Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Your travel bag probably doesn’t have an Apple AirTag, but it needs one — here’s why

AirTags are tiny, and make losing baggage almost impossible

Apple AirTags in carrying cases

Anyone who has ever had to replace a lost suitcase full of clothing on vacation understands the hassle it can be. Oh, and don’t forget about the shoes, toiletries, and accessories — the cost adds up quickly. Plus, who wants to spend their hard-earned vacation days schlepping to a store to buy a new wardrobe? I feel like I’m not alone in saying that precious time is much better spent enjoying the fruits of your trip planning, relaxing, or exploring. But that’s only one of the reasons why every travel bag you have needs an Apple Air Tag.

Whether your wayward bag is buried beneath a massive pile of lost luggage in a foreign airport or accidentally left behind in the back seat of your Uber, tracking an AirTag may be the best bet you have to track it down. The concept is super simple and nearly foolproof. Slip an AirTag in your suitcase, and you’ll almost always be able to find out where it is. Above and beyond the obvious, there are plenty of great benefits to keeping an Apple AirTag in each piece of luggage when you travel — both checked bags and carry-ons. 

An Apple AirTag on a blank surface
Jonas Elia/Pixabay

Tracking lost luggage with Apple AirTags

Apple AirTags are small discs that can be used to locate things they are attached to. Each tag transmits a Bluetooth signal to an iCloud-connected device paired to an iPhone or an iPad. Then, the AirTag’s location shows up on the paired account’s FindMy app. Once paired, the tag is ready to go and can be placed in your travel bag. 

Be sure to place your tag in a subtle spot within your suitcase or bag. When writing about his personal experience using an AirTag to track a lost bag — with an engagement ring inside — while traveling to Amsterdam, The Manual’s Nick Hilden said it best:

“Apple offers little holders that can be clipped onto a keychain or hoop, but I prefer to bury my AirTag deep in a pocket where it won’t fall out and is less likely to be spotted by potential thieves who might be looking to remove it.” 

With the location of your AirTag right in the FindMy app, tracking down a misplaced bag has never been easier. If you have one inside your bag while traveling and you lose your bag, all you have to do is check the app to see the tag’s location. You can enable “Lost Mode” to alert iPhones nearby that the tag — and the bag it’s in — is lost and notifies that phone to call you. Then, you can communicate with the airline about where your bag is located and work through their process to get it back.

Top view of a man wearing headphones while packing a suitcase with clothing
Vlada Karpovich / Pexels

Why use AirTags to track your bags?

In the initial quarter of 2023, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that out of a total of 113 million bags checked on domestic flights, approximately 721,000 bags were mishandled. Internationally, those numbers are much higher. So, if you don’t want your bag to be one of the many that go unrecovered once rehandled, an AirTag can help.

First and foremost, the cost is relatively low compared to the potential costs of lost luggage. In fact, one AirTag is probably less expensive than the bag you’d lose and need to buy again. A single AirTag retails for $29 at Apple, and four packs are available through various retailers ranging from $69.99 to $99 for the set. Even if you buy one tag for every bag you own, the cost is a one-time expense that is likely less than what it would cost to replace all of your packed belongings should your bag get lost. 

Weighing in at a minimal 0.39 ounces (11 grams) and measuring approximately 1.26 inches in diameter, Apple AirTags are tiny. If you’re prone to overpacking or worry about your luggage exceeding airline weight restrictions, rest assured that the weight added by a tag is negligible. AirTags operate in ambient temperatures from -4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. So whether traveling to a snow-covered tundra or a tropical paradise, the AirTag in your bag will continue to function through the cold or the heat. 

The CR2032 coin cell battery inside is reported to last more than a year and can be changed when needed. The battery itself contains a small amount of lithium — an otherwise banned substance as a hazardous material — but AirTags are approved for use by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and are not banned by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

In addition to tracking luggage, you can add an AirTag to personal items like your laptop bag, backpack, wallet, and keyring. AirTags can even be personalized with engraving of letters, numbers, or emojis at Apple. So, not only does the device’s technology help you keep track of your stuff, but there will be absolutely no mistaking your custom unicorn emoji and birthdate combination for someone else’s.

Concerned about the news reports of stalkers using AirTags for nefarious purposes? Each tag’s built-in speaker now emits a beeping noise when apart from the paired device too long. This feature also helps locate lost luggage, as the sound could notify passersby that the bag is abandoned. 

All told, you won’t regret using an Apple AirTag to track your bags if they happen to get mishandled while traveling. 

Editors' Recommendations

Ashley Jones
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Ashley is a freelance journalist with bylines across a range of online and print publications.
Do you need a passport to go to Jamaica? What to know before your trip
Boats lining Jamaican beach

Jamaica offers an eclectic experience for the modern traveler. As the recognized birthplace of reggae, the island country lets you hang loose and feel the beat. Natural wonders like the Luminous Lagoon dazzle the senses. Unique, flavorful cuisines like rich stews and fresh seafood entice and satisfy. But first, you have to get there.

Typically, traveling to another country requires a passport. But if you're new to the island nation, you might wonder — do you need a passport to go to Jamaica? Here’s what you need to travel there and back so you can experience an island nation like nothing else.

Read more
Do you need a passport to go to Mexico? The requirements vary depending on your mode of travel
Mexico travel: The passport and visa requirements to know
Ocean scene in Cabo San Lucas

If you’re looking for a gorgeous, eclectic destination, Mexico is worth adding to your list. Featuring thousands of miles of aquamarine coastline, deep cultural heritage, and unique cuisines, the country offers an array of rich experiences. 

But what about getting there? Typically, when visiting a foreign country, you need a passport to prove your U.S. citizenship and identity. But since Mexico borders the United States, you might be unsure whether you need one or not. Further confusing the matter are Mexico’s multiple points of entry via the California border or various airports.

Read more
Do you need a passport to go to Puerto Rico? What to know before your trip
What documentation is needed to travel to Puerto Rico?

Do you need a passport to go to Puerto Rico? Planning a trip to Puerto Rico often raises questions about travel documentation. As an unincorporated territory of the United States, Puerto Rico enjoys a unique status that affects the travel requirements needed to enter the area. So, do you need a passport for Puerto Rico? Let’s dive into the details to provide clarity on this matter.

Do you need a passport to go to Puerto Rico? The bottom line
No, you do not need a passport to go to Puerto Rico as a United States citizen. Puerto Rico is part of a group of U.S. territories that does not require travelers to present a passport at the border. However, if you are not a United States citizen, different entry requirements may apply, and it is always a good idea to double-check the details of your specific situation.
Can I travel to Puerto Rico with just my driver’s license?
The short answer is yes. U.S. citizens can travel to Puerto Rico using only a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or state ID card. However, starting on May 7, 2025, if you do not have a passport, you will need a REAL ID to fly domestically in the United States, which includes the territory of Puerto Rico. Without the ID, you can still use a passport.
What documents do I need to go to Puerto Rico?
As long as you are a U.S. citizen, a valid government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, suffices for travel to Puerto Rico. However, make sure you double-check your ID’s expiration date before your trip to ensure that it remains valid throughout your stay in Puerto Rico. 
What islands can you go to with just a passport?
While Puerto Rico may not require a passport, other destinations in the Caribbean do. So, if you plan on traveling to multiple different destinations, make sure you research entry requirements for other islands in the region. 

Read more