Why AirTags is the ultimate travel companion | CNN stressed


We’re only a week away from Thanksgiving, and thus holiday season is in full force. If it is shopping for loved ones or friends or preparation for the journey, it’s a busy time.

To be honest in advance, I’m good at strategically losing things – or rather losing things in style. (I hope you appreciate the “Toy Story” reference). So when a product arrives, it’s a perfect way to keep track of my belongings – especially when traveling – I’ll add it to my travel bag.

I’ve been a big fan of Apple’s $ 29 item tracker, called AirTag. The long-rumored AirTag product finally launched last spring, and while not the first item tracking to exist, it has two key features that set it apart from the rest to make it the ultimate travel companion: access to the Find My network and Precision Finding technology.

But what makes it so special? Let us explain why and why this product is amazing stocking stopper for the frequent traveler in your life.

The ultimate travel companion

The Apple AirTag is the perfect tool to take with you on your next trip. Its functionality and size ensure that you never lose track of your bag while on the go.

The most important thing to know about AirTag is that it works on Apple’s Find My Network. It’s the same network that runs Find My for all your Apple devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch, AirPods and Mac. It’s a tool that makes it easy to track exactly where your device is, and even plays a tone for easy locating.

It is also the very size of the network that gives the item tracking a leg up. Find My Network consists of over a billion connected devices. So when you walk around an airport and there’s an AirTag in yours luggage, it can be pinged by devices that make up the network and locate yours on a map. In our test, it is more reliable and faster to update than a competing Tile tracker.

Now, in a fairly close area like an airport – e.g. Newark Liberty International (EWR) or New York – Kennedy (JFK) – having so many devices around enables frequent location updates for your AirTag, which allows for more accurate location tracking. The opposite can be said of a rural location in New Jersey versus New York City. The more devices your AirTag can reach, the more accurate and up-to-date the location of the AirTag.

And yes, you do need one iPhone to use AirTag. You can set it up by holding it near your iPhone and using the on-screen instructions to name it and bind it to your Apple ID. Now, from a privacy standpoint, Apple has released updates to address some common issues with smart trackers. You will be notified if your iPhone finds an AirTag near you that is not registered, along with a message if you are traveling without an AirTag registered for you.

Jacob Krol / CNN

During my initial test of AirTag, I flew from Newark to Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) and it was a pretty good test. I put an AirTag in the inside pocket of my suitcase and said goodbye as I checked my luggage. I also had an ia leather loop accessories on my backpack.

In the Find My app on my iPhone, I was able to select “Jake’s luggage” and view it on a map. I could see where my luggage was in real time – still in front of Newark Airport. And even though I did not physically have a line of sight on my luggage, I had peace of mind that it was on its way to meet me at my final destination.

And quite rightly, when I checked it a little later while standing at the gate, the luggage was closer to the plane. As I boarded and sat on my seat rocking a pair AirPods Max, I could see that the luggage was safely under me and a little further back in the plane’s cargo hold – it seemed like I got a better seat than my suitcase. And while flight mode is required while I was on the plane, even as we flew over the east coast of the United States, I could see the luggage AirTag updated in real time.

In the end, it was the peace of mind during the flight that AirTag gave me, and that’s a lot more than what I used to get when I was traveling. That 29 $ AirTag addition lowered my stress effectively. And when it came time to fly and get through PBI for baggage claim, I kept an eye on my baggage in the Find My app. It was a little slower to refresh as I meandered through a fairly quiet terminal, but I could at least understand that my bag was on the ground.

Jacob Krol / CNN

While I was hoping the carousel would have been confusing enough to use Precision search, I could immediately spot my red Outdoor luggage. Precision Finding uses augmented reality, or AR, to give you great directional arrows along with distances to find your AirTag on an iPhone 11 or later. It is quite amazing and is a game changer for item trackers to offer such precision.

If you want to leave AirTag As the ultimate travel companion, it’s worth checking to see if your airline offers its own baggage tracking services. E.g, Delta will keep an eye on your bag and update you via its app for Android or iOS. In it, you can track the bags attached to your itinerary as they are scanned on each part of the journey and arrive through the airport and into the plane.

From handing over your bag at check-in until it is loaded on the plane and then on the baggage claim carousel, AirTag combined with an airline’s bag tracking app feels like a superpower.

Jacob Krol / CNN

The one doom AirTag? There is no built-in keyhole hole as on Chipolo or Tile tracker, which is a shortcoming. Keep in mind that while spending $ 29 on the tracker, you will want an accessory that is specifically designed to make it suitable for travel.

If you have a pocket or a safe place to store AirTag in your luggage, you do not necessarily need additional accessories. But given that it will be attached to your luggage, we think it’s worth investing in a keychain or loop accessory. We have that rounded off a host of AirTags accessories from cords to keychains and even some that you can customize.

One of our favorites is the Belkin Secure AirTag Holder, which physically squeezes the AirTag and ensures that it does not fall out. It will cost you between $ 9.99 and $ 12.99, which is much cheaper than Apple’s leather keychain or leather loop.

The perfect AirTag accessory

If you have to travel with an AirTag, you do not want to lose it in your luggage. Consider this secure AirTag holder and lock it in place on your bag so it will not be misplaced.

Although I have not physically lost my luggage with an AirTag attached, I have used it for a few trips and use one on my keys every day. If you’re good at losing things in style or have a habit of placing things wrong – and have an iPhone – the AirTag makes good sense. And as you do final check prior to holiday travel, it’s worth spending a little more and getting an AirTag alone for peace of mind.

And if you want to see family, you can get four AirTags for $ 97.62 if you feel like giving a gift. If not, get one for yourself for $ 29.99.

AirTags for the whole family

If you want to make sure the whole family is able to track their suitcases this holiday season, consider a four-pack AirTags.

Are you looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as ours best travel credit card in 2021.

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