7 of the Best Luggage Trackers, so You’ll Know the Exact Point They Lost Your Bag

7 of the Best Luggage Trackers, so You’ll Know the Exact Point They Lost Your Bag
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So you’ve locked in your annual leave, ordered a fancy new suitcase and sorted out your passport. But maybe, your travel anxiety is starting to catch up to you. It’s been a hot minute since any of us have stepped foot in an airport, let alone foreign soil. For this reason, you might have started to ponder whether you should invest in a luggage tracker or not.

After all, what could be worse than landing in a new country where you don’t speak the language, you’ve had a long, restless flight and all you want to do is check into your hotel and sleep off the jet lag.

But instead, you’re standing at the baggage claim, watching everybody’s luggage circle round and round on the conveyer belt. Even though your suitcase should stick out like a sore thumb, it hasn’t come around the carousel yet.

As the minutes tick by, it’s starting to dawn on you that maybe your bags didn’t make it with you. Cue the panic.

While we sincerely hope that this never happens to you, it never hurts to come prepared. We’ve heard some great stories about how a luggage tracker prevented the above outcome. Here’s how you can gain some peace of mind too.

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How do luggage trackers work?

Baggage claim
Image: iStock/izusek

First, you need to understand that there are three types of luggage trackers, each that use different forms of technology such as Bluetooth, GPS or QR code.

Thanks to the cult status of Apple, most soon-to-be travellers prefer to nab a AirTag without considering how it works. There are a few pros and cons that come with each luggage tracker, especially Bluetooth tags.

You see, Apple AirTags and all other Bluetooth-operated trackers release a secure signal that can be detected by nearby devices through a “Find My”-type network. When put onto Lost Mode, you’ll only receive notifications letting you know where your AirTag is when it’s detected by another device in the Apple (or relevant) ecosystem.

As a result, there are a few limitations here. It means that unless someone with an iPhone or Apple product is nearby, you won’t be notified of its whereabouts.

However, once you’re nearby, you should be able to hear a distinct pinging sound that alerts you to its whereabouts. But your AirTag will only ping when it senses you’re between 15 to 30 feet away.

What does this mean if you’re travelling? In an airport, that’s a little tricky. On one hand, it’ll be helpful if you’re sitting on your plane and about to take off. From your seat, you’ll be able to check if your suitcase has indeed been loaded onto the plane.

On the other hand, if your bags have been left behind at Sydney Airport and you’re over in London, you won’t know where your suitcase is unless someone with an iPhone is hanging out nearby, which isn’t the most reliable way of checking.

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This doesn’t mean the Apple AirTag is ineffective – in fact, most reviews report it does the job nicely. The Samsung Galaxy SmartTag works through a similar process.

But if you want something more precise and reliable, you’ll want to invest in a GPS tracker. For a similar price plus the cost of a subscription, you’ll be able to access GPS satellite tracking to locate your missing or lost items.

The only con is that most of these trackers expend their battery much quicker than a AirTag or SmartTag. While those luggage trackers can last months, a GPS tracker may only last a few days.

The last type of luggage tag uses QR technology to help you find your stuff – but it relies on a Good (albeit knowledgeable) Samaritan finding your bag. If you’ve left your bag behind somewhere, all you need is someone to scan the QR code using their smartphone, which will either alert you to its location or give them your contact information.

Usually, you will be notified if someone does scan the QR code, but in some ways, this presents a certain security risk. Scanners can gain access to personal information such as your first and last name as well as your phone number and email address – information that should be protected when travelling overseas.

From Bluetooth to GPS, if you want to see a breakdown of each luggage tracker and its unique features, then read on.

Best Bluetooth luggage tags

Apple AirTag

Luggage tracker: apple airtag
Image: Apple

There’s been plenty of stories about how well an Apple AirTag allows travellers to track their luggage in real-time. It’s the perfect option if you’re ever been burned by baggage mishandling before and want to know exactly where your luggage has gone if you’ve been plagued by multiple stopovers.

What we love:

  • Uses real-time tracking via Find My network.
  • Battery can last up to one year before needing to be changed.
  • Trackable within 800 feet.
  • IP67 waterproof rating (up to one metre underwater for 30mins)
  • Uses pinging sound from built-in speaker to help you locate missing items.
  • Can input your phone number and email so you can be contacted by th e finder.
  • Can be used to track pets, such as wandering cats.

What we don’t love:

  • Only compatible with an iPhone 11 or newer.
  • Need to purchase a holder separately.
  • Must replace with new battery once depleted.

Where to buy: Amazon ($46.95) | Bing Lee ($49) | Dick Smith ($156 – 4pk) | eBay ($65.99)

Samsung Galaxy SmartTag

Samsung Galaxy SmartTag
Image: Samsung

Don’t have an iPhone? That’s okay. If you own a Samsung Galaxy, you can use a Smart Tag to track your belongings instead. It works the exact same way as an iPhone and has many similar features.

What we love:

  • Uses SmartThings app to track and trace location via Galaxy Find network.
  • Can be used to track pets, such as roaming cats.
  • Features built-in speaker that emits a sound when activated to make it easy to find.
  • Waterproof and dust-proof.
  • Can also be used to control smart home appliances, such as your lights or garage door.

What we don’t love:

  • Compatible with Samsung Galaxy smartphones running Android 8.0 or higher only.
  • Batteries must be replaced annually (or whenever they run out of charge).
  • Relies on Samsung Galaxy ecosystem to be tracked while travelling.

Where to buy: Amazon ($67.15) | Dick Smith ($54.94) | eBay ($52.17) | Kogan ($54.94)

Tile Mate

Tile Mate
Image: Tile

These budget-friendly luggage tags are one of the best trackers in the game, and one of the originals. The Tile Mate even features a three-year long battery so you won’t have to worry about charging it ahead of your next trip.

What we love:

  • Tile app can show real-time location on a map once located.
  • Can be used to ring your phone even if it’s been set to Silent Mode.
  • If Tile is lost, you’ll be notified once it’s found.
  • Features QR code on the back that you can input with your contact information.
  • Compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
  • Can work with Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant and Xfinity.
  • Three year battery life.
  • Trackable up to 250 feet.
  • Water-resistant IP67.

What we don’t love:

  • Battery is non-replaceable, which means you will have to buy a new one once it dies.
  • Dependant on limited Tile network to trace when out of Bluetooth range.
  • Not as durable make compared to other trackers.

Where to buy: Amazon ($59.91 – 2pk) | eBay ($49) | Tile ($69.95 – 2pk)

Tile Pro

Luggage tracker: Tile Pro
Image: Tile

If you’re planning on doing a lot of hiking while you travel, you’ll want one of the most durable options on the market. In this scenario, the Tile Pro is your best bet. It’s weatherproof and perfect if you plan on setting up camp before wandering off on a wilderness trail.

What we love:

  • Can be tracked within 400 feet.
  • Google Assistant-compatible.
  • Battery can last up to one year.
  • Very durable and water resistant.
  • Year-long replaceable battery.
  • Subscriptions also offers free battery replacement.

What we don’t love:

  • Expensive.
  • Requires subscription for out of range notifications.
  • Uses Community Find option via Bluetooth to alert you of Tile’s location. However, this limits trackability to the number of people carrying a Tile.

Where to buy: Amazon ($150.42 – 4pk) | eBay ($44.95)

Best GPS trackers for luggage

LandSeaAir 54 GPS Luggage Tracker

LandAirSea 54 GPS Tracker
Image: LandAirSea

If you want detailed tracking reports to satisfy your Type-A personality, or travel anxiety, then you can’t overlook the LandAirSea 54 GPS tracker. This unique tracker offers both cellular and GPS tracking that can show you where your luggage is from anywhere around the world.

What we love:

  • Accurate GPS tracking world-wide.
  • Waterproof.
  • Will send you detailed tracking reports and logs as it moves via text and email.
  • Can show you your personal belongings in real-time.
  • You can set GeoFence zones, which notify you whenever your luggage tracker leaves a certain area.
  • Can give you speed alerts.
  • Most user-friendly.
  • Rechargeable.
  • Comes with a SIM.

What we don’t love:

  • Requires subscription.
  • Advertised like a spy gadget?

Where to buy: Amazon ($40)

Tracki GPS Luggage Tracker

Luggage tracker: Tracki
Image: Tracki

There’s a reason why this GPS luggage tracker has over 30,000 reviews on Amazon. Not only is it super affordable, but it offers both live GPS tracking and access to Google Street View. It’s also very lightweight and small, which means it can be easily hidden inside your suitcase or even mounted out of the way on a motorcycle.

What we love:

  • Will send you live tracking alerts.
  • Works to unlimited distances.
  • Can access Google Street View for live tracking.
  • International SIM included.
  • Receive alerts in-app whenever it crosses a geo boundary, has lows battery and more.
  • Can automatically connect to Wi-Fi indoors and switch to GPS satellites when outdoors.
  • Accessories included (lanyard, keychain, belt clip, magnet and silicone cover for dog collar)

What we don’t love:

  • Requires a long-term subscription (min. six months).
  • Battery life is quite weak in comparison – only last five days using real-time tracking.

Where to buy: Amazon ($28.88) | eBay ($37.75)

Best QR code luggage tags

Dynotag QR Tag

QR luggage tracker tag
Image: Dynotag

Simple and hard to get wrong, this QR luggage tracker relies on the Good Samaritans of the world. It’s weather-proof, low-maintenance, cheap and you’ll never have to worry about replacement batteries. Just set up your contact information and off you go.

What we love:

  • Every tag is made with a unique QR code that can contain your personal contact information.
  • Once scanned, its location will be delivered to you via text, email or even voice message.
  • Weather-proof.
  • Set-up in seconds.
  • Notifications sent to email.
  • Fairly cheap.
  • No need to replace batteries or recharge.
  • Free user account; no need for subscription.

What we don’t love:

  • QR code must be scanned by luggage handlers to go into Found Mode.

Where to buy: Amazon (from $36.30)

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At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.