Luggage tags perform three functions: Providing identifying information so airline officials can return a lost bag to you quickly, differentiating your bag from all the lookalikes around it, and confounding travelers who can't figure out how to attach the thing to a piece of luggage. Attaching these onto your luggage or carry-on bag will help you identify it at baggage claim and can provide contact information to others in the case it becomes lost.

The trick is to girth-hitch the luggage tag to your suitcase, duffel or backpack strap, or spinner luggage handle. Even if it looks like the tag's strap isn't long enough to allow this, it'll stretch to accommodate the tag. Read below for the best ways to attach a baggage tag.

Attach the Loop to the Tag

Attach the loop to the luggage tag -- if it isn't already attached -- with a simple girth hitch. Slide one end of the loop through the hole in the luggage tag. Pass this end of the loop through the other end, and snug the resulting hitch down against the tag.

Attach the Tag to the Luggage

Attach the free end of the tag's loop to the luggage or travel bag handle with another girth hitch. Slide the free end under the bag handle so it pokes out the other side. Push the luggage tag through the far end of the loop, which will stretch to accommodate it.

What to Include on Tags

List your cell phone number. Although it's theoretically possible for a thief to track down information about you from this number, it's more important to make sure that the airline can reach you if necessary.

Include an email address as a backup contact method. To avoid using a primary email address, create a free account just for use on luggage tags. Although it is tempting not to put your full name on the tag for reasons of privacy, the airline can identify and contact you much faster if they can match the name on the tag to the ticket.

Some travelers make the effort to get personalized luggage tags, which not only hold all your relevant info but also make your bag stand out on the luggage carousel.

Consider a Backup

Even a sturdy luggage tag can sometimes break off during transit or as a result of rough handling. Consider slipping an index card inside the luggage, with contact information written on it with a permanent marker, as a backup. Airtags are a new invention by Apple that can also be placed inside fo your checked bag, wallet, purse or carry on luggage. You can use the location of the Airtag via your phone to keep track of its location. Other items such as this may be available on websites like Amazon too.

Flights, hotels, rental car, attraction tickets, packing lists: there's a lot to think about when you're planning a trip. No wonder your luggage tags don't make the top of the list. Many people forget about them altogether and opt for the paper tags at the airline check-in, hastily scribbling down their addresses and phone numbers before going through security. This isn;t the sturdiest option for travel gear.

Remember that the luggage tag you print off at the airport desk or kiosk, which you attach to your checked bag, comes with a tear-off luggage ticket. You can present this sticker or ticket at customer service, usually near the bag carousel, in the event your bag is lost as well.

International Travel Tips

Traveling internationally can be completely safe, but using extreme caution is always best when you're far from home. Keep in mind that it's possible you'll come in contact with people who have anti-American feelings while traveling, especially while abroad. Avoid using an American flag luggage tag and don't put anything on the luggage tag that identifies you as a U.S. citizen. Use tags with a flap that covers the information or turning the card around if you can't avoid identifying information.