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Do this one thing if you don’t want your luggage to get lost this summer

luggage on conveyor belt
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The summer of lost luggage. That’s what the summer of 2022 will probably be remembered for (that and the stiflingly hot weather). You have every reason to be worried about checking in your luggage. With most people waiting days or even weeks to retrieve their luggage from airports in Europe, UK and the US, it seems like the luggage conveyor belt loop has itself in knots.

Not all hope is lost though. With the global lost luggage crisis looming over summer plans worldwide, people are turning towards one innovative tech solution — trackers.

Some people have been lucky enough to get their bags in a day or two, others have found their bags thousands of miles away from them, and the really unlucky ones have not seen their luggage in weeks. Adding a tracker to your bag might just make the difference in knowing whether your luggage is at your destination, and can help you retrieve your bag that much faster.

Many people have taken to Twitter, Reddit and other social media platforms to share their experiences and complain against airlines. Airlines on the other hand appear short-staffed and out of their depth, not just with all the lost bags but also in addressing the large number of calls and complaints. 

The bottom line is that if you have to travel right now we would highly recommend not checking your bags because of the chaos at most airports. But if you really do need to, don’t rely on sticking your contact details to your bag — instead, use a tracker to locate it.

The summer savior comes in the form of Apple AirTags. These Tile-like trackers are the most reliable of the lot, and what I personally rely on while traveling.

How to use an AirTag to track your luggage

Apple’s AirTag connects to the iPhone’s built-in Find My app and is one of the best trackers available right now. It has a compact design, so it can fit in anywhere. 

In your luggage, we would recommend putting it inside your bag (rather than using a keychain to leave it hanging) so it doesn’t get damaged. 

Connect your AirTag to your iPhone by simply bringing the AirTag close to your phone. It will then walk you through the setup using the Find My app. The AirTag will connect to your phone through Bluetooth and it will then ask you to name the AirTag. You will then be asked to register the AirTag to your Apple ID and you're all set.

An Apple user setting up an AirTag to work with an iPhone.

(Image credit: Hadrian/Shutterstock)

Once connected, you will be able to see the location of your AirTag on your Find My app.

You can also tap into the Precision Finding feature within the app that uses the U1 Ultra Wideband chip in newer Apple phones to provide more detailed directions on finding lost items.

Battery life is not a hassle, as the AirTag will last you well over a year on a single coin cell battery. 

The range of an AirTag, while listed to be 30 feet, is effectively much wider — if it's traveling close to other iPhones and iPads. This is how it will work in helping you track your bag. As long as an AirTag is within the (Bluetooth) range of Apple's Find My network or anybody’s iPhone or iPad, it can passively communicate with it. 

There are multiple privacy concerns with AirTags though, and Apple AirTag stalking is still a real danger. So we would say, be wary, but if you want to track your luggage this is a good option for around $99 for a pack of 4 AirTags — especially if you have more than one bag to keep track of.

How to track your luggage with Tile

Tile has a whole host of products like the Tile Pro or the Tile Mate to choose from. The Tile Pro (2022) is the new tracker from the company, and it's the best key finder in our list. But it is also extremely capable of tracking your luggage. 

Connect the Tile Pro to your phone using the Tile app. Like AirTag, it will connect using Bluetooth. There is a physical button on most Tile devices that can be pressed for two-way detection. So you can press the button on the device to find your phone or you can press the “Find” button within the Tile app and you will see your tracker's location. You can even play a sound to locate it.

Tile Pro, Tile Mate, Tile Slim, Tile Sticker

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

This two-way tracking is useful for finding your keys or wallet but to locate your luggage miles away Tile, like Apple, connects to a Tile network and you will know on your app even if your bags are not around you.

Tile also claims that it can connect to your phone through the floor of the plane — for checked baggage. This can help determine if your luggage made your connecting flight.

Even at the baggage carousel, when your bag with the Tile inside gets close, the gray circle in your app will turn green, so you will know when your bag is getting close to you. Tile Pro will cost you $34, while Tile Mate is priced at $24.

You can also use some of the best key finders to track your bags like SmartTag and Chipolo as well. Pebblebee also has new accessories to track your belongings that integrate with Apple’s Find My app.

So if you can’t rely on airlines to reunite you with your luggage this summer, you can probably rely on these trackers to at least let you know where your bags currently are!

Sanjana loves all things tech. From the latest phones, to quirky gadgets and the best deals, she's in sync with it all. Based in Atlanta, she is the news editor at Tom's Guide. Previously, she produced India's top technology show for NDTV and has been a tech news reporter on TV. Outside work, you can find her on a tennis court or sipping her favorite latte in instagrammable coffee shops in the city. Her work has appeared on NDTV Gadgets 360 and CNBC.