In a perfect world, all travelers could enjoy the perfect experience while jet setting on airplanes. But as we’ve seen over the years, this is simply not the case. If you travel frequently, you must expect the tide to turn against you every so often. Not the United-type of tide, but general issues that you can’t seem to avoid. Our family has come to the conclusion that in 10 journeys, one…at a minimum, is going to go wrong. Your luggage being misplaced or lost by the airline isn’t common, but it’s also not rare. With the certainty that this does happen, technology has allowed for the introduction of tools to alleviate the concern somewhat. Introducing the Trakdot Luggage Tracker.
I recently purchased the Trakdot Luggage Tracker out of necessity, not to actually offer a review. Over the course of 18 months, we experienced two episodes of lost luggage. One, on an overseas trip to Europe where our luggage was lost for four days and a trip back from the Caribbean. In both instances, there existed that helpless feeling as the representatives scramble to give you any information. Typically, the answers you receive early on are anything but helpful as many times these luggage episodes occur due to delayed or changed flights. interestingly enough on the Caribbean trip, we actually were outside of the plane when we disembarked and watched as our suitcase was brought off the conveyor. Even joking with the employee saying, “We’ll go ahead and take it now”. Well, we should have because only a few minutes later it was nowhere to be found.
The Trakdot Luggage Locator is designed to emit signals when your luggage is within or near an airport location. The device does not use GPS but rather works in conjunction with your mobile phone with GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications). When you purchase the Trakdot Locator (we purchased through Amazon), you are only halfway through the process. You must activate the tracker through the Trakdot website. The fee, paid annually, is $24.99. With the price of the device hovering near $40, you’re looking at an investment of close to $70. This isn’t an eye-popping figure, as long as it works.
A Crash Course in Getting Started
Once you receive the Trakdot Luggage Tracker, the instructions are fairly simple. Visit the website for activation, which includes pairing the device with your mobile phone. Once activated, you can take the batteries (included) out until you need the device. When you are ready to do your final zip on your luggage, you merely place the Trakdot device in your luggage. Press the button until it flashes and that’s it. I must admit I was a little unsure if the device was working properly because the lights that flashed didn’t correspond with the instructions at first. Sure enough, as we neared the airport, I received an email and text alerting me that my bag was in the vicinity of the airport.
For the remainder of our trip, over the course of 4 airports, both in the US and Europe, I received text and email alerts letting me know my baggage was within the area of the airport. It was quite comforting just to know our bags were there. It’s still entriely possible that baggage could be misplaced but to know it’s near was a better feeling than what we had experienced when we had zero knowledge of our luggage location. Had our luggage been lost, I assume I would have still received the email. And , of course, if you’re traveling with more than one bag, you would need additional Trakdots for each one.
Pros and Cons
The Trakdot performed as advertised other than the lighting glitch when we first activated it. On the return flight home it did function as the instructions read, so I’m hoping this was a one-time event. The timing of the alerts were a little sporadic. For instance, when we landed in London Heathrow, it took close to 15 minutes before I received the text, whereas the alert we received in Prague occurred as we taxied down the runway to the gate. Obviously this could also be a network issue with the mobile carrier and since you’re never going to just pop in and out of Heathrow, I chalked it up to no big deal.
The battery life is decent as you are notified in your message how much juice is left. For the entire trip in the air which consisted of 26 hours, the battery went from good to acceptable, never approaching the low mark. The instructions do say to replace the batteries each trip which would make sense and never use lithium-ion batteries which is standard protocol these days. Also, as of now the website does say that Trakdot currently doesn’t work in Japan or South Korea. These countries do not utilize GSM technology so you’d be out of luck.
We discussed several times the idea of purchasing this device after our past debacles with lost luggage so it had obviously weighed on our minds. In hindsight, I am pleased with the operation of the Trakdot Luggage Tracker. It made the flight experience a bit easier on my nerves knowing my luggage was in the same airport as me. For many casual travelers, you may not have the need or desire to purchase the device and subscribe to the service, but for frequent travelers, this or something comparable is a must. Have you used other luggage trackers? Comment below on what has worked or not worked for you.