Retrieving luggage from the airport’s conveyor belt is arguably the least fun part of travel. It’s also a moment that many travelers dread, with two main questions in mind:
- Will my luggage be in good condition?
- Will I be able to easily and quickly identify it?
But in reality, it’s a different story.
Knowing that the conveyor belts are among the busiest areas of an airport, having luggage that looks like another’s can be a real problem. Two situations can then arise:
- The less serious: you find it impossible to identify your own luggage.
- The more serious: another person mistakenly takes your luggage, thinking it’s theirs.
Hence the interest in personalizing your luggage well in advance of your trip to save time when retrieving it.
But how to do it then?
In this article, I’ve gathered the best methods currently used by savvy travelers to easily and simply retrieve their luggage after landing.
It’s up to you to choose the method you prefer and that suits you best!
1 – Choose Light-colored Luggage Rather Than Dark Ones
Indeed! This is a very effective way to differentiate your luggage from others. Why, you might ask?
Because, like the many objects we use every day, we often choose the same colors. Here are two main reasons:
- A color preference: Each of us opts for our favorite color according to our preferences. Black is one of them. There are even travelers who, for style reasons, want their luggage color to match their outfit! Don’t laugh, I’ve already noticed this several times.
- A practical reason: dark luggage colors show fewer signs of wear, scratches, or dirt.
So, if you opt for much lighter and brighter colors as below, you’ll have a much better chance of easily identifying your luggage:
- Light Blue
- Light Green
- Light Pink
- Flashy Colors
Conversely, avoid using these colors below at the risk of losing your luggage among all the others without being able to quickly identify it:
- Dark Blue
- Red (very common)
- Dark Green
- Dark Brown
2 – Add Luggage Straps
This is another practical way to better identify your luggage.
By adding one or more straps around your suitcase or travel bag, you personalize it.
This method is effective, of course, if the color of your strap (and its patterns) stands out from the color of your luggage. Otherwise, it’s pointless!
For example, if you have a black suitcase or another dark color of the same type, choose bright colors to create contrast.
You will find a large selection of luggage straps sold on the Internet that will do the trick.
Tip: use combinations of colors rather than a single color for your straps placed in a cross. Examples: yellow/red, green/orange, light blue/pink. A great way to immediately identify your luggage with your favorite colors!
And if you ever want to use a code strap, make sure it is compatible with a TSA key. If this is not the case, don’t be surprised to find that the lock of your strap has been forced and damaged. This happens very often during manual baggage checks by security staff.
3 – Use Stickers
Let me tell you right away, this is not my favorite method even though it’s probably one of the quickest ways to distinguish your luggage from others.
Of course, the sticker or stickers you will use should be unique enough to easily identify your baggage from afar.
But as I mentioned above, I never use this method, because, for me, it has more disadvantages than advantages:
- The method works on hard surfaces (like on suitcases), but not on soft surfaces (travel bags).
- Over time, some stickers do not adhere to the surface of the suitcase: often because they were poorly applied in the first place. But also due to temperature differences which can result in the sticker peeling off.
- Depending on the type of sticker used, the patterns fade over time.
- Many stickers look alike: even from afar. So, you have to find stickers that are often quite large and original.
- Sticker means glue. If you change your mind or your sticker, the glue or bits of stickers are a real hassle to remove. For me, this is a huge waste of time and a method that is not worth lingering over.
Regarding the advantages, I found only one: stickers are very easy to stick on.
4 – Dress Up Your Suitcase With a Luggage Cover
Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the most effective. Why not just dress up your suitcase with a luggage cover? Choose a unique, colorful, or patterned model, and say goodbye to identification problems!
Not only does a cover protect your baggage against travel mishaps such as rain or scratches, but it also adds a slight difficulty for ill-intentioned people.
Imagine: the cover, well fitted, slips on from the top and takes a certain amount of time to remove. It’s an additional time that any baggage thief would want to avoid.
Indeed, most thieves prefer easy targets, i.e., suitcases that can be opened in less than 10 seconds with a pen. That’s why your suitcase, fully protected by a cover, will seem less attractive to them.
Note also that this method is infrequently used at the time of writing these lines, so that’s even better for you, as your luggage will stand out even more!
Also know that reliable brands like Samsonite offer covers made of very elastic material, designed to perfectly fit your suitcase and protect it during your trip.
So, think about it: by wrapping your suitcase in a cover, you secure it, protect it, and most importantly, make it easier to spot from miles away!
Isn’t that great?
5 – Choose an Original Luggage Tag
This is another method that exists, but one I never use, as I find it less effective than the previous ones. It’s still worth discussing, though, because I’m not like you and you’re not like me 😊.
So yes, the luggage tag. It’s this small card, often made of plastic, attached to your suitcase, which can really make all the difference. Choose an original, colorful tag, and above all, different from what we’re used to seeing. Surely, your luggage will have no trouble standing out among all the others.
However, even though it’s a simple and quite popular method, I find it less secure compared to the others. A tag can easily become detached or be removed, but let’s not close ourselves off to all options.
But if it works for you, go for it! After all, we’re all different, aren’t we?
6 – My DIY Method
Alright, I’m going to reveal my favorite method, my little secret that I’ve been using for a few years now, and it works wonderfully. However, I’m warning you, it’s not going to appeal to everyone!
It simply involves writing your initials or any other message directly on your suitcase. Yes, you read that right and I already know this method may seem radical to you.
One thing is certain: this is not the ideal method for lovers of pristine suitcases or those who might fear damaging their luggage. But what can I say, it’s the method I prefer and find most effective.
Not only can I instantly identify my luggage, but also my family’s. And you know what? This method sometimes catches the attention of other travelers, who commend me for my ingenuity.
So if you’re ready to try something bold and personal, why not give this DIY method a shot? After all, luggage is primarily meant to be practical, isn’t it?
7 – Tie a Ribbon on the Handles
Very simple, but which can prove to be very effective: tie a ribbon on the handles of your suitcase. Choose a bright color or even better, opt for a fluorescent strip. It’s certain, your gaze will be immediately drawn to your baggage in the maze of suitcases on the conveyor belt.
The advantages? This method is extremely easy to implement, requires no additional purchase if you already have ribbons at home, and it’s totally reversible if you change your mind.
The disadvantages? The ribbon can become detached during the journey or be removed. Moreover, other travelers may have the same idea, so choose a really unique ribbon to avoid confusion.
Nevertheless, it’s a method not to neglect for quickly recognizing your luggage!
8 – Personalize Your Suitcase
During my research into the various ways to easily identify luggage, I discovered an interesting method which I’m excited to share as the final tip in this article.
Today, it’s indeed possible to customize your suitcase thanks to websites like Roam Luggage or Contrado, making it easier to identify when it appears on the luggage carousel.
This website does not offer 100% customization of your suitcase but rather a two-color assortment to distinguish it from other solid color suitcases.
Each suitcase comes equipped with a TSA-approved lock for greater peace of mind, an ergonomic and smart telescopic handle that locks immediately in place and reduces back strain, high-quality fabric lining, and water resistance, even when the weather is not at its best.
This website offers complete customization of your suitcase, providing the option to add your own images and text.
The advantages of this method are obvious: your suitcase will be truly unique, avoiding any confusion. It’s also a fun and creative way to express your personal style!
The potential downsides of personalization, of course, are the cost, as custom luggage can be more expensive than standard options, and the time required to design and produce the custom suitcase. But for many, the ease of spotting their custom suitcase on the luggage carousel is well worth the investment!
Remember, luggage doesn’t just have to be functional – it can also be a fashion statement! And really, who wouldn’t love to travel with a suitcase that’s uniquely their own?
And that’s it for my tips on how to easily identify your luggage! But hey, these are just a few of the methods out there. I’m sure many of you have developed your own unique tricks and strategies over the years.
So, here’s a call to action for all you seasoned travelers and creative minds: if your favorite luggage identification method wasn’t mentioned in this article, I would love for you to share it! I’m certain everyone would be thrilled to hear more about your personal hacks and insights. After all, we’re all here to learn and grow.
Please, drop your suggestions or stories in the comments section below. Who knows, your idea might just be the perfect solution for someone else struggling with the same problem. I can’t wait to hear from you!
As the founder of Container FAQs, my goal is to provide readers with in-depth information on the containers used in daily life and related subjects. Don't hesitate to reach out to me if you have any suggestions for articles you would like to see on my blog.