Smart Suitcase for the Next-Generation Traveler
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because savvy globe-trotters shouldn’t settle for second-rate suitcases.
By Vignesh Ramachandran
If you’ve peered outside the airplane window as suitcases are being loaded onto your flight, you’ve no doubt cringed as your bag gets tossed like a boomerang into the plane’s belly. That kind of baggage abuse explains why many of us refuse to spend big bucks on a high-end suitcase. But would you splurge on a toughened-up case that comes with high-tech smarts?
Coming soon to the carousel: the Trunkster, a bag with built-in smart features that might just give the standard roller bag a run for its money. The main security feature: It’s zipperless. A sliding rolltop-door design allows for easy access by the owner, but reduces the risk of theft or accidental opening during baggage handling. If airport security has to search the bag, there is a TSA-approved combination lock. Need to juice up your phone? A removable battery can charge portable devices via a USB connection. Perhaps the coolest part — especially if your holiday shopping habits put you at risk of exceeding baggage weight restrictions — is a built-in digital scale. Want to know how much stuff you’re hauling? Lift the bag and the display on the handle shows weight in pounds or kilograms.
Trunkster co-founder Jesse Potash said he and his co-founder, based in New York, created the luggage in 2014, after finding nothing they believed prioritized accessibility. They wanted to “completely alter” the classic case — with zippers, clasps and flaps — for “the modern, minimalist traveler,” Potash tells OZY in a statement. He adds that they didn’t want to overload the user with “as many features as possible” because that would be “superfluous.”
One more feature you can add on? Tracking. Airlines are reportedly doing a better job these days of not losing bags. But for those who want to track their cases there are stand-alone gadgets like the Trakdot or PocketFinder Luggage Tracker. For an extra $40, you can add a subscription-free, removable GPS to the Trunkster.
But smarting up a functional object comes with a downside. “When you have this much technology in a suitcase … there are more things to break,” says Airfarewatchdog founder and world traveler George Hobica. Plus, the Trunkster is all black, and we all know that finding a black-colored bag in a sea of suitcases is like searching for a blade of grass on a football field. Attention luggage manufacturers looking to break the mold: Go bolder with unusual colors and designs.
Trunkster suitcases aren’t cheap — $325 for a 22-inch carry-on, and $350 for a 27-inch checked version, available for preorder (for fall delivery) — but top-of-the-line models from brands like Samsonite can bust budgets too. Before you splurge on a pricey bag, Hobica suggests checking which of your credit cards carries built-in luggage protection and then book your flights with that card. Depending on your credit card’s terms, you might get coverage for a bag that’s delayed or lost by the airline.
And with summer vacations on the horizon, who wants to lose precious beach time waiting for swimsuits and sandals in a vanished bag?