Have you been traveling by air lately? Planes are more full, security lines are longer, and let’s not forget the constant struggle with…baggage. Well, get ready, because the busiest travel time of the year is fast approaching—Thanksgiving. Last year, 25 million Americans traveled over the Thanksgiving holiday, and to make matters worse, about 80 percent of them flew with dark or black rectangular suitcases.
That’s a recipe for misplaced, misappropriated, or lost luggage. The answer is really about common sense. Forget about style. Think in practical terms.
A distinctive suitcase can speed up the time you’ll spend at the airport and it can help prevent mix-ups during security and check-in. It can also help you spot your bag on the carousel quickly, maybe even discouraging theft. To keep your luggage safe and secure, here are ten ways you can personalize your luggage to make it stand out from the crowd:
1. Use A Unique Luggage Tag
Trade the standard-issue paper airline luggage tags for a big, bold handwritten one, preferably one with fluorescent colors—or even the Bigfoot luggage tag. It will put a name to the bag, and it will do so in a distinctive way. Sasquatch makes for a good laugh and provides easy instructions to baggage handlers.
2. Use Colorful Tape
Wrap duct tape, preferably in bright colors, around your suitcase’s handles. Nine times out of ten, we go for the handles of our bags first, meaning brightly colored tape will be hard to miss during those hectic moments at the baggage carousels.
3. Create a Pattern
Using duct tape (or Duck Tape), you can design a pattern on the front and back of your suitcase. Some ideas: your initials, writing your name on the tape, or print out a big portrait of your pet and tape it down. Though approximately two-thirds of American families own pets, a very select few will use them to identify their luggage.
4. Show Your Artistic Flair
Grab some fabric paint—or even spray paint—at your local craft store, and use your suitcase as a canvas. Paint some patterns, your spirit animal, your family crest, flowers, or whatever inspires you. Or, if you’re using spray paint, you can stencil designs on hard shell luggage—just make sure it’s a pattern and color you can spot from a distance.
5. Get Colorful Accents
Attach colorful ribbons, zip ties, lanyards, fabric, bungee cords, carabiners, or scarves to the handles or zipper ends. The holidays are the perfect time to break out those festive, colorful ribbons.
6. Find a Colorful Luggage Belt
Pick up a luggage belt and tie it around the middle of your suitcase. These are great for keeping your luggage tight while being a colorful addition to the ensemble. Go with one of these if the flashy colors and solutions above are not your style. Luggage belts are a solid conservative option, but still give your bag a distinct flair.
7. Wrap Your Suitcase in Caution Tape
Wrap your suitcase in caution tape or bright plastic food wrap. You might have seen some groups do this at the airport for a fee, but why pay someone else when you can do it on your own? These make a great, if humorous way, to stand out from the sea of dark blue, dark gray, or black suitcases.
8. Buy a Suitcase In a Unique Color
Pick out a bright color for your suitcase—sometimes the uglier, the better. Maybe you don’t have time to spend on decorations and adding bells and whistles to your luggage. This is the easy way out for busy, jet-setting, no-nonsense travelers.
9. Go Retro with Travel Stickers
Take a step back to the glamorous days of travel and add some travel stickers. This way, you can show off where you’ve been, where you’re going, or the destinations on your bucket list.
10. Personalize with Patches
Sew some patches in a visible spot. You can find them online or at a fabric store, and you can either sew them onto soft sided luggage or attach them with safety pins.
With these steps, you can rest assured that you’ve done your part to avoid aimlessly drifting in the sea of 2.5 million pieces of luggage that get lost in the airport shuffle every year. Not to mention, you’ll save yourself some time and effort at the end of your trip, when the last thing you want is waiting at baggage claim longer than absolutely necessary.
For more information about luggage, check out:
- Waterproof Luggage for Winter Travel
- What to Consider Before Buying Soft or Hard Shell Luggage
- Travel Gear: When Two Items are Better Than One
By Omer Harari for PeterGreenberg.com