I REALLY hate the term “smart” when applied to things like luggage. My phone is a “smart” device, so is my laptop, my tablet, and even my watch… Luggage, not so much. But we are stuck with the term so this is the term that we shall use. Sigh.
Smart Luggage became a thing so fast that it is no longer a thing, it is now just a part of life and the airports we pass through. If you have not had the chance to travel with smart luggage, here is a quick synopsis. Smart Luggage incorporates technology or features to make your life easier as you travel. For some, it means the addition of a battery pack that will charge phones and laptops and for others, it may mean the addition of a GPS tracker that will help you find your lost luggage, for others, it might be a motor and a seat. For some, it is all of the above.
Now that we know what smart luggage is, let’s get to packing. Some of us need to pack for a long event and some a short stint. Below, there are bags that will get the job done by hook or by crook. Whether you are packing any number of these 15 items that we said would be life-changing, or just a change of clothes and a laptop, make your luggage be more than just a brick that you drag around the world.
Smart Luggage for Event Pros
If you are a SiriusXM listener like me, you have heard the ads for Away Luggage. They are on-all-the-time. It may be the same for terrestrial radio too and if it is, know that we satellite people feel your pain. That being said, this is by far the easiest gateway drug for meeting and event professionals. Once you have one, you are hooked.
These suckers have an ejectable battery that they say will power a phone five times and based on the battery specs, I would guess this is a bit of a stretch but four times is doable. They also have a compression pad that will allow you to squeeze more clothes in so you can feel even fresherer at all of the amazing conferences that we plan and attend.
A nice touch is the nylon laundry bag that keeps clean and dirty apart which is nice on trips where you are making multiple stops.
Other items to note? How about a lifetime guarantee, 360-degree wheels, and if you have other Away pieces, they all nest together for storage. Comes in two sizes as well which is a nice bonus.
This thing looks like the Terminator of luggage and for any event peeps out there that have ever used a hand truck to move heavy items, you know that larger wheels will get you there with less effort.
In addition to these stair climbing monster truck wheels, this thing comes with a Tile Tracker so you know where your bag is, a large battery with 2 USB ports, TSA locks, and an external pocket for your laptop or tablet. They even have a tracker app that shows you the geo-location and proximity of your bag while notifying you if your bag leaves your vicinity. The only drawback is the cost. $449.00 bucks.
I am going to come right out and say it. This bag might be stupid for travel but AMAZING for on-site use. Imaging throwing all of your crap in this thing and zipping from one end of a convention center to another. Boom. For $299, it is cheaper than a motorized scooter.
Ride your luggage. Not sure how I feel about this or how the TSA might eventually deal with the really large battery this thing has, I mean it is sporting 5 Volt USB ports. That aside, it does have some pretty cool features including UL approved battery, outside laptop pocket, and app with GSM-GPRS Real-Time Tracking, proximity alerts, LED lights inside, YKK Zippers. This thing is like the Rolls Royce of travel bags and in keeping with that, let’s talk about the price. $1500.00. That is not a typo. That and the bag itself weighs 20 pounds or almost 10 kilos. OUCH.
So, which is the best?
There are plenty of other options for smart luggage for event pros out there. Many are still in the IndieGoGo or Kickstarter phase but we as event professionals are a little more pragmatic and won’t go there. Give us cool new stuff but make sure it is tested and already for sale. With that in mind, the Away Bag is probably the right choice in the here and now!