I bought a $29 Apple AirTag to track my luggage while I traveled in July.
My carry-on was unexpectedly "valet checked" on my Delta flight and knowing its location eased my anxiety.
I'll never take a flight without an AirTag again.
For the sake of efficiency, I have never liked checking my luggage at the airport.
And there's no better time to prefer carry-ons over checked bags: Lost luggage claims have surged 30% this summer as anecdotal missing baggage horror stories have inflamed the internet.
Unfortunately, besides practicing the art of patience, there's not much you can do if an airline loses your belongings.
So before you travel in the next few months, it's probably a good idea to think of ways to mitigate the chances of losing your luggage.
Both airline employees and seasoned travelers have recommended using an Apple AirTag to keep track of luggage amid this "wild west" of a travel season.
And this advice has already been heeded by many air travelers — Google searches for AirTags have steadily climbed over the last three months.
Source: Google Trends
One traveler even told Insider's Abby Wallace that she used her AirTag to find her lost luggage carrying $10,000 worth of belongings.
That story was enough to convince me to AirTag my luggage. So I decided to try this hack during a recent three-day work trip where I had to travel via a flight, two long-haul bus rides, and several Lyft rides …
… which were all "perfect" opportunities for me to lose my bag given my chronic bad luck.
Before this lost baggage debacle, I had never felt compelled to try out Apple's infamous AirTags.
I don't often lose my belongings. And before this trip, I associated AirTags with its controversial use for "unwanted tracking" more than its actual function of locating missing items.
But after traveling with my AirTagged luggage, I'll probably never take a flight without the small round Apple token in my bag again, even if I'm just bringing a carry-on.
A single $29 AirTag was easy to acquire: It can be ordered online and either picked up the same day at a nearby Apple store or shipped to your home.
I opted for the former. And because I preordered my little device, I was able to pick up my order within 10 minutes of walking into the Apple store in Soho, New York.
When I got home, I probably spent more time unboxing my AirTag than actually setting it up.
All I had to do was pair it to my iPhone, label it as "luggage" …
… tuck it into my packed carry-on bag, and I was ready to go.
From there, I was able to track my AirTag — and subsequently my luggage — through the Find My app.
During my trip, I miraculously never had a moment of panic regarding the location of my bag.
On my two long-haul bus rides, my four-wheeler luggage was stored with all the other passengers' bags in the storage compartment.
And at my first stop, my luggage was either always next to me, in my hotel room, or checked with the concierge at the hotel's front desk.
While I trusted the concierge wouldn't lose my bag, it was still nice knowing I had the ability to track its location while I was out and about.
The closest I came to worrying about my bag was when I boarded my regional Delta flight from Nashville, Tennessee back to New York City.
Before I boarded, I was required to "valet check" my carry-on bag, presumably due to the lack of space in the small overhead bins.
I don't know where the airline stored my little luggage after I parted ways with it.
And I wasn't reunited with my belongings until after I deplaned in New York and grabbed my luggage from a locker-like space on the passenger boarding bridge.
While I was worried my carry-on-turned-checked bag would get lost in the shuffle of luggage, I felt at ease knowing I had the ability to locate it at any time.
And that's been my general takeaway from this experience.
During my three-day trip, I was never faced with the possibility of lost luggage.
But having the ability to track my baggage's location at any time, especially when I had to valet check it, eased my other baggage (anxiety).
And while AirTagging your belongings won't prevent an airline from misplacing it, the tech could at least help expedite its return, according to anecdotal stories floating around the internet.
And it's that ease of mind that has convinced me I’ll never travel without an AirTag in my luggage — checked or carry-on — again.
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