If you’ve served in the military or know anyone who does, you’re probably familiar with military dog tags. They are 2-inch-long thin pieces of oval metal that have important information embossed onto them, which you wear on a bead chain around your neck.
There are companies that will make these dog tags for civilians, and these days you can even order them online. One company, however, has come up with a clever way to market them: As luggage tags.
TravelDogTags.com is a very simple site, and they don’t sell a lot of different products. In fact, they really only sell the dog tags, plus the accoutrements that you use the dog tags with.
In my view, the real clever part of what they sell is their “luggage wires.” They are 6-inch-long plastic-coated stainless steel-stranded wire. The ends come together with a little metal twist connector, making these very difficult to accidentally remove.
A Travel Dog Tag in the center is surrounded by a long and short bead chain, luggage wire, and three plastic silencers.
In addition to the luggage wires, you can order your luggage tag sets to include plastic silencers in your choice of color, as well as bead chains. The silencers are rubbery, and you pull them around the edge of the dog tags so that they don’t clang together. The bead chains they sell are like the type you get with a military dog tag (that is, you string the shorter chain through the dog tag, then you string the long chain through the loop you just made with the shorter chain).
You can easily hang your dog tag anywhere on your bag, including on zippers.
There’s a couple of reasons I really like this idea:
Durable – These things are extremely durable. Made of stainless steel, they don’t rust, stain, or corrode, and the letters don’t fade in the sun and you don’t have to worry about the ink running if it gets wet.
Subtle – If you want to avoid the big and bright luggage tags, or the smaller leather ones that scream “I’m traveling!” then this is unusual enough that I think it’s a really good option. Most people wouldn’t look at these and immediately assume they are your luggage tag.
Double-duty – My favorite reason to use this is that it also serves as a regular dog tag when you aren’t traveling. Consider wearing it with the bead chain around your neck (or secured on a shoe string) when you go out for a jog or go out on a hike. If you are in an accident and you can’t easily communicate, they will quickly be able to find out who you are.
The same dog tag that served as a luggage tag a moment ago, is now a regular dog tag on a neck chain.
By the way, the size is small enough that it would work pretty nicely as a real dog tag for dogs, too.
There are a couple of caveats:
Due to the size of the block letters and the size of the dog tags, you are restricted to about 15 characters per line. You can get up to 5 lines, but if you have a long name or long address, you need to figure out how you can shorten things and still have the information be understandable. Although it can handle the “@” sign, most email addresses will be too long to get on a single line.
Also, because the letters are embossed right onto the metal tag, the information is permanent. If you move or change phone numbers, you will need to order a new one.
That said, a luggage tag set is only $5.95. A bargain in this day and age. You can buy kits for everyone in your family and have change to spare.
Product Web site: TravelDogTags.com