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What Are the Different Types of Luggage Labels?

Luggage labels come in various forms, from durable leather tags to eco-friendly paper options, each offering a unique blend of style and function. They serve as a personal touch to your travel gear and a practical means to identify your belongings. Discover how choosing the right type can elevate your travel experience—what will your luggage say about you?
Angela Johnson
Angela Johnson

Luggage labels were used quite frequently during the period of 1900 to 1950. They served two main functions, which were to display the places a traveler had visited and for advertising purposes. Airlines and hotels began printing luggage labels and giving them to their guests. This turned into a very popular trend that gave travelers a sense of pride and gave hoteliers as well as airlines a great vehicle for advertising. There are many types of luggage labels available, including vintage labels, retro labels, and others.

During the 1950s, many travelers used hard-shell suitcases and would decorate them with luggage labels from their travels. The luggage labels became a collection hobby for people along their journeys to document their travels. Each luggage label would represent a travel adventure. The idea began with the airlines and spread to the hotel industry as a form of advertisement. This was a great way to let the world know about an airline or hotel.

Airline travelers typically put put luggage labels on their baggage.
Airline travelers typically put put luggage labels on their baggage.

Vintage luggage labels are considered collectible items and draw a large following of collectors. The nostalgic look of the vintage travel bags from the early 1900s can be considered remnants of an era where many airlines and hotels experienced the height of business. This was a time when the images of glamorous vacations and the fun and fancy-free life were commonly seen in magazines and on billboards.

Luggage labels can help airlines identify and return lost bags.
Luggage labels can help airlines identify and return lost bags.

Retro labels and other types of luggage stickers can come in art deco designs and also have a unique set of collectors. This type of label is self-adhesive and includes destinations from around the world. They represent an era of time when traveling gained in popularity, but they have a new look that is different from the original labels from the 1950s. Overall, the retro labels can add a bit of flair to most luggage sets, although the adhesive works best on harder surfaces.

Today, many travelers place importance on the types of luggage and luggage labels they use. There are many different types that now can be used on luggage accessories as well. Some may be signatures of particular brands of luggage, or others are meant to be fun and stylish. Using luggage labels can personalize bags or even distinguish belongings apart from others, making them easily visible at the baggage claim after travel. There are functional labels that serve specific purposes as well as funky and stylish labels to make a fashion statement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main types of luggage labels used by travelers?

Luggage labels come in various forms, with the most common being paper tags provided by airlines, which include essential flight information. Durable plastic tags are popular for frequent travelers, offering more resilience. Personalized tags, electronic tags, and smart luggage tags with GPS tracking capabilities are also available, catering to tech-savvy travelers who prioritize security and convenience.

How do smart luggage tags enhance the travel experience?

Smart luggage tags, such as those with Bluetooth or GPS technology, provide travelers with peace of mind by allowing them to track their luggage in real-time. These tags can send location updates to a smartphone app, significantly reducing the stress associated with lost or misdirected bags. According to SITA's 2020 Baggage IT Insights, the implementation of smart technology in baggage management has led to a 66% drop in mishandled bags since 2007.

Are personalized luggage tags worth the investment?

Personalized luggage tags are worth the investment for travelers seeking a unique and easily identifiable marker for their bags. They can include the traveler's name, contact information, and distinctive designs or colors, which not only add a personal touch but also expedite the identification process at baggage claim areas, reducing the risk of bag mix-ups.

What are the benefits of using electronic luggage tags?

Electronic luggage tags streamline the check-in process by allowing travelers to update their flight details via a smartphone app, eliminating the need to queue for traditional paper tags. Airlines like Lufthansa have adopted this technology, reporting that it can save passengers time and reduce the likelihood of paper tag-related errors.

Can luggage labels help in the event of lost luggage?

Yes, luggage labels play a crucial role in the event of lost luggage. Properly labeled bags with up-to-date contact information can be quickly returned to their owners. The use of smart luggage tags further enhances this process by providing real-time tracking, which can assist airline staff in locating and retrieving lost items more efficiently.

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Discussion Comments


@strawCake - I don't have any personalized luggage labels, but I think I'm going to start. I like the idea of getting a souvenir from all the places I visit and displaying it on my luggage. I think it would be a fun reminder for me when I'm traveling of all the other places I traveled.

I think this would be really fun for kids too. I'm surprised there aren't luggage labels marketed directly to kids that they can show off to their friends. Kids seem to love collecting things and having something tangible to show for their experiences. I think luggage labels would be perfect!


I don't travel very much, so I don't have any sentimental attachment to my luggage. I've never bought any kind of specialized luggage label-normally I just use the paper label provided by the airline.

These days, I'm surprised specialized luggage labels are even still allowed! With all the threats to national security I'm surprised hanging luggage labels aren't considered a possible threat. It seems like there are regulations for everything when it comes to flying, even liquid! Honestly, I think it's only a matter of time before some of the regulations spill over onto what kind of luggage people can use and how they can decorate them.


I really think that everyone should invest in buying their own luggage labels, even if they can get expensive if you have numerous pieces of baggage to tag. The little paper luggage tags that airlines supply always seem to break off, and on more than one occasion I have nearly missed my luggage in the airport because it had lost its tag.

At most airports you can pick up sets of two luggage tags for about $10, which isn't too bad if you are traveling light. I like that the ones sold come in a heavy duty plastic which is much more difficult to break off.

While the luggage tags sold in airports may not be the most stylish, they are still better than paper tags.


Picking up unique luggage labels is not only a great way to keep your information on your suitcases but it can also be a flashy way to identify your luggage on an overcrowded baggage carousel. There are tons of stores that specialize in selling luggage tags that have bling, fluorescent edging or even eye catching shapes in bright colors. Pretty much any design you can think up is available in a luggage tag.

For myself, I like the fluorescent luggage tags because they are easiest to spot among all of the other black luggage. Nothing is easier to spot than something that is a glowing yellow.

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    • Airline travelers typically put put luggage labels on their baggage.
      By: dutchpilot22
      Airline travelers typically put put luggage labels on their baggage.
    • Luggage labels can help airlines identify and return lost bags.
      By: xcid
      Luggage labels can help airlines identify and return lost bags.