Luggage Identification: Easy, cute ways to mark your luggage

baggage claim

Have you ever stood at the baggage claim carousel on your tip toes, squinting your eyes to see if the bag on the opposite side might be yours? Perhaps that was just me once upon a time.

Unless you’re traveling with a backpack, which tend to come in a variety of colors, chances are your bag looks very similar to mine. And when you’re eyeing the dozens of bags circling the carousel, you probably hope that it took the same flight as you and that you find it as quickly as possible.

>>Check out these 20 cringe-worthy luggage nightmares.

Whether you travel with a backpack or a suitcase, you can make luggage identification an easy process. And making your luggage easy to identify is oh-so-smart for several reasons:

  • It can speed up the wait at baggage claim – especially good news if you have a short layover at an international airport or you’ve just landed after a long flight and can’t wait to get home!
  • IDing your luggage helps make sure no one mistakenly picks up your bag.
  • You help make it easier for airlines to identify your bag should it be misplaced (like the time an airline sent my bag to Vancouver when I was on my way to London).
  • Or if you’ve ever made a ridiculous mistake like me (why yes, I’m the gal who once left a bag at baggage claim on a layover at an international airport), it helps airport staff identify your bag more quickly amongst a crowded behind-the-scenes storage room.
  • You can have peace of mind that your bag is unique and stands out!

If you’re looking for ways to identify your luggage more easily, check out our easy, colorful ways to mark your bags!

Colorful luggage

pink suitcaseWhat color is your luggage? If I was a betting woman, I’d say black. All of the bags that I own are black. Most of the ones circling the baggage claim carousel are black. Some dare to be different with gray and a few stand out from the pack with reds, greens, or blues.

If you’re going for soft luggage, select a solid color that’s anything but black or gray. Though someone else may have a pink or green suitcase circling the carousel, chances are it’s yours!

If you prefer a hard shell case, a wide variety of colorful, feminine patterns are yours for the choosing, in addition to more traditional solid colors.

>>Buy this pink suitcase on Amazon

Luggage tags

luggage tagAs you’re watching the black bags make their way around the carousel, you’ll notice that most have some type of luggage tag, whether it’s the one provided for free by the airline or a more unique one. They’re easy to find at most any store and relatively inexpensive.

>>Here’s how to make your own fun luggage tags.

I travel with black suitcases, and at some point, I decided to decorate my bags with one or two colorful, unique luggage tags to make them easier to identify. Why use more than one? I assume that I’ll be the only one with two very different tags!

My clown fish tag stays on the small carry-on size bag that I take from time to time, and a blue “Hasta la vista” tag always stays on my favorite checked bag. I also have a light pink rectangular tag with an “H” on it, a tag featuring the London Underground map, and tags I’ve snagged at business conferences simply because no one else will have them.

>> Buy this colorful luggage tag on Amazon

Luggage belts/straps

luggage strapsWhether you call them luggage belts or straps, you’ve probably seen a few people on any given flight use these.

They resemble a belt you would wear around your waist but are designed to wrap around luggage and stay put with a snap of a plastic buckle.

You can find these in just about any color, and I tend to see individual ones featuring the colors of the rainbow. Select your two favorite colors to make your luggage easy to spot!

Bonus: If your bag happens to get damaged in transit, the luggage strap will help keep your suitcase from spilling open and the contents from getting lost.

>> Buy unique luggage straps on Amazon

Fabric and ribbon

ribbonThe first time I noticed a bag with a colorful ribbon or piece of fabric tied to one of the handles, I wondered why I hadn’t thought of that!

You can find ribbon or fabric at any craft store, but I prefer to recycle the ribbons I receive with wrapped presents, gift baskets, or flowers! On my go-to bags, I currently have red, gray, or orange tied to a handle. I recently traveled to London and packed an extra suitcase to begin moving my fiance’s belongings to the States. I think he was surprised when he saw that I had packed ribbon from home to tie to his bag – it certainly helped me spot his (new to me) bag more quickly when I returned home!

If the ribbon is too long, tie it in a bow or consider trimming it – you don’t want it to get caught on a belt as it’s traveling behind-the-scenes at the airport or at baggage claim itself!

>> Buy strips of ribbon on Amazon

Colorful and unique combination

Use at least two of the methods above to help make sure no one confuses your bag for hers!

I received my black luggage second hand from a friend nearly 10 years ago, but it still looks fabulous, and I’ll use the pieces until they’re ready to retire. I love using both luggage tags and ribbons on each bag. Fellow travelers know that my bag does not belong to them, and I know that their bags, sans tags and ribbons, are not mine.

How do you make your bag stand out from the rest? Tell us about your tricks of the trade that we didn’t highlight above.

Written by Heather

Heather Rudd Palmer is a 30-something with a love for travel, food, and healthy living. After short trips to Europe in her 20s, Heather left her job at 30 to live, work, and travel in Australia for a year. She visited every state and territory, embarked on two road trips, worked at an organic food store, and ate her way through Sydney. She's now a career counselor for university students. You can find Heather at There's No Place Like Oz and Healthy Life Heather.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Lindsey says

    Another way to make softcover suitcases stand out is with fabric paint. I painted my black one last year before I went to Europe last year. It was a tonne of fun to do, and led to some interesting conversations in transit 🙂

  2. chamekke says

    I bought a bright-red “Not Yours!” luggage handle wrap from a vendor on Etsy. I used it twice. The second time… the handle wrap vanished during transit between Victoria and Portland. I guess someone found it as irresistible as I did! The lesson, I guess, is to have something that’s cute, but maybe not TOO cute 😉

  3. Denise Kelley says

    I inherited my sisters hard sided “big blue” American Tourister suitcase when she died. It’s a first generation wheeled suitcase and to help it stand out even more, I purchased a bunch of funny stickers (mostly bumper stickers) and applied them to it. I try to get at least one sticker from each place I travel for my suitcase. You can’t miss my sister’s “big blue” for anyone elses suitcase, it stands alone.

    • Brooke says

      Denise, I’m so glad you get to take your sister’s suitcase with you when you travel. Thanks for sharing, and let’s keep adding stickers to that bag 🙂

  4. Barb says

    I always buy non-black bags. A really good idea though is to also put a luggage tag on the INSIDE of your bag in case the one on the outside comes off. This is especially helpful if the outside tag comes off, and you have to prove your bag is really yours.

  5. Mary says

    I’ve made fabric luggage tags for each of my & my family’s bags with a matching one on our carry-on bags. If someone tries to argue with a bag being theirs, I can show them the matching tag on my carry-on. Since I made them, nobody else will have the same ones.

  6. Barb says

    On my suitcase which was a black fabric bag, I I used no sew bond and found some bright color fabric and ironed it to it, then ironed it on to the front and back of the bag very carefully, works great, I always know my bags when they come down the carousel.

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