The problem with holiday travel?
You may never get where you’re going. Or you might — while your luggage takes its own winter sojourn. Fortunately, a number of promising startups are offering upgrades to intrepid holiday travelers in the way of smart luggage. We’re talkin’ built-in scales, global tracking systems — even Wi-Fi.
Diego Saez Gil, the co-founder of smart luggage pioneer Bluesmart, remembers his inspiration for upping the checked-bag game: “One of our founders was traveling to Argentina to visit his family for Christmas, and he was forced to check his bag. When he arrived in Buenos Aires, the suitcase was missing! All his family’s gifts were in there.”
The bad news? Several of these pieces were announced/hyped last fall, with deliveries beginning later this year. So be forewarned: they may arrive later than you think. But once they do, they’ll never leave your side.
Designed by a team of aerospace engineers, product developers and MIT eggheads, the relatively lightweight (9 lbs.) Bluesmart carry-on connects to your smartphone/watch. From there, you can remotely lock or unlock the bag, weigh its contents and track the bag, both in the airport and out. It even comes with a battery charger. Estimated delivery December 2015
A USB-charging, laptop-tray-slinging, location-tracking and totally collapsible wunder-bag. Even without the tech refinements, the carry-on deserves kudos for its ergonomic handle and collapsible design, which make stowing it in a small space super easy. Estimated delivery February 2016
Space Case 1
Available as either a check-in or carry-on, these polished suitcases feature digital biometric locks, global tracking, a built-in digital scale, a power bank, two external USB charging ports and a Bluetooth-enabled speakerphone. The app even doubles as a virtual concierge, offering you arrival times, gate numbers and the like. Estimated delivery February 2016
Still in design phase, French travel company Delsey is currently testing a smart bag that will (potentially) offer auto-weighing, fingerprint ID locking, inside speakers, built-in battery charger, remote lock check, interior lighting and notifications when your luggage makes it onboard. In development
You’ll stay connected to your luggage in more ways than one. This light aluminum frame houses some solid features: built-in scale, 360-degree gliding wheels and mobile power pack. But most interestingly, it features a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot and access point. Funding begins on Indiegogo this month
Certainly the smartest design we’ve seen in a while, this “companion bag” is built from ballistic nylon and features a unique arched belly design, long ergonomic handle and large, rugged all-terrain wheels. Plus the usuals: tablet stand, a charging station with 2 USB ports and (optionally) a location tracker/proximity detector. Estimated delivery August 2016
Heavily hyped last year as the “most crowdfunded travel campaign ever” on Kickstarter, these waterproof carry-ons and check-ins feature a sliding roll-top door (as opposed to zippers), global location tracking, USB charging, a sturdy full-bag-width handle and a built-in digital scale. While they’re seriously behind on distribution, the brand’s been good about keeping early backers up to date on Facebook. Estimated delivery winter 2015-16
And finally, some accessories:
Weigh-to-Fly is a hanger that doubles as an expandable luggage scale and proximity alarm (April 2016) … Trakdot (available now) is a portable device you stow in your bags that allows you to track your bags remotely … Rimowa and Bag2go will soon offer e-ink luggage tags that quicken your check-in process.