If you're gearing up for your summer holiday or looking forward to flying off for a long weekend somewhere, it's entirely fair that your excitement levels may be tempered by the fear of losing all of your worldly possessions. Or, if you're a light traveller, at least your crucial essentials. 2022 has been dubbed the summer of lost luggage due to the overwhelming numbers of suitcases which have inexplicably gone missing.
According to statistics published by The Guardian via insurer Mapfre SA, claims for stranded luggage have jumped 30% compared to 2019 and social media is full of apocalyptic scenes of piles of suitcases littering airport floors.
One Grazia colleague lost her bag on a work trip, which meant she spent the following fortnight making desperate calls to the airport and airline with which she'd flown. On returning from another work trip a few weeks later, she happened to walk past one of said piles of abandoned luggage, only to find her missing suitcase within the mass. Others haven't been so lucky.
So, how do you ensure your holiday isn't ruined by lost luggage?
What is an AirTag?
One of the easiest ways is to invest in an AirTag. Launched by Apple in April 2021, this little gadget boasts a GPS-free tracking and a Precision Mode for pinpoint accuracy in locating misplaced items. It is, essentially, a tracking device for your suitcase (or anything else you don't want to lose).
How do AirTags work?
Using the Apple Find My app, an AirTag doesn't use GPS to track your lost item. Instead, it uses a chip devised by Apple that creates a network based on peer-to-peer communication between all Apple devices.
Apple has also included NFC Precision Finding in the AirTag. This means that, as you near the location of your lost suitcase, instructions will pop up on-screen, such as '10ft to your left' (this is only available on iPhone 11 and iPhone 12, however).
The AirTag also has a built-in speaker, and this can be activated to help locate an item. A CR2032 battery powers the AirTag, and Apple claims that one cell will keep the tracker running for approximately one year. Replacement batteries are both readily available and affordable.
What are the best AirTag alternatives?
If you don't have an iPhone, don't worry – there are other tracking devices you could use to avoid losing your suitcase en route to your holiday. One of the best is Tile Mate, which uses Bluetooth to connect to your Android phone or tablet. It has a range of 200ft but if you're not within that range, the Tile app will show you where the tracker was when you were last connected. If you still can't find it, you can mark it as 'lost' in the app and crowdsource other Tile users to help you find it.