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What should I put on my luggage tags?

What should I put on my luggage tags?

There are competing schools of thought about what you should put on your luggage tag, but whatever you do put on there, logic dictates that you will be better off with something more substantial than a standard airline paper tag - particularly if you are going a bit more off the beaten path or connecting through several airports (meaning more bag friction). Of course the other problem with airline tags is that you have to fill it out every trip, in the queue, and you're hot, and there's a load to do, and you can't find your pen.

So clearly, the best way to do it and identify your luggage is by use of a permanent tag - and you can't get more permanent than one of our Toughtags. Embossed stainless steel will always be legible and with our proprietry coloured tag housing, will be highly visible for someone trying to reconnect you and your bags.

Your information options

I started off by saying there are competing shools of thought on this, by which I mean that some people don't think you should put your address on your tag - their logic being that if you are separated from your bag, a would-be robber knows that you are away from home and will go and ransack your house. Personally, I don't subscribe to this train of thought - you'd have to be a pretty paranoid person to think there is an international network of thieves waiting to trade information on potentially empty houses. I say potentially empty as who's to say there isn't a body-building MMA fighting relative in residence? Your address (or part of it) is a useful piece of information for a lost luggage official to try and correspond to your name so don't discount it altogether. Nontheless, you do have limited space to use so it's not always appropriate  to put a geographical address depending on the type of travel you do and the contact information you are able to give.

At Toughtags, we have specifically added some new characters to our military embossing machines to enable us to be more flexible with contact information. In particular the most useful ones are the '+' symbol, allowing us to do full telephone numbers with international dialling codes, and the '@' symbol which alows you to put either your email address, twitter handle or instagram handle on to your luggage tags. We thought that giving customers a wide choice would be key in allowing them to customize their tags according to their needs.

And that's what this really boils down to - how to contact you. Surely the easier you make someone's job to get in touch with you, the ysooner you will see your bag again? For example, if you just put "Richard Smith, Florida" on your tag, what level of administrative digging is going to be required to contact you and reunite you? Contrast that with a Toughtag laid out in the following way:

SMITH, R

866-212-0091

RJSMITH74@

GMAIL.COM

FLORIDA, USA

Sample-luggage-tag-layout

So that's a pretty comprehensive set of information there in a small space that gives several options to be able to identify and contact an individual. The fact that it has the country of origin on there means the international dialling code is not essential too.

Alternatively, if you are just wanting to identify a bag for use around town then you could keep it minimal, as in the example below - perfect for a laptop bag in the city for example.

OLIVIA STEELE

LONDON UK

07781 467 934

sample-laptop-bag-tag-info

So in summary........

What should you put on your luggage tag? It depends on your circumstances but we'd recommend something like:

  • NAME (surname at the least)
  • PHONE NUMBER (with your international dialling code if you need it)
  • EMAIL ADDRESS (if it fits, but you could break it across 2 lines)
  • CITY and COUNTRY

But there is no right or wrong answer - have a play on our tag visualizer on the homepage and see what you can come up with!

The story behind Toughtags

The story behind Toughtags

A long while ago we started on the journey of making US military dog tags - and that was a task that was easier said than done for a UK company...... First of all the machines were all in America, they tended to be 110v rather than 240v, and ultimately they were a real pain to actually produce tags. No-one ever thought it viable to make some easy to use, efficient software to talk to the machines so...... in the end we wrote our own! And, after a few false starts and a broken machine or two, we got our heads around the process and the machinery and happily got on with the business of making people military dog tags.

I'd always wondered about the viability of using them for different purposes though, since the stainless steel material and the permanence of the embossing seemed like it could be used to identify more than just a person. Luggage seemed to be the obvious choice, as you would always want a hard-wearing form of identification attached to your bags, and the pathetic carboard tags on offer at the airport had always struck me as inadequate. I found some stainless steel cable attachments and once a coloured rubber silencer (the bit that goes round the edge of a dog-tag) had been added, I thought I had a new product nailed and ready to go.

Not so.

On all the ones I made and gave to friends to try, they all had the same problem - the rubber siliencer would be pushed off the edge of the tag whilst in transit and would eventually fail, leaving just the tag and the cable which whilst servicable, didn't look that great. Having already had a load of professional photography done and a website developed, I was pretty annoyed that the concept wasn't saleable in its current form.

I left it for a while, and whilst travelling in Australia decided to see if I could crack the solution - I sat down at a friend's dining table and drew this spectacularly detailed technical drawing, which seemed to me to be what I needed.

Instead of a rubber surround, it needed to be rigid plastic - and therefore needed a slot at the end for the tag to slide into, and a hole for the cable to go through to complete the tag and secure the plastic housing. I had absolutely no idea about how to make it, so ended up emailing my crappy picture to a load of companies that specialised in injection moulding. Of the ones that responded, they needed a more detailed examination of the tags themselves to be able to do a proper technical drawing for the surround and lo and behold after a bit of money we got to something that looked like this!

It was fun to watch the evolution into something a bit more realistic, until I found out how much it was going to cost to create an injection moulding die for my design…….. So it kind of got shelved again until I got back home, when I picked it up again with a different and more local plastics specialist.

The design was slimmed down a bit, and a panel was added on the reverse to close in the tag a bit more and create a space to put the Toughtags logo and web address. And at that point the trigger was pulled and the order put in to make the dies - which would be happening in China, getting perfected over there, and then shipped to the UK to be put into an injection moulding machine. Whilst that was only a sentence, the process was probably about 4 or 5 months and needless to say, pretty expensive. The final design was looking something like this:

And then the next thing I knew, the dies were getting real plastic put through them and I received a video of it happening:

Quite surreal to see the final element in place given where the process had started, and I'm happy with the result, which is a tough, hard-wearing luggage tag that will look good and last for ages. 

 

So, now for the hard part and letting the world know these actually exist……. If you've found this then head on over to the homepage and customize yourself a Toughtag :-)