Smart GPS luggage trackers are super popular right now and for a good reason. Who wants to lose their luggage and be at the mercy of the airline!
With so much tech available to us today, there are a lot of smart luggage trackers out there that can help us keep our luggage safe and put the power back in our hands. After all, you don’t want to lose all your clothes, or an expensive travel laptop (if you checked it in that is). After all, you are not out on a survival expedition with your backpack and tent!
At A Glance: Our Favorite Luggage Trackers
But you might be asking yourself how do these luggage trackers work and which one is the best?
So, with those questions in mind, this post will show you the technology available and in use in luggage trackers and which one is best for you!
Note: If you want to understand how the tech works, scroll all the way to the end of the review section where I go into details.
best gps tracker for international travel
|SEE ON AMAZON →|
Best Bluetooth Tracker
|SEE ON AMAZON →|
Bluetooth & QR Tracker
|SEE ON AMAZON →|
Best Android Luggage Tracker
|SEE ON AMAZON →|
|SEE ON AMAZON →|
Luggage Tag QR Tracker
|SEE ON AMAZON →|
Since the majority of the dedicated luggage trackers have gone out of business, I have been testing small trackers like Tracki GPS Tracker instead. The results have been fantastic.
This is a tiny tracker that weighs only 1.26oz and is 1.75 x 1.5 x 0.55 inches! You can put in any suitcase without taking up space and it comes with a worldwide SIM that covers 190 countries so that you get updated on its location no matter where you go.
What I love about this kind of tracker device is its simplicity. You just charge it, turn it on, throw it in your bag and you are good to go. Of course, you need to make sure it is working when you get it, but there is not much else to do!
There are some useful features you can set that help track your luggage too:
All of this can be set up on the dedicated Tracki App which is where you can watch where your luggage is too.
You do have to be a bit careful with such GPS trackers because the battery only lasts max 3 days when it is moving all the time (when you travel). So adjusting the position updates on the app helps stop this from happening so fast.
You need to be aware that there is a monthly or yearly subscription. It costs anywhere from $9.95-19 per month depending on how long you subscribe. Of course, if you are a frequent traveler I recommend getting the 2-year option as that is the cheapest.
You have to pay for mobile network access because the device talks to the cellphone towers to update its position. This is always going to be the case for any tracking device except for a Tile or Apple Air Tag – because they just use Bluetooth
Apart from that, there are few downsides! And in my opinion, this is best GPS tracker for luggage money can buy.
When Apple designs something, you know it is going to work and work well!
I bought my Air Tags to track a bunch of things (bike, campervan, luggage) and it is one of the best solutions for a Bluetooth luggage tracker for a variety of reasons.
It is super compact and can fit and hide almost anywhere. It is always on (once activated) and the battery lasts for a very very long time (some claim over a year). And when it does go flat, you just have to replace it with a standard CR2032 battery, not something fancy or expensive.
Air Tags are also super affordable and reliable, so are the best suitcase tracker for iOs.
They work by “pinging” any Apple device they see via Bluetooth. So, if your luggage passes another passenger, or airline worker with an iPhone (or iPad or Macbook) it will register its location. This is done anonymously, but its power is the network of Apple devices around the world!
The downside is limited accuracy in terms of “where” it is (until you go looking for it with a modern iPhone). This is something the more expensive trackers help with by using both GPS, Bluetooth and cellphone towers.
Here is a screenshot I took while tracking my just-checked-in luggage at Sydney Airport while flying domestically. I could tell me roughly where it was in the airport. So, if you want to know has it arrived, or is it close, then it does a good job.
When the luggage is getting closer, if you have a newer iPhone, you can also directionally track it with Bluetooth. So, if you don’t know which belt it is on, you can find it. Or if it has been stored in lost luggage perhaps.
However, an Air Tag does not require any subscription or yearly fee either. Just buy it, activate it and you are good to go.
They also come with some other useful features like alerting you when you leave something behind – which is not what you want with luggage, but might work with your carry-on!
If you want a solution that is cheap and simple, this is the one.
The Tile Pro was not built as a luggage tracker but it’s so small and versatile it can certainly be used as one.
It only uses Bluetooth technology so you need to be quite close to the device to find it – 150m or 400ft. However, they do allow you to make use of the “tile network” which means that other tile users can anonymously tell if when they are near your device. So, even if your luggage goes “wild” you might still be able to find it. This is the functionality Apple more or less copied for the Air Tag.
This is more of a “specific location” device and not so much of a “did my luggage arrive” device like the others above. In that way, it really depends on what you want a tracker for.
Or, you could use this as a bit of extra security to the Trakdot above which does not come with Bluetooth. Especially since Tiles are pretty cheap (around $20-30).
The Tile system is quite simple and again comes with an accompanying app to help you locate the “thing” it is used with. Its accuracy varies depending on who you talk to, but it’s a good addition to your luggage security, especially if you have expensive equipment. (Think camera gear, drones, skis, surfboard, etc).
Because it is meant to be used as a phone, keys, or pet tracker it also comes with an alert sound that you can activate to help you find what you have placed the Tile on.
The battery lasts about a year and is replaceable – they use a CR2032 battery, which is a standard size you can get almost anywhere.
You can also get them in 1, 2 or 4 packs, or if you want to spend a little less, you can get the standard model which has less range (around 200ft).
They also have a QR code like the Dyno Tag (more on that below) so if you hang it on your luggage tag, you have two ways it can be found!
When the Air Tag came out it was only a matter of time before Samsung released the Galaxy Smart Tag Plus. It is also a very small plastic tag that uses the Samsung Galaxy network together with Bluetooth to track anything you like.
I won’t bore you with the details because if you have read the Air Tag review above you know how it works. However, it is a good suitcase tracker for a low cost and a great option for Android users who have a Sumsung Galaxy.
Warning: This only works with the Samsung Galaxy and not all Samsung phones or Android phones.
There is also the issue of Bluetooth range with a limit of 800ft, and as I experienced with the Air Tag, it is great for “rough” locating, but nothing super accurate. So, if you just need to know your luggage arrived in the plane with you, it’s a great option.
The LandAirSea 54 GPS Tracker is another option people often buy, but for me, it is not ideal for air travel.
First, it does not turn off when you are flying, which is often against airline rules.
Second, it has a strong magnet which is not something you want around other electronics, especially when you travel.
It is actually designed to track things on the ground and certainly works well, but it is not the luggage tracker of choice.
The DynoTag, is more of an old-school method. Like a luggage tag, only a lot more reliable. Luxury luggage brands like Tumi actually use this kind of thing on their luggage to help their customers find their luggage.
The DynoTag is not connected to the web/GPS – instead, it requires someone to find your bag, scan the code, and then you can see where it is online. So, not really a luggage tracker, but rather a way for anyone to register your bag as found.
This is of course the least you can do to ensure your luggage does not get lost, but you are still left waiting. I would combine it with an Air Tag or Tile given how cheap they are.
There are a few different technologies to consider when looking at GPS tracker for luggage and they are:
Most suitcase trackers use one or two of these technologies and they each have their pros and cons.
Let’s take a look at each one so you know what to be on the lookout for.
GPS luggage trackers might seem one of the best options because they include a GPS chip and can be tracked anywhere in the world.
GPS works almost anywhere and is incredibly accurate, but it does have a downside – it can be blocked quite easily by natural objects (trees, mountains etc) and also by buildings.
And this is where the major disadvantage of GPS luggage trackers comes in…
When you need your tracker to work you are probably standing in the airport terminal wondering where your luggage is.
So, you are in a building. And, unfortunately, you might not be able to track your luggage because of poor GPS coverage!
The upside is that GPS tracking devices are not dependent on any local technology (ie. whether your tracker works in the country you are in) or on proximity (like with Bluetooth – more on that below).
Mobile or GSM luggage trackers get around the GPS coverage problem by using the local mobile network to help track your luggage.
The same way the FBI can pinpoint a criminal via cell towers (triangulation), these devices can be found when they are in the range of mobile towers.
And, it will work inside the airport terminal – just like your phone does!
The downside is that the country you are in has to support the SIM chip in the device (usually a GSM-based chip).
Currently, two countries that don’t support GSM are:
The rest of the world should not be a problem!
Some trackers use only these technologies or use them in combination with Mobile to try to give you more options and accuracy.
Bluetooth typically only works within 30 meters (100 feet) of your phone, although some devices have ways to boost this.
So this is a great option when you are close to your luggage but trying to pinpoint it. When GSM or GPS is not accurate enough, this is a great addition.
Depending on which of the three main technologies your tracker has, they all operate a little differently.
GSM trackers use mobile towers to locate and triangulate the device, so are not super accurate. But they do give you a rough idea of where the tracker is.
GPS trackers are far more accurate because they use very dependable satellites just as your car and phone do. However, when tracking your luggage specifically it depends on the software/app and tech used by the manufacturer. GPS itself can be accurate down to a number of feet, however, you are likely to need Bluetooth to locate your luggage inside an airport hall.
There are not currently any specifically TSA-approved luggage trackers. However, the TSA does allow GPS technology onto a plane and has not listed luggage trackers as something you cannot bring aboard.
If you have expensive items in your luggage or your luggage itself is worth a lot of money then a luggage tracker is worth it. If you just want peace of mind, then you can buy a cheaper Bluetooth tracker like an AirTag or Tile as they are a lot cheaper.
Most luggage trackers with an App work on Android devices. This includes both the Lugloc and Trackdot trackers as well as the Bluetooth tracker from Tile.
Yes, there are other products and options on the market, but from what I have been able to find, nothing really worth adding to this review since I wrote it a year ago (today is April 2018).
Various companies have come out with trackers, but there are too many bad reviews – Victorinox & 1st Anti-Theft Tracker. I am surprised that Victorinox was unable to come up with something good as they are well-known here (in Switzerland where I am) and around the world for their quality knives and products.
You could also try something like a GPS tracker that is not specifically designed for luggage tracking. They are relatively cheap and do the job, they just don’t have the extra features like proximity tracking (Bluetooth) and Airplane mode to put it to sleep until you land.
Here is an example, the LOC8ING:
Both the Lugloc and Trackdot devices are only meant to keep approximate track of your luggage and not follow it like the FBI in the movies. Keep that in mind.
If you just want a cheap and easy tracker without all the fills, you can’t beat an Air Tag.
However, for simple peace of mind, especially when dealing with lost luggage or expensive items (golf clubs, ski bags, etc) it might be worth the investment of a dedicated tracker. And, you can always throw in a Tile or Air Tag to give you a little more security using their Bluetooth app!