How Do Luggage Trackers Work? It Might Surprise You

By James Smith
how do luggage trackers work
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Luggage trackers are becoming more important for travelers as an extra security measure to ensure they retrieve their belongings when checking luggage at the airport. So you might wonder how do luggage trackers work?

Luggage trackers use many different technologies to help you track and identify your bags, from GPS location to close-range radio frequencies.

They work like transmitters, each signal is a unique code that identifies your luggage with either a transmitter and a receiver or a special app that can be downloaded into your phone. Once mounted on your luggage you can then easily check on your phone where your luggage is. With generic luggage being more difficult to identify, having the ability to track down other people from either intentionally or mistakenly taking your belongings is important.

This option becomes increasingly popular with travelers today for a good reason, and for a recommended luggage tracker I chose this one.

luggage tracker tag handle

There are many different types of luggage tracking devices available. One could quickly peruse Amazon and find luggage tracking devices are available anywhere from $20 to $500 USD. Some devices use Bluetooth, others might use GPS. There is also the question of battery length and whether the device requires a subscription service. You’ll have to decide for yourself which device is best for you according to your budget and your needs.

It’s also important to note that airlines offer luggage tracking services that you can monitor from your phone. This could be enough for some travelers, but some people are looking for that extra level of security. If the airline should lose your bag, a personal luggage tracker can help you identify where your bag is and you can quickly relay that information to your airline carrier.

Delta Air Lines incorporated a $50 million system, which uses Radio Frequency ID (RFID) cards. The new RFID-based technologies can improve the delivery of bags to nearly 99 percent accuracy, a stark contrast to the industry average of around 80 percent. While this system has made great improvements to keep tabs on your luggage, the global airline industry still mishandled baggage 6.5 bags per thousand passengers, according to the information technology company Sita.

Important information about luggage trackers

Some common pitfalls of personal luggage tracking may affect your travel plans. Long flights could drain the battery before your luggage is even off the plane. It’s also possible that while your baggage is lost in transit, you might not have enough cellular coverage to properly track your device, especially with international destinations.

It seems most travelers prefer a transmitter/receiver combo with long-lasting battery life to ensure the tracker can stay charged for the complete duration of the trip.

Some of the more expensive models are tackling these common issues and offering a more comprehensive product for travelers who can afford no risk. Bluesmart One carry-on (which is now discontinued), for example, used an integrated GPS technology to follow your valuables, with no monthly service fee. Some of the more expensive models have a battery life of up to five days. Depending on your needs, this combination is probably the most effective to ensuring you retrieve your bags safely after landing.

Luggage tracking is not only for electronic means. There are many steps you can take to ensure that your luggage is properly tracked along with a personal device. The first is research your airline carrier and make sure they have a good baggage rating.

Airlines with a poor rating only compound the problem and an electronic device might not help if someone removes the device from your bag. Make sure you have a paper tag on your luggage, double check the airport code to make sure it matches with your destination. Also, take a picture of your bag, so if it is accidentally lost, you have all the information to fill out a lost baggage form at the baggage claim.

Almost all luggage is black. That’s a good enough reason to make your black luggage stand out from all the others that you could mistake from your own. If you want to make it easier on yourself during those few crucial moments when you pick up your bag on the carousel, try a luggage identifier like this Pom-ID a colorful Nylon/Spandex pom-pom that sets your bag apart from all the rest.

Or you could go the DIY route use neon duct tape. The results are likely the same. You won’t have to risk the awful mistake and track down the person or offer an apology to someone who will probably be in a state of panic.

Sita expects that sometime soon, about two-thirds of all airlines will offer real-time updates on the exact location of their bags, most of them through a smartphone app. That sounds good, but it’s possible you could still lose your bag. A personal luggage tracking device is just an extra layer of security until airlines get a hold of the situation.

Losing or misplacing a few bags per flight is still a bag or two too many, especially when it’s yours. Until these systems become more reliable and readily available to all passengers and are fully tested, you’re better off buying a personal tracking device and monitoring your own luggage.

What to look for in a good luggage tracker?

If you are considering tracking your own luggage, most likely you have valuables and have no other option but to check your luggage.

  • The consensus is to use a device that is small and can be hidden well in your luggage.
  • Next, you’ll need to make sure you have a receiver with long distance range capabilities to ensure that you know where your luggage is in case it lands in a different city. This is best done with GPS, as some devices are short range and more designed for the carousel identification.
  • Next, you’ll need to make sure that the battery life is adequate for a long journey, especially if you are flying internationally. This combination is probably the most expensive, so you’ll need to do your research on which technologies are crucial for your needs and that can easily fit in your budget.

There are a lot of options out there for personal luggage tracking devices. It is also helpful to search the reviews of each device, there is helpful information that past users can relay to help you avoid any common occurrences that can be avoided.

Hope it helped and safe travels.

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Hi, I'm James Smith, I love traveling and always looking to optimize the traveling life to make it as comfortable and stress-free as possible. I especially love to nerd out about choosing the right luggage.

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