Family Luggage – How to Make Suitcases Easy to Spot


Airport carousels, train or shuttle bus shelves, and hotel luggage storage closets can be a jumble of suitcases. Fittingly, since we operate Sleeps5, travel is one of our favorite family things to do. So we’ve seen many rows, piles, and carts full of luggage.

If you’re like me, and find family travel makes you a bit nervous (click here to read about how we alleviate worries concerning family using public transportation) because of all the things that can go wrong, you’ll find it’s reassuring to know that you’ll be able to easily identify your luggage.

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In a pile of luggage, I feel better knowing that I’ll be positive which one is mine because of the special ribbon I tied on it! Below, read about many ways to personalize your suitcases, including using ribbons, luggage tags, tape, or markers.

A hint: When reading one of the articles linked at the bottom of this post about identifying your luggage, be sure to read through the comments. There, people have posted their own fabulous ideas and you might find the perfect one to work best for you and your family!

Sleeps5 has additional family travel tips articles. – Click here to read Sleeps5’s post about helping kids learn through family travel.


Our Luggage is Marked with Bright Fabric Knots:

The photo above includes three of our family’s suitcases. A decade ago, I read something that advised using bias tape from a fabric store, since it comes in many colors and is very inexpensive.

I selected a bright yellow and tied knots on the handles and some zipper pulls. The knots have lasted a really long time, don’t get in the way of using the handle or zippers, and make our luggage easy to spot. Plus, the fabric knots are easily replaceable when they do start to get worn. 

What is Bias Tape?

If you are not into sewing and don’t know what ‘bias tape’ is, I’ll describe it here: it’s basically a narrow strip of fabric often used for decorating the edges of other items you make from fabric.

The word ‘bias’ refers how the fabric strip is cut from the larger piece of fabric it came from, resulting in a bit of stretch. The word ‘tape’ refers to the long, narrow length; there is no stickiness at all.

But the only thing that matters for luggage marking is the color! Bias tape comes in all colors and even patterns.


Get Some Bias Tape

A package of bias tape is generally very inexpensive, and I needed just one package to mark our 5 pieces of luggage. Another idea is to select a color or pattern for each member of your family.

Click here to see prices at Amazon for bias tape and all the available colors and patterns available. Or click on the Amazon image below.


Find Special Luggage Tags:

You might prefer actual luggage tags instead of fabric ribbon. Luggage tags come in all shapes and sizes, with patterns, themes, images. The choices are incredible. Click on the Amazon link below for comparing colors and styles of luggage tags.

Luggage Tags on Amazon

Online Resource Links – Luggage Labels, Tags, Personalizing:

Wikihow – Includes many free or low cost suggestions, such as making your own laminated tag, using zip ties or ribbons, and more.

Fodor’s – From the Fodor’s Air Travel Forums, read the ideas from the many comments on how others identify their luggage.

She Knows – This article has 10 tips, with great photos about making your luggage stand out.

Peter Greenberg – Travel expert advice with 10 ways to personalize luggage.



Expert Video On Luggage Management:

Here’s a short video, about one minute and 20 seconds long, from consumer advocate site, Elliott and USA Today Travel. It describes how to keep your bag from getting lost, which includes tips about using tags, taking photos, and inserting an itinerary.

Happy Travels,
Sandy Nielsen

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