Every airline traveler who has ever checked in a piece of luggage knows how it feels to stand among a throng of tired, sometimes grumpy passengers waiting and watching for their bags to march by on the conveyor belt so they can shove their way to the front and snatch the luggage off before someone else snatches it by mistake. Since many bags look similar and most tags look similar, too, sometimes it's hard to discern exactly which one is yours amid the sea of suitcases. Some travelers use fairly low-tech means for this problem, such as tying colored ribbons to the handle or strapping a piece of colored electrical tape across the top, or even buying bright pink or turquoise suitcases. However, ribbons and tape may come off easily in the hands of a hurried baggage handler, and not many business people want to be seen carrying pink or turquoise suitcases. So, the key to making your wait in Baggage Claim as short and sweet as possible may be in the simple use of a tag that's easy to spot.
The BIG TAG
Perhaps the easiest of all tags to spot is the Big Tag, from Luggage Pros. Measuring in at 4.5 inches in diameter, it comes in yellow, black, gold, blue, pink, green, red, and even platinum. Sure, some may consider it gaudy or tacky, but if it helps you spot your bag easily, it's worth the USD 5. And better to have a bright pink tag than a bright pink bag. Order it by calling (800) 595-5456 or by visiting www.luggagepros.com.
NYC Loop Tags
What better way to spot your bag on a conveyor belt than by having a lime green love bug attached to it? Another bright and attention-grabbing option, these three fabulous tags from Loop NYC will make you the hit of the crowd at the baggage carousel. You can get them in three designs-a green punch buggy that'll make Herbie the Love Bug jealous, a cute yellow ducky, or a red heart. They're made of bright-colored pleather with a plastic-coated insert on the bag for your personal information, and a sturdy wire clasp makes them impervious to any roughhousing by baggage handlers. Go to www.fredflare.com or call (800) 243-9924.
The Classy World Traveler
Crate and Barrel stores offer a variety of tags to fit just about any personality. One of their selections will give your bags a touch of class and make the other travelers think you're an important bigwig. Two vintage-look designs carry the embroidered logos of the Hotel Roma and the Hotel Louvre in Marseilles. They have an I.D. card backing and an easy-attach rubber cinch to hold them to your bags securely, and although they look luxurious, they're only USD 3.95. Another style available from Crate and Barrel gives your luggage an unmistaken identity that will leap out at you with a hip, dynamic ID that could only belong to you. Made of thick, clear vinyl, the USD 4.95 tags house plastic and paper cards with designs featuring tiny hearts, tiny playing card symbols, and a wild op art design. They're easy to spot and durable, with an 8" cord. Crate and Barrel's Asian-inspired embroidered tags come in two flowered designs in pink and aqua. They have a rubber cinch for easy attachment, and they're a bargain at USD 3.95. And for the no-nonsense traveler who still needs a distinctive look, there's the polished aluminum and stainless steel tag with a cutout panel revealing your name. A durable steel cord attaches to your bag, and this is a steal at USD 2.95. Visit www.cb2.com or call (800) 606-6252.
Uncommon Travelers With Distinctive Taste
UncommonGoods has a selection for travelers who want to spend a bit more money to establish a unique personality. One set of retro tags includes a bright one with multi-colored polka dots and one with Par Avion written in a funky typeface. The clear vinyl coating covers the design on one side and an orange address label on the backside. The set of two sells for USD 25.00. Or spot your bags in a split second with a snippy address tag that says "Arrivaderci"-Italian for "goodbye"-in orange and pink. If you prefer crepes to spaghetti, you can choose one that says "Bon Voyage," the French phrase for "have a good trip," in turquoise and green. The set of two includes one of each design for USD 25.00 Even with the roughest handling, metal tags with miniature airplanes on them are super-durable as well as stylish. Sold as a set of two for USD 20.00, these hold up entirely unscathed and stay firmly attached to your luggage. And if you just want something bright and durable without a fancy design, you can choose a set of highly visible neon plastic versions for USD 15.00 sold as a set of three in bright blue, orange, and lime green. Call (888) 365-0056 or visit www.uncommongoods.com.
Pricey Luggage Tags
If you just need to have something telling other passengers that price is no object when it comes to identifying your luggage, then you need a set of Burberry tags sold by Neiman-Marcus. You can choose a set of two round camel novacheck tags with a black nylon strap and a buckle, but you'll have to lift the fancy flap to read the personal information. Since you'll pay USD 65 for a set of three, maybe it makes sense to hide your personal info from the general public. On the other hand, if you want to advertise your extravagance to the world, then you'll surely want to invest USD 130 in a set of two metallic leather tags made in Italy. One gold and one silver, they sport an embossed check pattern and have an adjustable strap with buckle. You can put your hands on these fancy options that really say something (maybe "steal me?") by visiting www.neimanmarcus.com or by calling (800) 825-8000.
No matter what your taste is in travel, having distinctive tags that make your bags stand out from the pack on a crowded carousel will certainly make it easier for you to locate your bags, haul them off the conveyor belt, and make a mad dash for the exit before Baggage Claim Claustrophobia gets the best of you.