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With Covid-19 vaccination numbers going up and the rate of new infections trending downward, we’re starting to feel cautiously optimistic that we might be able to get back to traveling soon. And when we do, we want our bags to be ready to go.
But when we get to the airport, we don’t want our luggage taking a one-way trip to Blah Town. The sea of black carry-ons gliding through the terminal is not only depressing to look at (once the friendly skies reopen, we’re making a promise to ourselves to not be a part of that monotony), it also increases the chances of your bag getting accidentally switched or — literally — lost in the crowd.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to personalize your luggage, so it’s easy to spot on the conveyor belt, while conveying a little bit of style and personality as well. Some of the best luggage accessories double as utilitarian pieces too, to help you easily ID or protect your bag.
According to travel writer Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, it never hurts to give you suitcase a face-lift. “Style — particularly color and customization — is very important to me,” she says. “And when I travel, that attention extends to my luggage.”
But unique colors can be merely take-off points when you’re talking personalized bags. To truly keep your carry-on from falling off the style runway, we believe that a few other touches should be made. From stickers to tassels, here are the some of the best ways for your bags to stand out the next time you go on vacation.
1. Colorful Luggage
While younger brands such as Away and Béis may currently pace the luggage market with their dapper, durable bags, established names like Samsonite aren’t simply laying down on the tarmac. In fact, the 111-year-old company’s Winfield 3 DLX 20-inch spinner exudes utter freshness. You’ll stay on trend because of the carry-on’s 100 percent polycarbonate shell and four-pocket divider panel, but plan to turn a few heads with a bag that’s splashed in a rich emerald, a stunning blue or a polished rose we’re almost certain no one else in baggage claim will have.
2. Vintage Stickers
You know how you never see bumper stickers on Bentleys? Greaves-Gabbadon says the exact opposite approach can help your luggage get looks. If your stickers are cool and have a story behind them, they might actually accentuate your bag. “[My luggage] is covered with stickers from places and resorts I’ve visited,” says Greaves-Gabbadon. “There’s Machu Picchu, Barbados, New York and Grand Cayman, alongside stickers from Belmond Cap Juluca in Anguilla and the White Elephant Palm Beach.”
You too can slap on memories from past trips or create new ones with Etsy’s help. We’re especially stuck on the cute things that companies like MerkleShop and Stickerlots are doing on the site right now.
3. Handle Tassels
Not everyone wants to go the bold-color route or splash stickers on the side of their bags, and we totally get it. In those cases, you might want to try something a bit more understated. May we suggest tassels? Greaves-Gabbadon certainly approves. With bright yellow pom poms on her handle, you can’t miss her strutting through the TSA pre-check line. Be it tassels or carabiners, Amazon has vibrant options, unassuming black numbers and trinkets in a host of shades in between that easily attach to your handle or zipper.
4. Funky Tape
If tassels aren’t your thing, you can still create a unique look on your handles (or side of your bag) with everyday tape. Available in a host of colors, duct tape proves a smart, inexpensive way to separate your suitcase from the travel pack. But when done properly (and with a little precision), the move can still get folks’ attention.
Start with an “X” or striped design with some orange tape. f you’re trying to capture the whole terminal’s gaze, drape your bag in patterned Duck Tape (think: zebra or cactus prints) or cut pieces into your own initials and stick them on the side of your luggage. A bonus: the tape helps you seal any openings shut too, and helps to prevent bag tampering.
5. Personalized Tags
If there’s one place on your bag where you’ve already tried to show some creativity, it’s probably your tag. Still, we’re guessing you can turn up the imagination even more. “I love Etsy for finding personalized luggage tags,” suggests travel blogger Jayme Lamm. “Mine just has my name, but I’ve gone on girl’s trips where we had them each made for everyone. It was such a fun way to travel in style and kick our trip off right.” For your next group outing or solo excursion, you can’t go wrong giving BestSeller Leather’s stylish tags or Little Dot Studio’s engraved beauties a try.