There’s a store in Alabama that’s as big as a city block. It’s called the Unclaimed Baggage Center, and it sells the forsaken contents of lost luggage. Most bags lost by the airlines are eventually returned to their owners. But the missing suitcases that end up on the shelves of the Unclaimed Baggage Center likely lacked sufficient identification.
That piece of paper you grabbed from the airline check-in counter on which you scribbled your address might not be good enough. First, if your bag is lost while you’re on your way to your vacation destination, you’ll want it shipped to your hotel — not to the guy bringing in your mail at your empty house. Additionally, many travel experts advise against revealing your address on your luggage, as this could make your home a target for robbery while you’re on the road.
The solution is to use a smart luggage tag that does more than just display an address and phone number. Below are three high-tech luggage tags that have the power to transform your trip if your luggage gets lost.
ReboundTAG Microchip Bag Tags are printed with a barcode that airline personnel can scan in order to identify your luggage and view your itinerary. (The barcode technology isn’t available at all airports.) If a person who doesn’t have access to scanning technology finds your lost luggage, he or she can enter your tag number on the ReboundTAG Web site, and the system will notify you by text message or e-mail. A Microchip Bag Tag costs 34.99 British pounds (about $55.80 as of this posting) and comes with one year’s membership to the ReboundTAG system. Buy it at www.reboundtag.com.
Like the ReboundTAG Microchip Bag Tags, SuperSmartTags feature a code that anyone can use to report your bag online. Once the code for your bag is submitted, you’ll receive a text message, e-mail or phone call explaining that your luggage has been found. Enter your itinerary on the SuperSmartTag site and airport staff will be able to view your travel plans and forward your luggage to your next destination. SuperSmartTag retails for $14.99 AUD (about $15.95 as of this posting) and comes with a three-year membership to the SuperSmartTag system. Buy it at www.supersmarttag.com. (Or win a free one. See below.)
Magellan’s Retriever Tags
These tags aren’t outfitted with special codes or microchips. But they’re simple enough to work. The vinyl tag encapsulates instructions written in eight languages (English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, French and German) that tell baggage agents to check the itinerary inside your bag and send your luggage to your next destination, as opposed to shipping it back to your home address while you’re en route to Tahiti. Buy it at www.magellans.com for $8.95.
– written by Caroline Costello