Matt Villano 2016-09-01 12:28:11
Today’s suitcases and carry-ons are high-tech, with built-in scales, USB chargers and more. Our suitcases are getting smarter. New carry-ons can weigh and track themselves, connect with smartphone apps and offer enough battery power to charge phones multiple times. Travelers no longer need to scramble to find the nearest charging station at the airport or wonder whether a checked bag arrived at their destination, eliminating some of the stress involved with flying. Take the Black Edition from Bluesmart, for instance. This standard-sized carryon has a built-in scale and a global SIM card that enables users to track its location anywhere in the world. It also has a Bluetooth lock that can be controlled remotely through a downloadable app. “The last innovation in the luggage business before this was when suitcases got wheels,” says Diego Saez Gil, Bluesmart co-founder and CEO. “We’ve certainly come a long way since then.” Bluesmart was born out of frustration. Saez Gil, who is from Argentina, was flying home from New York to visit his family one Christmas, and the airline forced him to check his carry-on because it was too heavy. The bag was lost and never made it to Argentina. Instead of getting angry at the airline, Saez Gil vowed to get even. So he assembled a team of engineers and designers, coming up with a prototype so trackable it could never get lost. The team turned to crowdfunding to launch its product, putting it on the Indiegogo website to gather startup costs. Bluesmart ended up raising more than $2.2 million, 2,730 percent more than the $50,000 that was the original goal, proving strong demand for luggage with this convenient, high-tech capability. But the Bluesmart Black Edition isn’t the only tech-savvy suitcase turning heads these days; a number of other smart suitcases have burst onto the market in recent years, too. Here’s a look at a few of the best high-tech travel options that seemingly do everything except pack themselves. The SPACE CASE 1 from Planet Traveler USA boasts a virtual concierge and Bluetooth speakerphone, and sends out anti-theft alerts, with pre-orders starting at $309, at indiegogo.com. FUGU TRAVEL is one of the world’s first expandable pieces of luggage, able to grow from a carry-on-sized bag to a full-fledged suitcase, and features a GPS locater. The suitcase can even expand to the height of a table, acting as a makeshift desk or makeup stand, $299, at fuguluggage.com. A battery beneath the handle on THE AWAY CARRY-ON allows multiple electronic devices to charge at the same time thanks to two USB ports. The suitcase also features a patentpending compression system and a removable laundry bag to separate clean clothes from dirty ones, $225, at awaytravel.com. The ultralight RADEN A22 CARRY, with a sturdy polycarbonate shell, stands at 22 inches and features a built-in phone charger and weight sensor—which helps travelers avoid airline fees for bags that are too heavy, $295, at raden.com. The water-resistant TRUNKSTER CARRY-ON is equipped with a built-in digital scale and USB device charger. It also has a sliding roll-top door to avoid the hassle of zippers, $435, at trunkster.co.
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