I didn’t expect an Apple AirTag to feature on my list of personal travel requirements for my three-year-old.

This is digital parenthood in 2024: where we’re well-versed in the use of technology but living in a world dominated by headlines that question the safety of our children, so every tech tip finds a place in our life.

If you care deeply about your family’s safety like me, you probably already use apps such as Life360 or Apple’s Find My, which allows you to track their location with ease.

Enter Bluetooth tracking technologies such as the Apple AirTag, now being used for children who may not have access to their own iOS or Android devices yet.

The Apple AirTag isn’t designed as a human tracking device, but it is certainly favoured among digital native parents.

Disclaimer: “AirTag was designed to help people locate their personal belongings, not to track people or another person’s property, and we condemn in the strongest possible terms any malicious use of our products.” Source: Apple.com.

I recently tried out the AirTag, a stroke of genius in my opinion, as an extra layer of safety, comfort, and ease on an international family trip to a very busy destination.

The primary layer of safety remains keeping children in sight in an unfamiliar environment. And if we’re sticking to basics here, I suggest the anti-lost Wrist strap that came in very handy too; excuse the pun.

However, if the safety of a curious kid is in your hands, you know that losing sight of them could take a few seconds. Busy spaces like airports seem to make the ideal playground for games such as hide and go seek (of all things). The AirTag was a no-brainer for us, which integrated seamlessly into our lifestyle and the Apple ecosystem.

As life would have it, my daughter went off to hide without forewarning at the exact moment I looked into my bag; in five seconds. Like any panic-stricken mom, I shouted out for her until she joyfully peeped from behind a pillar, while my calm-and-collected husband simply pulled out his iPhone to locate her by pinging the AirTag on her wrist.

I love that it’s not complicated to set up and get going. Before attaching the AirTag to an accessory best suited for your child, add it as an item within your Find My Network.


You can share the AirTag with other users within your network, just like we did. Both my husband and I had access to the location of the AirTag and at one point, I was even located with it on my wrist.

We inserted the AirTag into an adjustable wristband strap purchased via Takealot. There are many options such as AirTag keyrings, loops and clips to suit various needs and age groups.

As mentioned, the AirTag operates through Apple’s Find My Network, which utilizes other Bluetooth enabled Apple devices in close proximity to provide near-perfect tracking. It is not a GPS tracker though. In less populated areas, it may take up to 30 minutes to locate, based on the presence of other Apple devices.

We tested it at the Mall of Africa in Johannesburg last week and was unable to track the AirTag effectively as we walked through less-busy stores; this makes it almost entirely ineffective if depended on in a dire circumstance.

A benefit of the AirTag that can’t be overlooked is its battery life. Unlike an iPhone or Apple Watch, the AirTag’s charge lasts for nearly an entire year, which provides significant peace of mind when traveling.

So why and how was I located with the AirTag on my wrist? Precision Finding.

On our second night abroad, I was about to leave the hotel room without any form of contact since I hadn’t yet activated my eSim.

I strapped on the AirTag and just like that, technology wins. You can acquire the general GPS coordinates of the AirTag, but Precision Finding helps you determine the AirTag’s exact distance and direction from where you are standing, if it is within Bluetooth range. Your phone will start to vibrate to signal you’re getting close.

The Apple AirTag is brilliant for international travelers with children, and luggage, but not to be exploited for its benefits. A single AirTag can be purchased for R749 locally, allowing you and shared contacts to track it almost anywhere in the world.

Toddler Travel hack? Absolutely.