Scouts Tips~Luggage, To Tag or not to tag, That is the question.


Hi Everyone,

Scout here with another Travel Tip. Last time we talked about shipping luggage, the pros and the cons, so if you decided that shipping wasn’t for you then you will need to get your luggage to your destination some other way. In  other words, either by checking it or carrying it on board with you.

Whether you are traveling light enough to get away with just carry-on or you need to check a bag you will need to identify your luggage. I think we all know that when we check our bags the attendant makes sure there is a tag but for carry-on we are on our own.

 Why do we need to tag our carry-on you ask? After all, we’re carrying it , right? Isn’t that what carry-on is?

Well yes and no. First of all most luggage looks alike and unless you plan to be handcuffed to the bag like National Security, you will be separated from your carry-on at various times in your travel. Right off the bat you will need to negotiate security check points and possibly customs. Now if you and your bag get right through security screening together all is good. But what if you get stuck behind someone who is setting off the alarms while your bag sails through the X-ray machine only to sit at the end of the conveyor belt while other bags pile up next to it? Even worse, what if you are selected for closer inspection by the TSA. You will be taken off to one side, maybe even to a separate room while your carry-on languishes at the x-ray machine. Lots of room for a mixup there.

So now you are ready to board. You put your nondescript carry-on in the overhead and settle in. You seat mates comes along and adds their equally nondescript carry-on to the bin right next to yours. Now in the confusion of deplaning you or your seatmate grabs the wrong bag and off you go.

Now lets say you are about to change planes. You get to the next plane and it’s a little”puddle-jumper” .  You are met at the bottom of the stairs (yup no jet way for this little plane)  by an attenadant who tells you that your little carry-on must take the next leg of your trip in the belly of the beast. The bins in the cabin are too small. He attaches an  orange tag but it’s just like the orange tags on all of the other confiscated carry-ons. At your next stop all of these un-tagged bags will be piled near the plane door for retrieval. Now there’s a place for a mix up for sure.

 Is that all or are there other places a carry-on can go astray?  What about transfers? You know, from your plane to your destination be it a hotel or a cruise ship or even on the shuttle just getting to your car. Maybe you’re riding in a bus or mini-van to get from here to there. At this point your bag probably won’t get “lost”  but it could get temporarily mixed up with someone else’s similar looking bag.

So what’s a traveler to do?  At the very least  you can tag your bags with the little paper  tags available at the airline counters but you would be well served to get some of your own. Make them colorful and distinctive, add a ribbon. Some folks put a picture of their favorite  pet on a tag on their bag. Keeps them from getting lonely and makes the bag really identifiable at a glance. (Note to Rocky, I said a picture)


It’s also a good idea to put contact information  inside the bag just in case the bag goes in one direction and the tag in another. A few years ago Dusty  got some bright yellow tags that had a cruise ship on one side. I think she only has one left.  Some just disappeared and last year one of the remaining ones was broken right in half when she retrieved her bag.

Security experts say that you should not put your address on the tags because then everyone will know you’re away. They suggest using a business address and that’s ok but if you want to be reunited with your luggage the best bet is a phone # and/or address or even your itinerary where you can be reached.

Well, that about wraps it up for today’s tip. Here’s hoping you and your luggage, be it carry-on or checked, enjoy a safe and uneventful trip and arrive…together…at your intended destination. You don’t want to be like that TV commercials where the guy says “My me time is when my luggage went to the Bahamas (pause) and I didn’t.”

 Oh and one last note on identifying marks. Last I heard, pet hair is not considered a legal description.

 Until next time, this is Scout wishing you safe travels.

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