggage, your luggage tag should contain this information:
- Your name and surname, with your first name shortened to one letter.
- Your e-mail address. Use your spam e-mail address to avoid phishing attempts in case your bag gets lost.
- Your mobile phone number with the proper country/area code.
In the above picture, we’ve shown an example of what you should write on your luggage that. We included only the most essential information to get in contact with you. That’s because the luggage tag is attached to the exterior of your bag, so you don’t want to reveal too much information.
You may have thought “What’s the point of luggage tags on carry-on luggage?”, but there’s actually a really good reason for that. Quite often, cheaper airlines will overbook flights and allow too many carry-on bags on a plane, when in reality the overhead compartments won’t be able to fit everything. In those cases, the airlines will ask some passengers to check-in their carry-on bags free of charge. And if it gets checked-in, it could potentially get lost. Also, you could forget your carry-on in the back of a taxi cab, so you need to attach a luggage tag just in case.
On your child’s luggage tags, you should avoid writing their names for security reasons. Instead, write your own name and contact details, and add an additional mobile phone number just in case.
Also, you should include more than one luggage tag. For instance, if your child has a backpack and a suitcase, put one tag in the suitcase, one in the backpack, and one in their pocket. This will help you get reunited with your child in case you get separated.
Warning: Why You Should Never Put Your Home Address on a Luggage Tag
A lot of travelers write their home address and home phone number on their luggage tags. However, you really shouldn’t do that.
You see, this information is really valuable to thieves. Robbing an empty house while the owners are on a vacation is as easy as taking candy from a child. The luggage tag is attached on the outside of your suitcase, so potential thieves could take a picture of your tag, and rob your house while you’re away.
That’s why you shouldn’t write your home address, home phone number, or your friend’s address there. Provide just your contact details and nothing else. Oh, and it’s also probably a good idea not to write something similar to “I’ll be on a vacation for the next two weeks, and my house is completely unguarded!” on your Facebook timeline.
What to Put on Luggage Tags When Traveling Internationally
If you’re traveling internationally, you should be extra careful. You should avoid writing anything that shows your nationality, especially if you’re from America and traveling to the Middle East. That’s because a lot of nationalities are frowned upon in some parts of the world, and explicitly stating your nationality just makes you a more fruitful target.
Should You Put Luggage Tags Inside or Outside of Your Suitcase?
In addition to attaching a regular luggage tag outside, some people like to put more information inside. If the exterior luggage tag somehow gets accidentally ripped off, the additional information inside would work as a back-up.
If you’d like to be extra-secure, here’s how you do it.
Write your own contact information (name, surname, phone, and e-mail), your flight information, and contact details for the hotels you’ll be staying in on a regular piece of A4 paper. Put the paper in the zippered pocket in the main compartment, so it’s easily spottable when someone opens the bag. Because it’s stored inside, you can write more information there. If your suitcase would get lost, the airport security would open your bag, and look for anything that could identify the owner.
In the picture above, you can see how you should approach this.
Where’s the Best Place to Attach Luggage Tags?
If your suitcase has a lock, it’s best to attach a luggage tag on the exterior of your suitcase. The best places for attaching are usually around the top or side handle so the luggage tag is easily noticeable. Some suitcases come with dedicated luggage tag holders on the backside, which work better because they essentially can’t get detached from your bag (as seen in the picture above.)
However, if your suitcase isn’t locked, you could just store your luggage tag inside. Just make sure to put it in an easily-noticeable place, such as the zippered mesh pocket in the main compartment. Attaching a luggage tag in the main compartment is arguably even better because it can’t get accidentally lost, and other people won’t see it when you’re in a public space.
Other Commonly Asked Questions About Luggage Tags
What Are Electronic Luggage Tags?
Recently a lot of startups have popped up that promise Electronic ink-based luggage tags in the near future. Some have already started selling them, but it’s still a new technology.
Essentially, electronic luggage tags have an ink-based screen, that shows your contacts and a barcode with the current flight information. They replace the regular sticker labels that airlines use currently. Although the idea seems really promising, right now they’re still very expensive and don’t work with most airlines.
Should You Remove Luggage Labels/Barcodes, or Can You Leave Them On?
We all have seen that one guy who has twenty different luggage labels on his suitcase, and he thinks it’s cool. He’s a real traveler, not just a wanna-be. It’s the same thing as having twenty different passport stamps, just visible to everyone at all times.
Although it may seem cool, you shouldn’t do that. Having too many labels on your suitcase makes it harder for the baggage handlers to find the right label, so the chances of your suitcase getting misplaced rise significantly. That’s why you should always remove all labels when you get home. Having one or two labels that you forgot to remove is okay, but don’t go overboard with it.
Are Luggage Tags Required?
Luggage tags aren’t required, but it’s a good idea to use them anyway. Suitcases that get lost/delayed without any labels or luggage tags will most likely end up in a lost luggage auction after a month. However, if the bag has a luggage tag with contact details, it will most likely get returned.
Can You Buy Luggage Tags at the Airport?
Most airlines will offer their passengers free luggage tags at the check-in/ticket desks. They won’t be as durable as regular luggage tags though. Essentially, It’ll be just a piece of cardboard with a small piece of string attached to it. They’ll work for a single flight, but not long-term.
That said, many smaller shops inside airports will also sell regular luggage tags. They’ll cost around 5$-20$, but they’ll be much more durable and last longer.
So if you forgot to attach a luggage tag and you’re about to leave for the airport, don’t worry. Most likely you’ll be able to get one at the airport.
Can You Use Metal Luggage Tags?
Some people prefer to use metal luggage tags because they won’t get squished and will last longer. They’re perfectly fine to use on carry-on’s and personal items if you wish. We looked around and we didn’t find any information from the TSA or FAA that prohibits them. People who use them said that they’ve never had any issues with airport security.
What Size Is a Luggage Tag?
If you want to make your own DIY luggage tag, you need to know how large it should be. We looked around and most luggage tags are roughly 2.5 x 4.25 inches in size.