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Your Loss?

Don't risk losing your laptop (or PDA or phone) on your next flight. Try these labeling tools.

If you've traveled through Denver International Airport lately, you may have chuckled when you saw the big sign over the escalators asking "Got Laptop?" But to the hundreds of travelers who forget their laptops at security checkpoints each month, the reminder is a lifesaver.

But not every airport has a sign like the one in Denver. And every month, thousands of laptops, mobile phones, PDAs and other devices are inadvertently left behind or mistakenly picked up by the wrong person. If it happens to you, how easy would it be for a good Samaritan to return your items? Here's some help:

  • The Extreme Label (www.extremelabel.com) has developed a nearly indestructible label the size of a postage stamp that adheres to any rigid surface. For $10, the New Orleans-based company prints your personal contact information on 28 labels in equally indestructible epoxy ink.
  • Niwot, Colorado-based StuffBak (www.stuffbak.com) offers a more sophisticated labeling option. For about $10, it provides a starter kit of six special labels and luggage tags imprinted with a unique ID number, a toll-free number and the offer of a reward for the item's return. The finder calls the number, and StuffBak arranges to have the item returned to the owner, at no cost to the finder. If your item is found, you pay StuffBak a $15 fee (plus shipping) and any reward you care to give the finder.

While it may not be as permanent, you can always use an indelible marker, tape or mailing labels. Consider all the items you travel with that could be lost: mobile phone, laptop, camera, MP3 player, briefcase, organizer . . . better get marking.


Christopher McGinnis, CNN Headline News travel correspondent, is the author of The Unofficial Business Travelers' Pocket Guide.

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This article was originally published in the September 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Your Loss?.

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