After briefly losing a particularly non-descript black suitcase in LAX arrivals to a man who very fortunately realized his mistake before leaving the airport (I’m not sure my wardrobe choices would have suited him), I’ve made sure to always personalize my luggage. This not only ensures no one else mistakes mine for their own, but also means I’m able to save time in baggage claim by quickly spotting it on the carousel.
Here are some suggestions to help you personalize your luggage and breeze through baggage claim every time.
1. Buy an Unusual Luggage Tag
Trade the standard-issue paper tag given out by the airline for one that looks like an alligator or a unicorn, or even your favorite cinema snack. The choice is yours. There are hundreds of designs available, get one that when combined with your bag makes a unique combo you can easily identify. If you opt for a reflective luggage tag, you’ll not only easily spot your personalized bag on the carousel, but you’ll add a safety element when walking through a new new city at night.
Tip: Discover 8 tips for surviving long layovers.
2. Choose a Colorful Duffel or Backpack That Stands Out
As a frequent traveler, I must share that the worst thing you can do when buying a new travel bag is to buy one that’s black or navy with no identifying features. I see so many of them at baggage claim and wonder how on earth people can pick out their own. There are a whole host of vibrant colored duffel and patterned packs on the market, including Eagle Creek’s awesome Golden State Print which is available across a range of backpack and duffel styles. When you buy one of these prints, you’re almost guaranteed to be the only person at baggage claim with one.
3. Embroider Patches Onto Backpacks and Duffels
A favorite in gift shops across the world, embroidered patches have come a long way from the days of girl scouts and boy scouts. Look out for designs inspired by the places you’re visiting or create your own patterns online to truly personalize your luggage.
4. Embellish Straps with Ribbons
This is probably the quickest and simplest way to make your bag stand out. If you’ve got an old silk scarf, a length of ribbon, or some leftover fabric, tie it in a knot (that won’t easily undo in transit) around the luggage handle and, voila—your personalized bag is one of a kind.
5. Use a Colorful Luggage Belt
Another simple, but effective option is to utilize a colored or patterned luggage belt. Not only will this make your bag stand out, you’ll also find it helps to compress the contents so you can maximize your packing capacity.
Tip: Read our budget airline survival guide
6. Stitch or Stick Your Initials Onto Your Bag
This option is for the creative traveler who likes true personalization. Using whatever medium takes your fancy (paint, material, or paper), cut out your initials and attach them to the front of your bag. I had a quick look on Pinterest and found a number of tutorials for sequined monogram designs which looked particularly glamorous!
7. Go Retro with Stickers
Car bumper slogans, travel themed images, superhero designs, the options are endless and your only constraint is finding enough surface area on your pack for all the stickers you want to stick. This personalization option is probably best suited to hard case luggage options as stickers may peel off fabric bags.
8. Paint Your Own Designs Onto the Front of Your Pack
This is another uber-creative option to personalize your luggage—and one that is probably best left to those with an art degree or a knack for drawing. If you’ve a steady hand and a cracking design you could treat your case like a blank canvas and paint it. Make sure you use paint suitable for the surface you’re covering—fabric paints are available from most craft shops.
9. Make Sure Your Bag is NFC Enabled, Just in Case
Should you find that the airline has misplaced your bag, or you think you’ve accidently left it somewhere, having an NFC-enabled pack can help you to quickly locate it. NFC (near-field communication) is a passive technology that allows users to access information about the bag and its owner by holding their phone over an embedded chip, which transmits data via a wireless link. A simple but effective tool, Eagle Creek’s Caldera collection now has this feature, which can be activated via the Trip Sync app.
In short, as well as being able to track your travels and sign up for rewards, if your bag is NFC and Trip Sync enabled it means that should you accidently lose it, you can use the technology to report the bag as lost and ping your contact information to the chip. Then, should someone else pick up your bag by mistake, they can use their phone to access the bag’s NFC point and alert you that they have your bag. Winning!
Got your own recommendations for ways to personalize your travel bag? Show us your creative ideas on Facebook or Instagram .
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Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):
The Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist
How To Pack For A RTW Trip
7 Ways To Keep Your New Year’s Resolution To Travel More