The best smart luggage

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

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Traveling can be a joy or a pain, and the luggage you use to tote your stuff affects that outcome. While manufacturers have made advancements in materials and design, suitcases really haven’t changed much. But luggage is finally getting smarter, and the options for connected suitcases and related gadgets – from startups like Away, to market leaders like Samsonite, Rimowa, and Delsey – are beginning to take hold.

From built-in scales to GPS tracking and mobile apps, these innovations won’t make luggage any lighter, but they could make the traveling experience less harrowing. Below are some of our current and forthcoming favorites.

Editors’ note: Airlines and the FAA have new guidelines on smart luggage with batteries. Batteries must be removable, and are prohibited from checked luggage.

Incase ProConnected 4 Wheel Hubless Roller

For its new smart luggage series, Incase focused less on smart and more on power — 20,100mAh of battery power, to be exact. With a USB-C and two USB-A ports, you can recharge a MacBook Pro, or mobile devices for several days. The bag, made of polycarbonate and strong polyester, meets current TSA guidelines on smart luggage, as the battery is easily removable. The 4 Wheel Hubless roller is a stylish carry-on with a minimalist design, and plenty of room for a weekend jaunt or, if you pack wisely, a full week. With the Incase Smart companion app, you can track battery life and the last known location. It’s pricey, but besides good looks, you are paying for high-quality construction.

Read more here.

Buy now from:
Incase: $400

Away Carry-On

You’ve probably seen ads for Away’s hard-shell smart luggage in your Instagram feed or subway ads, but you’ll also see quite a few of the bags on the streets. They have become a hit with consumers, thanks in part to an array of color options and celebrity fans. But popularity aside, the Away luggage is well-made, and it all comes with a lifetime warranty. We also like that you can try it out for 100 days before committing — a great way to experience whether you truly need a smart bag. Available in five options, including one just for kids and two carry-on options, the bags are stylish yet simple, regardless of which size you opt for. And, to comply with regulations, Away has created an ingenious method for easily ejecting and removing the battery.

Read more here. 

Buy now from:
Away: $225

TraxPack

Digital Trends called TraxPack the “smart tank of luggage.” On one side it has a track system that makes it easy to drag up and down stairs. Of course, it comes with some built-in tech, like a GPS tracker, a scale in the handle, and a combination lock with TSA access. Another Kickstarter success story, the carry-ons with the GPS system are now available through the TraxPack website. And the bags come in interesting color combinations to stand out from the black luggage making its way around the carousel.

Read more here.

Buy now from:
TraxPack: $200

Néit Collapsible Suitcase

Not every case has to have a bunch of built-in electronic tech to be smart – or rather, clever. People aren’t in a perpetual state of travel, and the suitcase has to go somewhere when not stuffed with necessities. Néit’s suitcase folds flat for easy storage when it’s empty. The polycarbonate/aircraft-grade aluminum shell folds down to three inches, and even has a carabiner clip so it can hang in a closet. The 360-degree removable wheels are yet another easy-stash feature, so the Néit can fit where other suitcases are a “no-go.” There are both checked and carry-on options, though the most dramatic change in size is the checked bag – it shrinks by 70 percent to three inches flat. And of course, it has a GPS tracker to keep track of it using the Néit travel app.

Read more here.

Buy now from:
Neit: $245-$475

Airbolt

Want to add some security to a bag you already love? That question inspired Airbolt, a Bluetooth-enabled lock that works with almost any bag. Controlled from a smartphone, AirBolt offers a slew of security features, like a proximity alarm that can ring when your luggage gets too far away. Like some other location devices, AirBolt relies on a crowdsourced GPS network, pinging bags based on the last location within range. However, the success of such systems depends on how many people are using it – the more users, the more effective the system. The Airbolt is available now.

Read more here.

Buy now from:
Airbolt: $100

Modobag

Why carry your luggage when your luggage can carry you? It can when the luggage is Modobag, a suitcase that doubles as a motor scooter and has a sweet set of features that makes it fit right in at Digital Trends. It has a built-in seat and footrests for travelers who would rather sit as they make their way through a giant airport complex or the long lines at the Panda Express. The scooter maxes out at a speed of eight miles per hour, and can go about six miles on a charge. Steer with the handle, or pull it up and pull the suitcase on its wheels like a normal bag. Whether ridden or not, it has two USB ports to keep devices charged, and an optional GPS system to keep track of the Modobag itself. The only problem with the Modobag is its weight: 10 pounds empty. At least it has brakes to avoid ramming fellow commuters. It’s set to ship to backers of its Indiegogo campaign in the first quarter of 2018.

Read more here.

Buy now from:
Modobag: $56

Rimowa E-ink Case

Following the development of E-ink luggage tags a few years ago, Rimowa added an E Ink Mobius display to a standard hard shell suitcase. Users send info from their phone to the bag via Bluetooth, and the tag shows everything the airline needs: Departure and arrival points, a scannable bar code, and even the green European Union stripe (for travel in the EU, naturally). The advantage to E-ink is its hardiness and longevity. It doesn’t require a lot of power, so users won’t be stuck with yet another power-hungry device while traveling. The displays use a coin cell battery that’s easy to replace, but the screen only uses power when it changes the display and should last for thousands of changes. The display is also shock, moisture, and temperature resistant. Paper tags just aren’t as tough. The Rimowa Electronic tag doubles as a digital boarding pass, letting some passengers check in on the road or from home, via a partnership with Lufthansa. United, EVA Air, Condor, and Thomas Cook are in the process of testing the tags.

Read more here.

Buy now from:
Rimowa

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