Even luggage is smart these days, so it's out with nostalgia and in with tech. Even luggage is smart these days, so it's out with nostalgia and in with tech.
Life Travel Introducing the world’s smartest suitcases Updated:

Introducing the world’s smartest suitcases

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There was nothing wrong with my old Nokia handset. It was pretty much unbreakable, always worked, and had handy apps like a watch, alarm clock and an addictive game called Snake II. I resisted the temptation and expense of upgrading to a smarter phone for years after they became mainstream.

But when I finally jumped on the smartphone bandwagon, I became a more efficient travel writer. Suddenly I could send emails on the run, book hotels, flights and access online maps.

After a short while I couldn’t imagine travelling without a smartphone, though I’m endlessly frustrated by battery-drainage issues that were unheard of in the age of dumb phones.

Anyone who spends much time at airports will know suitcases have also changed significantly in recent years. The new ‘smart luggage’ offers cutting-edge, head-turning, business-class features like GPS locators, power banks with USB cables and electronic displays.

But – just like smartphones – smart luggage has a problem with the lithium batteries at their core.

In 2018, some of the world’s major airlines adopted a de facto ban on battery-bearing suitcases. The move sent Bluesmart, Raden and a few other manufacturers of smart luggage out of business, and made more than 100,000 smart suitcases redundant.

Yet, to quote a politically redundant proverb, ‘one man’s loss is another man’s gain’. There’s a new generation of smart luggage incorporating removable lithium batteries that passengers can take as carry-on luggage. We profile five of the best.


While everyone is wheeling their suitcases around, owners of Modobags can do wheelies on theirs.

When it was launched in 2017 as the world’s first motorised rideable luggage, Modobag promised to revolutionise the way we travel.

Able to travel three times faster than walking pace, one of these cases turns the half-hour hikes passengers face between gates at mega-airports in cities such as Singapore and Dubai into zippy 10-minute rides.

Because Modobag meets the global size limit for carry-on luggage, it’s exempt from the no-battery rule. For those who like to check their luggage in, a new model with a removable battery will hit the market in March 2019.

The product is also GPS-enabled, via a sold-separately Android-only navigation app, and has two USB charging ports.

But the people who ride them around airports look like utter tools, and Modobags are super expensive – more than two grand – plus another $100 for the app. For frequent flyers who seem to spend half their time at the airports, they might still be a smart investment.

How much? $2050
Info: modobag.com


A suitcase doesn’t have to have a bunch of fancy-schmancy high-tech thingummybobs to be smart. Enter Toursafe, a range of suitcases with theft-deterrent technology.

Made by Pacsafe, an Australian startup from the 1990s, Toursafe luggage features an exomesh skeleton that’s nearly impossible to cut, a patented zip-locking system called Roobar, a locking cable that lets you secure your luggage to a fixed object plus heavy-duty wheels and handles.

Priced from about $250 for a 42-litre carry-on bag and up to $400 for an extra-large 106-litre gear bag, Toursafe luggage is an absolute steal.

If it saves you from being robbed or pick-pocketed even once, it’ll pay for itself maybe many times over.

How much? $250-$350
Info: Pacsafe.com

View this post on Instagram

【🗺New Season. New Adventures.】 . 🚴‍♂️The #Intasafe 15L messenger bag that will get through anything that hits it. With room for a laptop, tablet, passport and more, this messenger features a heavy-duty mesh liner and a stainless steel locking cable, letting you keep those valuables secure on the move. Comes with a TSA-approved lock. #SAFETRAVELS . 📱Shop the style online or visit our Pacsafe worldwide locations to find out more! . . . . #Pacsafe #photooftheday #outdoors #travel #travelgram #travelphotography #travelblogger #wanderlust #instatravel #adventure #antitheft #fashion #lovetotravel #engineering #design #bag #luggage #baggage #backpack #gear #security #airbnb #city #landscape #outdoor #travellife #traveler

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Luggage that’s unbreakable? That’s a big call, but luggage manufacturer Away has pulled it off with its line of carry-on suitcases thanks to a newish material called Makrolon polycarbonate.

A thin, lightweight product with the feel of a sponge, Makrolon is a natural shock absorber in that it bends and flexes under pressure.

Away suitcases also have smart features such as two USB ports (one standard and the other fast-charging), a telescopic handle with two fixed positions and curved edges that look like an iPhone.

These could have been the smartest suitcases of them all if not for one really dumb thing: a battery that can be removed – not with the push of a button but with a small screwdriver that comes with the bag but is destined to get lost.

How much? $310
Info: Awaytravel.com


Digging through your luggage to fish out something you need in a restricted space like the boot of a taxi or in public like a check-in queue royally sucks.

But it’s part and parcel of the travel experience – unless you have one of these slick new minimalist pieces of luggage. Inspired by garage roller doors, the Trunkster suitcase replaces ye’ olde zippers with an uber-cool zipper-less roller entry system that gives you fast and hassle-free access to your stuff whether your suitcase is lying flat or standing up.

Trunksters also come with built-in electronic scales, so you’ll never end up paying through the teeth for excess luggage fees at check-in counters again.

Coupled with a hybrid aluminium-polycarbonate body, phone-charging capability and GPS tracking technology, the Trunkster is arguably the smartest and definitely the sexiest suitcase on this list.

How much? $400
Info: Uncrate.com

The Airbolt

Instead of spending hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on a smart-case, wouldn’t it be even be smarter to upgrade your old dumb-case, which, until you read this story, you thought had nothing wrong with it?

Enter the Airbolt, a travel lock you control with your smartphone. Just download the app, connect the two with Bluetooth and voila … you can now unlock it with your smartphone.

The Airbolt also has an alarm that you can set to activate whenever your suitcase moves too far away from your phone, which can really come in handy for frequent sleepers like me. And it’s GPS-enabled, so you can also track your dumb-case using your phone.

But what if it’s your phone you lose and not your luggage? No sweat. You can still open the Airbolt using your laptop or any other online device. The Airbolt comes with a rechargeable battery that must be recharged … wait for it … only once a year. Take that Apple. Plus it weighs only 60 grams.

The downside? It’s overpriced. Watch this space. Imitators from the Middle Kingdom are no doubt circling.

How much? $110
Info: theairbolt.com