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Best Luggage Trackers and Smart Tags – No More Lost Luggage

If the post covid summer 2022 travel chaos at airports all over the world taught us anything, it was GPS luggage trackers, and smart tags are a good investment.

According to data from the Air Travel Consumer Reports published by the Department of Transportation, more than 684,000 bags were “mishandled” in the first quarter of 2022. This data refers to delayed, lost, damaged or stolen baggage after check-in.

We looked closely at the importance of luggage locks, cables, and luggage straps here, but what about luggage trackers?

People often ask: Can I put a tracker on my luggage? The answer is – absolutely yes!

Using Luggage Trackers to Safeguard Your Luggage

With these figures in mind and stories of people spending entire vacations without their luggage, traveller concern is warranted.

A recent surge in the demand for luggage trackers and smart tags tells us that travellers are responding by taking greater control of their luggage regarding air travel.

We run through the different trackers and their technologies to help you navigate the world of luggage trackers. We also share some of the best and most practical trackers on the market to help you choose the right system for your budget and style.

Benefits of Using Smart Luggage Tags

  • If your bag does get lost or delayed, you can track your luggage and have it returned faster.
  • You can see how far from the baggage carousel your luggage is. Or, if it is even moving – this is very handy when you are tight on time.
  • Some smart luggage devices will store your itinerary information, making it easier for airport staff to re-route lost bags on connecting flights.
  • Peace of mind knowing your bag is on your flight with you or on its way to the luggage carousel.

How Much do Luggage Trackers and Smart Tags Cost?

You don’t need to shell out a fortune for a good tracker. QR code tracking tags start at as little as $15 for a set of two.

A Bluetooth tracker or smart tag with GPS tracking and a supporting smartphone app are as little as $18-$20 for an individual tag or around $80 for a set of four tags. Some tags will have subscription fees for greater support and tracking capabilities.

Best Luggage Trackers Quick Guide

Types of Luggage Trackers and Smart Tags

There are a few choices in technology when choosing a luggage tracker. Most systems will use one or a combination of these technologies, each with pros and cons.

  • GPS
  • GSM (Mobile networks)
  • Bluetooth
  • Wifi
  • QR Code

How do Luggage Trackers Work

Essentially, you place a physical chip or tag inside or attached to your luggage, and the luggage tracking unit will communicate its position via GPS, Bluetooth technology, or cellular data.

Usually, the information is relayed via a smartphone app that tracks your luggage beacon, relaying a wealth of information about your luggage’s whereabouts and activity – often, in real-time. Real-time trackers usually require a subscription service but are mostly very reasonable.

The best luggage trackers will use a combination of technologies to ensure the chip is never out of service. Depending on your battery life and preference, they can also be set to ping a message every few seconds or every few hours.

QR code luggage tags are a more manual process relying on the good faith of our fellow humans but can be very effective.

If the tag is scanned, you receive a notification of the event with the tag’s location. The person scanning also has access to the information you have chosen to store on the tag, such as your contact details.

One benefit of the manual nature of this smart tag is it does not rely on batteries, GPS, or cell phone reception to track the tag.

Best Luggage Trackers Reviews

Pros

  • Simple to use and affordable
  • No subscription required
  • Light, compact, and easy to hide
  • Water and dust resistant
  • Effective in tracking lost items
  • A long-lasting battery (12 months) that is cheap to replace. 
  • Operates on an anonymous and encrypted network for security
  • Android devices can use it via the Tracker Detect App with limitations

Cons

  • Not as accurate as more advanced trackers that use multiple technologies to track (but still effective). 
  • It doesn’t come with a holder to attach it to a key chain or bag; You need to purchase these separately.

Key Specifications:

  • Subscription Fee: None
  • Tracking Tech: Bluetooth and Find My Network
  • Batteries Included: Yes – 1 CR2032 coin cell battery that is cheap to replace. Up to 12-month life span.

Any Apple product promises a sleek design and seamless integration with your Apple devices. The Apple Air Tag is exactly that.

People often ask if they can track their luggage with their AirTag because it wasn’t specifically designed for that purpose. But yes, you can track your luggage with an AirTag.

Around the size of a quarter, you can easily attach the AirTag to your luggage (using one of the AirTag accessories sold separately) or slip it into your luggage. There is no subscription fee, you simply pair it with your Apple device, and you’re good to go. 

It is also one of the few Apple products that don’t require a specific battery. It takes a simple CR2032 battery which you can find at any supermarket. 

How Does the AirTag Work?

The device tracks the missing item through Bluetooth technology. Within a Bluetooth range of 800 ft / 245 m, the device can also trigger a sound when commanded by your phone.

You can also utilise the Precision Finding function, where you will see the direction and distance of the item on the phone’s screen so you know which way to head. While these functions are handy for lost keys etc., this feature is not so relevant in the case of lost luggage.

Apple AirTag

In the case of lost luggage, the AirTag will send its location via Bluetooth to the Find My app, “pinging” off any other Apple device within its range using the Find My Network. So, if your luggage passes another passenger or airline worker with an iPhone (or iPad or Macbook), it will register its location and notify you via the Find My app

Considering the millions of Apple users worldwide, there is a good chance there will be an iPhone, iPad, or Mac within range of the device. 

Apple AirTag

Security and Privacy

Apple also ensures the utmost privacy when using the system. The AirTag will never store location data and history. While the device piggybacks off Apple devices within range, the network is anonymous and encrypted for privacy.

The app will also notify you if an unknown AirTag is seen to be travelling with you and tracking you without your knowledge.

Can You Use AirTag with Other Devices?

While primarily designed for the Apple network, the device can store essential contact information non-Apple devices can read. 

Android users can utilise the AirTag via the Tracker Detect App, although with limitations. The app was designed to give Android users security to discover if they have an AirTag travelling with them without their knowledge or consent. However, it can also track your AirTags with an android device.

Accuracy and Effectiveness

More expensive trackers that utilise multiple networks – GPS, Bluetooth, and GSM, will be more accurate in real-time without needing an iPhone or Apple device to ping off. But, the AirTag is still a very efficient, inexpensive and effective way to track your luggage. Especially for infrequent travellers who don’t want to sign up for a subscription. 

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Apple AirTag also comes in a 4 pack and has multiple accessories to keep your smart tag in place and safe.

Apple AirTag Leather Loop - (Product) RED

Apple AirTag Leather Loop

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Supfine Waterproof Airtag Holder,2 Pack Air Tag Keychain,Hard PC+TPU Full Body Protective Tracker Case with Loop Key Ring for Apple Tags,IPX8 Airtags Cover for Wallet,Luggage,Cat,Dog,Pets(Black)

Waterproof AirTag Holder

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Apple AirTag Leather Key Ring - Golden Brown

AirTag Leather Key Ring

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Pros

  • Simple to use and affordable
  • No subscription required
  • Compact and water-resistant
  • Unlike the AirTag, it is easy to attach to a bag or keyring – no additional accessories are needed. 
  • Effective in tracking lost items.
  • User-replaceable CR2032 coin cell battery

Cons

  • The Bluetooth technology may not be as accurate as more advanced trackers that use multiple tracking technologies (but still effective). 
  • The battery life is only six months, and many users complain of problems with the battery life being much shorter.
  • Shorter Bluetooth Range than other trackers.
  • Can only be used with Galaxy devices. 

Key Specifications:

  • Subscription Fee: None
  • Tracking Tech: Bluetooth and Galaxy Find Network
  • Batteries Included: Yes – 6 months life span (Replaceable CR2032)

The Galaxy Smart Tag is the same tech as the AirTag but for Samsung users. It does have features the AirTag doesn’t, but in the case of luggage tracking, they are very similar. 

SAMSUNG Galaxy SmartTag+ Plus Bluetooth Smart Home Accessory Tracker and Attachment Locator for Lost Keys, Bag, Wallet, Luggage, Pets, Glasses, Other Items, US Version, 1 Pack, Black

How Does the Galaxy SmartTag+ Work? 

Samsung Galaxy SmartTag+ has a Bluetooth range of up to 390 ft (120m) without obstacles. 

If your tagged item is out of Bluetooth range, the SmartTag + will utilise the Galaxy Find Network to notify you of the item’s location even when you are offline. 

You can also set the Galaxy Smart Tag to make a noise when your phone activates it to locate items. Or you can use the augmented reality (AR) feature for visual guidance. 

The AR feature gives you step-by-step directions to your tracker. The app displays distance and arrows on the screen to guide you, and a glimmering light displays in the area when you are close.

You can also control compatible devices with the SmartThings Feature, such as turning on the lights to your house before you go inside. 

SAMSUNG Galaxy SmartTag+ Plus Bluetooth Smart Home Accessory Tracker and Attachment Locator for Lost Keys, Bag, Wallet, Luggage, Pets, Glasses, Other Items, US Version, 1 Pack, Black

Security and Privacy

The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag has an anti-stalker feature called “Unknown Tag Search.” It will detect if an unknown SmartTag is placed in your possessions or vehicle and is tracking the location.

Apple claims to never store data and history for longer than required to fulfil the purpose. However, Samsungs data privacy seems a little more onerous if you don’t want your data collected or sold to third parties.

It is hard to find their privacy information relating to the SmartTags, and it appears you need to manually request to opt-out of data collection or sale of personal information. You can see Samsung’s Privacy information here

Can You Use Galaxy SmartTag with Other Devices?

Galaxy SmartTags are made exclusively for Galaxy users, so they cannot be utilised by other smart devices, even with limitations. 

Accuracy and Effectiveness

The Galaxy SmartTag + has a shorter Bluetooth range than some other trackers. Samsung also doesn’t have the same extensive community network of devices as Apple’s AirTags and Tile’s trackers – so the Galaxy Find Network may encounter some shortfallings for things like lost luggage. But, it is still an effective and inexpensive luggage tracker for infrequent travellers. 

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Pros

  • Unlimited distance real-time tracking with worldwide coverage.
  • Includes an international SIM card. 
  • Rechargeable Battery life up to 6 days with real-time tracking or 30-75 days in battery save tracking mode. (optional long-life battery available).
  • Uses multiple technologies for advanced real-time tracking.
  • Works on any smart device. 

Cons

  • Expensive monthly subscription unless you opt for a long term contract. 

Key Specifications:

  • Subscription Fee: $19.95 per month (Long-term pre-paid contract option available for around $9.95)
  • Tracking Tech: GPS and GSM Wi-Fi (LTE 4G, 3G & 2G combined)
  • Batteries Included: Yes, rechargeable. 

The best-selling GPS tracker on Amazon, Tracki GPS Tracker is one of the more advanced trackers, using multiple technologies to ensure you are never out of range. It is also one of the smallest and lightest in the GPS range.

How Does Tracki Work? 

Two tracking modes are possible – GPS satellites when outdoors as the primary tracking technology and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi (LTE 4G, 3G & 2G combined) as a secondary backup tracking when indoors.

The GTM/LTE Service connects in over 190 countries providing constant updates on your luggage’s location for up to 3 months, depending on the battery mode you choose. This makes it the best luggage tracker for international travel.

The small rechargeable battery will usually last 3-10 days in real-time tracking mode (every 1-2 minutes) and up to three months in battery save mode, tracking 1-3 times per day. There is also the option for a 3,500mAh battery with six times the battery life.

The app is compatible with Google street view for accurate tracking. 

Get live updates and alerts when the tracker crosses the predefined zones. There are also alert features such as an SOS alert, speeding, start moving, entering or leaving a Geo-fence (pre-determined virtual zone) and low battery notifications.

The unit is easy to set up and comes with multiple attachment accessories, including – A magnet, silicone cover, belt clip, keychain, and lanyard. It has a lifetime warranty and lost, stolen or damaged device insurance.

Tracki GPS Tracker for Vehicles, Car, Kids, Dogs, Motorcycle. 4G LTE GPS Tracking Device. Unlimited Distance US & Worldwide. Small Portable Real time Mini Magnetic. Subscription Needed

Subscription Based Connection 

Tracki operates on an international SIM for unlimited distance tracking worldwide, requiring paid data like a cell phone. 

The monthly subscription fee is for the device’s internet connectivity, use of the vast server platform, live phone support and constant system maintenance. 

You can opt for the one monthly access at $19.95, or you can pre-pay longer-term contracts for discounted monthly fees – six months ($16.95/month), one year ($13.95 per month) or two years ($9.95 per month).

Security and Privacy

The Tracki system is a bit vague regarding security and privacy, but as it doesn’t ping off other devices such as the Find My network, your device is as secure as your cell phone. All data collected by Tracki is covered by the relevant data protection regulations, including the GDPR in the European Union. You can see Tracki’s privacy policy here

It does not have the feature to notify you if another device is tracking you without your permission or knowledge. However, you can use the Tracker Detect App for this. 

There is a feature where you can nominate up to ten individuals to receive notifications from your devices, such as alerts or SOS. The alerts can be via text message (paid service) or emails (free service). This feature is probably not so relevant for lost luggage as perhaps a lost pet or loved one. 

Can You Use Tracki with Any Device?

Tracki is compatible with Android, iPhone, Google maps, Alexa and Google Assistant.

Accuracy and Effectiveness

Unlike Bluetooth trackers, Tracki utilises GPS and GSM technology so you can accurately track your luggage in real-time, whether by satellite or multiple cellular networks. Your tracker is never out of range. 

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Tile Pro Smart Tracker

Tile Pro (2022) 1-Pack. Powerful Bluetooth Tracker, Keys Finder and Item Locator for Keys, Bags, and More; Up to 400 ft Range. Water-Resistant. Phone Finder. iOS and Android Compatible.

Pros

  • Simple to use and affordable
  • Uses Bluetooth technology, the Tile Network and QR code
  • Replaceable CR2032 battery with up to one-year life span. 
  • Compatible with both Android and Apple devices, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Hey Google and Siri.
  • Tap to make your phone ring even when it’s on silent. 
  • No subscription required
  • Light, compact, and easy to attach.

Cons

  • Not as accurate as GPS or devices that use multiple technologies but still effective. 
  • Shorter Bluetooth range than the AirTag (but further than Galaxy)

Key Specifications:

  • Subscription Fee: No. It has a free app, but you can subscribe for a premium service – less than $30/yr.
  • Tracking Tech: Bluetooth, Tile app Network and QR Code
  • Batteries Included: Yes, User-replaceable CR2032 coin cell battery. 

Tile Bluetooth trackers were around long before Apple and Samsung entered the market, and the principle of the technology has remained. Although, over the years, Tile has expanded its range to include Pro versions like this Tile Pro Smart Tracker, the Tile Mate, Tile Slim for wallets and purses and a sticker Tile for things like your remote control or glasses case.

While it also uses Bluetooth and a network to locate items further away, the Tile Pro also has a QR code for a manual location if all else fails. 

How Does Tile Pro Work? 

Tile Pro works primarily on Bluetooth, so you must be within the 400 ft / 120 m Bluetooth range to track your lost item. 

However, if your item (lost luggage) is further away, you can also use the Tile Network by tapping the “Notify When Found” feature. This feature pings off phones running the Tile app and the Tile Network Extenders to locate your lost item and display its location on a map. 

The Tile Pro also has a QR code to store your contact information, which, when scanned by a good samaritan or airport staff, will enable them to contact you.

You can set it to make a noise when commanded by your phone. Or, you can use the Tile to make your phone ring even when it is on silent mode. 

Tile Pro (2022) 1-Pack. Powerful Bluetooth Tracker, Keys Finder and Item Locator for Keys, Bags, and More; Up to 400 ft Range. Water-Resistant. Phone Finder. iOS and Android Compatible.

Premium Subscription Option

The app is free to use, but you can upgrade to a premium plan ($29.99/yr or $2.99/month) for added features such as:

  • Smart Alerts. You will receive a notification on your phone if you leave something behind, so you will never lose or forget an item with a tag.
  • Free battery replacement. A new battery will be sent to you before it expires.
  • Worry-free warranty for damaged or defective devices. 
  • Item reimbursement cover if Tile can’t find your things (for US customers only) See here for details of the coverage

Security and Privacy

Tile Pro has a Scan and Secure feature that allows you to quickly scan and detect unknown Tiles that may be travelling with you without your permission. The Tile Network also operates anonymously.

Like Apple, Tile also has a very transparent Privacy policy never to store or on-sell your information. Information collected is only ever used to provide and optimise the service intended.

Can You Use Tile with Any Device?

Yes, the Tile Pro app runs on Android and iOS systems. 

Accuracy and Effectiveness

Like all the Bluetooth trackers listed, it will never be as accurate as a GPS tracker. However, Tile Pro is still very efficient, inexpensive and effective, especially for infrequent travellers who don’t want to sign up for a subscription. 

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Dynotag® Web Enabled Smart Luggage ID Tag

Dynotag® Web Enabled Smart Aluminum Convertible Luggage ID Tag + Braided Steel Loop, with DynoIQ™ & Lifetime Recovery Service (Electric Orange)

Pros

  • A simple and cost-effective way to ensure your luggage gets back to you if lost. 
  • No batteries or maintenance is required.
  • Easy to set up and maintain records on any type of device. 
  • Subscription is included in the purchase price and offers lifetime support, including free replacement – no matter the reason. 
  • Very durable and highly visible, which is great for luggage. 

Cons

  • It’s not a tracker, so it relies on other people to scan the tag. 

Key Specifications:

  • Subscription Fee: No. A lifetime subscription is included in the purchase price. 
  • Tracking Tech: QR Code
  • Batteries Included: Not required. 

Not quite a luggage tracker, but more of a smart luggage tag; the Dynotag® smart luggage tag is a little old school. It relies on the good nature of other humans but is an effective way of being notified when your bag is found. 

How Does Dynotag Work? 

No app or batteries are required to use this smart tag. You simply create a unique web page through the site to store your contact information or any relevant details you choose, such as itinerary information. 

You can’t track the smart tag remotely, but as soon as someone scans the highly visible tag, you will receive an email with the location where it was scanned. You can then use your phone’s GPS to find that location. 

The person scanning will also receive your contact details on their device. The Access Log records and stores view times and locations for reference. 

You can easily update your information from any pc or device and set unique details for each tag or one ID record across multiple tags. 

The tag can also store itinerary information, which can help airport staff re-route lost luggage faster on connecting flights.

Dynotag® Web Enabled Smart Aluminum Convertible Luggage ID Tag + Braided Steel Loop, with DynoIQ™ & Lifetime Recovery Service (Electric Orange)

Free Lifetime Subscription Included

Dynotag offers a free lifetime subscription which includes: 

  • A free online record system (you can store anything from contact information to documents and photos)
  •  The ability to create “Groups” when you have lots of tags
  • Notification service when the tag is viewed 
  • An unlimited lifetime automated replacement program, no matter the reason. 

Security and Privacy

The unique web page with your details is password protected, and you only store what information you want others to see, so your security or privacy is never compromised. 

Dynotag also uses “Acces Controls” to ensure the information stored is never compromised. 

Can You Use Dynotag with Any Device?

Yes. Dynotag doesn’t require an app but can be set up and scanned from any PC or smart device.

Accuracy and Effectiveness

This system is not a tracker but is effective in helping your bag locate you when lost. It is also maintenance-free and very affordable. 

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What To Look For In A Luggage Tracker

When deciding which luggage tracker is best for you, consider which of the technologies is best for you and what limitations some devices might have.

Durability Of The Luggage Tag and Attachment

If you are attaching the tag to your luggage, you need to consider the attachment. Will it withstand rough luggage handling? Look for durable metal or leather attachments with solid clasps.

Does the tag need to be placed inside a waterproof or smashproof case before attachment, or is it robust enough to withstand rough treatment?

What Technology Does the Luggage Tag Use?

  • Does it use a GPS tracker, Bluetooth technology, GSM, or a combination of these technologies to ensure the device is never out of range?
  • Will you need a smartphone app and wifi to track the luggage tag?
  • Or is it a smart luggage tag that uses QR scanning?
  • You need to decide which is the best technology for you and the style of travel.

Battery Life

If the tag requires a battery, what is its battery life, and how is it charged? Can you reset the luggage tracker frequency to save on battery life?

Is There a Subscription Fee?

Most of the best trackers require a monthly subscription fee. This may be worth it for regular travellers, but for occasional travellers, you may want to check if you can sign up on an as-needs basis. Some trackers do offer this option. QR code smart tags often will have a lifetime subscription built into the purchase price.

The Value of Luggage Trackers

These luggage trackers and smart tags show us that for a small investment, there are many simple solutions to help you track lost luggage faster. Knowing where your luggage is or that it can easily be returned to you gives you a little peace of mind in these days of hectic air travel.

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