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I love cruising! I know there are probably people out there who don't enjoy it, (thought I maintain these stories might just be made up to scare small children) but for my family (minus my husband), it's our first choice for vacationing. (read more)
I could go on and on about the food, drinks, shops, stops, stuff to see, no cooking, no cleaning, no driving, no worries. You get the idea. We really love it.
BUT, there was one part of cruising that I really didn't love.
The luggage tag process.
This wasn't a thing when we first started, way back 16 years ago. When we booked our first cruise in 2003 (and for a while after that) I distinctly remember the cruise lines sending us a welcome aboard mailer that included sticky luggage tags.
They were long and had adhesive on one side. Kind of like the tags you get when you self check your luggage at the airport, you know?
You'd just loop them through the handle, stick the tag to itself, and call it good. That luggage tag wasn't going anywhere!
When we picked up cruising again, after the kids got a bit older, I was a little confused. Everything was done online, you printed it all from home and brought it with you. No problem, I'm capable, but...where were my luggage tags?
I knew I could print them, and I did. I knew they were meant to be folded and attached, but I didn't just have a stapler lying around at home. If I did have a stapler, there's still no way those tags would stay on through the flight, hotel the night before, boarding process, etc.
Did I need a stapler in my suitcase so I could staple the luggage tags onto my luggage once I got to the port? What if the porters were ham handed with my stuff? They toss luggage around like potato sacks! If my luggage tag fell off, was I going to have to wander down to the place where they keep your luggage when they bust you for bringing on your own alcohol?
Not something I wanted to mess with.
I did mess with it once. My mom and I were taking the kids on a cruise out of Galveston. We'd stayed the night in a hotel near the port just to save ourselves an hour the next day (and to start our vacation early). When I got up to go the next morning I realized I had no way to attach the luggage tag.
Down I went to the front desk where they nicely let me borrow their stapler. I stapled all of our tags and off we went.
But even though we were only driving 5 minutes to get to the port, by the time we got our luggage in the room, our tags were crumpled, ragged and hanging on for dear life.
There HAD to be a better way!
Turns out, there is. It's called a cruise luggage tag holder, and it's absolutely brilliant!
All you do is print your luggage tag on your home printer:
Use your imagination there, I don't have a luggage tag handy. My next cruise isn't until May.
Then you fold up the tag and insert it into your cruise luggage tag holder.
Once that's all tucked in nice and tight, be sure to close the zip loc type seal on the top, so it doesn't get wet in the rain, etc.
Open the locking mechanism on top by twisting it, just like unscrewing a light bulb, and hook it under the handle of your luggage.
Interlock the two pieces again and tighten them, just like screwing in a lightbulb, and you're all set to go! Your luggage tag is in place, not going anywhere, not coming off, ripping, getting soggy and unreadable, etc.
They're reusable, extremely secure, and easily stowed for the next cruise.
If you're a big cruiser, you need this in your life.
Side note - The tags you see pictured are the ones I purchased for Royal Caribbean since that's the cruise line we mainly use. However, we'll be doing a Norwegian cruise in 2020 and I wish now that I'd bought some that would hold all of the cruise line's tags.
Don't do what I did.
Get the universal cruise luggage tag holder. It's okay to have a little space on the sides if your tag isn't as big as the holder, and you'll be set for all your cruises, no matter which line you decide to sail with.