An important part of preparing for a trip is packing your luggage and attaching a luggage tag to any piece of baggage you plan to check or let out of your sight along the way. Lost bags are common and having proper identification on your luggage may be the only way to get your valuable property back.
One of the most useful and important pieces of information you should include on a luggage tag is your name. If you are concerned about privacy, simply use your first initial and last name. The airline can likely retrieve your contact information using just your name and the date you travelled. For children's luggage tags, use a parent's name.
A phone number is often the best type of contact information to include on a luggage tag. Consider including your cell phone number only if your phone will be turned on during your trip. Add the phone number of your destination if you can't remotely access your home answering machine.
E-mail is another safe way to label your luggage. Include an e-mail address so the airline can write to you with instructions on retrieving your bag or request additional contact information only if it is needed. Consider using a personal or alternate e-mail address if you're concerned about giving out your primary e-mail address.
Attach your luggage tags using a secure fastener. A metal loop works well whereas leather tag holders can become brittle and break off over time. Metal tag holders are also more difficult for would-be thieves to remove at a baggage check area.
In case your luggage tag does come off, which can happen easily if there is damage to your bags, include the same information on a slip of paper inside the bag. Airlines will eventually check the contents if they have no way of determining ownership, and this information can be your last chance to get your property back.
Make sure that the information on your luggage tags is secure and discrete. Some luggage tags come with a small window that lists the owner's name and a removable insert listing additional contact information. Other tags include an opaque cover that prevents passers by from gleaning too much information.
In general, do not include your address on a luggage tag; if the airline recovers your bag, they will contact you by phone or e-mail to ask where they should deliver the bag.