Smart bags make it easier to travel with gadgets


Packing your gadgets is becoming just as important as packing the right outfits when heading out-of-town. Because of that, a new line of technologically savvy products are hitting the market to make it easier to travel with your electronics.

From missing bags to dead devices, travel can be a real headache for Jerry Kallman.

“I travel about 25 to 50 thousand air miles per year,” he said.

It is no wonder Jerry is loves some of the new travel gear hitting the market, like a suitcase with a built-in charging device.

“Having a charging device built into, as an appliance that’s actually built into my suitcase it gives me a home for that charging device so that I’m not forgetting that and I don’t have to hunt for the nearest charging station that’s [sic] invariably is going to be completely filled up,” Kallman explained.

And that is not all. Kate Ryan who represents the Travel Goods Association says the luggage also has, “Its own app that tells you how much your bag weighs, a mobile wifi hotspot and even a place for an international  sim card.”

Ryan says the iQ suitcase is just one piece of high tech travel gear available to consumers.

“Luggage is doing things today that consumers and manufacturers never could have imagined 10 years ago,” she said.

For instance, the LugLoc will locate your luggage through an app on your phone.

“On the app you can zero in on your bags location down to the exact address,” Ryan explained.

There is also something called the eGee touch lock.

“Activate the battery, slide the fob over the lock, slide the tab, and your zippers come out,” Ryan demonstrated.

The ChargerLeash lets you know if you are leaving your charger behind in your hotel room or airport.

CNET Senior Editor Sharon Profis says many more ideas are in the works.

“Most of the companies we’re seeing getting started with smart luggage are very small companies.  In fact, if you go to Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you’ll see quite a few smart luggage projects,” she said.

Because these are new products, Profis also said they may have hiccups to work through, like a tracking system malfunction or other glitch in early models. Also, she suggests you check for expenses beyond the cost of the actual product.

“Now, sometimes the caveat to that is you have to pay a monthly service.  You need to pay the monthly GPS or cellular service because, like a phone, your luggage needs to be able to connect to the internet, so that’s something to look out for when you’re shopping for smart luggage,” explained Profis.

Manufacturers still have to follow TSA guidelines on all luggage, and even the suitcases that unlock through your personal phone will also open with the TSA master key.

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