No More Lost Luggage: 6 Devices to Track Your Bags

The moment when the luggage carousel has seemingly dropped its last bag and yours is nowhere to be found…

[insert sinking stomach feeling here]

The worst thing that can happen to your luggage while traveling is that it gets lost by the airlines, bus or even train company. When this happens, you’ll be asked to file a report, but that doesn’t promise anything. It’s also tricky if they find it but you’ve already moved to your next destination, or they won’t deliver it.

Lost luggage could change your whole trip if all of your clothing and essentials were inside. So how do you check luggage without constantly worrying about whether or not it will make it to your destination?

Luggage Tracking Services

You can register your bags with a third party company before you go that track your bags for the entirety of the journey. If it goes missing, they can pull it up on the computer and get it back to you faster than the airline might be able to.

Please note that we haven’t personally used these services at HPL, but wanted to share that such possibilities are out there. If you use one of these, please let us know the process and experience in the comments!

1. I-Trak

I-Trak gives you a sticker label to put on your bag and a number to add to your account online with a listing of information on your bag. When your bag turns up, the finder can contact I-Trak via phone, email, website or through the airline. Then they’ll contact you by text message, phone call, email or on your online account and arrange a way to get it back. A subscription is available per year.

2. Trakdot

Trakdot is a small device about the size of a smartphone that is tossed into your checked bag. You can track the bag yourself on their smartphone app, which will tell you the bag’s approximate location. The Trakdot takes AA batteries and can be tracked with a normal cell phone as well using GSM.

3. LugLoc

LugLoc works in a similar way, for less than $100, by tracking your luggage with your smartphone over GSM. The battery life lasts 15 days and the device fits into your palm. It sends you notifications and even has a map feature. It comes with the option of tracking five items with additional traces available for purchase.

4. PocketFinder

You can also use products meant for other things, like the PocketFinder. It’s marketed to find people, your vehicle or pets, but could also be attached to your luggage. The device costs around $130 and is slipped into your checked bag. It locates your bag, checks to see if it is stationary or in transit and sends the information to your iPhone app. It’s rechargeable and has a map view.

5. Okoban

Okoban is a Japanese company that adds a serial number and phone number to your items, whether it be a bag or your laptop. From there, the finder can call the Okoban number to have it returned to its owner. The owner then receives a text message alerting them that it’s been found. Unfortunately, this system heavily relies on the honesty of others.

6. Global Bag Tag

There are also trackable tags for your luggage. Global Bag Tag has been operating since 1999. Members receive a login code for their website, which allows them to register the tag or sticker with their unique serial number. The company tracks the bag for you and can send you a text message alerting you to the details. This works not only for airline loss, but if you leave a bag anywhere.

lost luggage

Travel Insurance

Make sure that your travel insurance includes delay and loss of luggage. Some credit card companies include this in their features as well. Insurance should provide you with compensation if bags are more than 5 days delayed in order to purchase new clothing in the meantime. If the bag is lost permanently, it should cover at least 50% of your items. If you’re packing large electronics, make sure these are covered as well.

Carry On Only

The best way to avoid lost baggage is to carry on your bags instead of checking them. That way, they’re constantly in view and not handled by strangers. For some trips this may be next to impossible, but it’s worth it if you can manage. You’ll save money and plenty of hassle.

Some Additional Notes to Keep in Mind:

  • If you do have to check a bag, don’t pack anything you can’t live without. Leave the sentimental or expensive pieces at home whenever possible. Electronics should stay on your person.
  • Have a luggage tag with up-to-date information on it. I was always told to put someone else’s address on my tag, but make sure there’s an email address or phone number that can be reached immediately.
  • Have a photo of your bag on your smartphone to show the baggage handlers.
  • Make sure the name and destination on the supplied tag are correct before you give your bag to the desk.
  • Save your packing list to check off items in case something was taken.

Have you used any of these luggage tracking services/devices? We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below!

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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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. Lacey says

    Preparing for an international move I am less concerned about my things and more concerned about my pets. I wonder if these are viable options for tracking the movement of my pets through airports and cargo!

  2. Stella says

    I loved the idea. I travel internationally every month and would definitely buy one of them IF they had rechargeable batteries. No one wants to pack lots of AA batteries, specially while traveling to multiple destinations. In the end I would be too lazy to walk around looking for a shop to get more AA’s and it would become one more device stocked in my shelves at home (and still having to pay the anual fee). No, thanks. Who still uses AA batteries in 2015 anyways?

    • Lauren W. says

      A lot of things still use regular batteries, but I get the inconvenience of needing them when traveling. I belive LugLoc has rechargeable batteries. I’ve read very mixed reviews of many of the products used for tracking luggage – not one has gotten great reviews across the board as they all have issues.

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