2021s best smart luggage features

What does smart luggage do?

As covered in the definition of smart luggage — smart luggage is basically any luggage with integrated tech.

In reality, smart luggage now does a lot!

Smart luggage has evolved rapidly over the years. With humble beginnings circa 2015, as impractical — and later banned — heavy suitcases with a battery welded in. Now smart luggage are fully-fledged tech devices in their own right. Here we’ll look at the latest features of smart luggage.

We’ll look at four essential features: what’s useful, what works, and what you need to know before buying smart luggage.

Practical — Smart luggage with removable batteries

removable batteries in smart luggage is a key feature

The bad news is that checking in smart luggage without removable batteries is banned on virtually all carriers worldwide.

This is due to the risk from the lithium-ion battery packs being left unattended in the hold. Regulations have evolved similarly to electric wheelchairs, requiring most batteries to be detachable and carried in the cabin.

Even if you’re only using your luggage as a carry on — where most fixed batteries are allowed — airlines frequently change the permitted sizes of their carry on luggage, and it limits the options to whom you can travel with.

Additionally, if you get bumped off your original flight or there isn’t room in the cabin and your bag needs to be checked in the hold — you could be in trouble.

The good news is that unless you are really plumbing the depths of Alibaba, or page 174 of Amazon, in 2021 it is now virtually impossible to buy smart luggage without removable batteries.

Either way, smart luggage with fixed batteries are a complete no-go, so remove able batteries are the number one feature you want to ensure your smart luggage has.

Keeping track — Smart luggage gps

Smart luggage with GPS has also evolved over the years, however it is still not a feature always offered as standard. It is roughly 50/50 whether the smart luggage you buy will come with inbuilt GPS tracking.

looking at smartphone to track smart luggage via gps

GPS tracking is a handy feature, knowing exactly where your bag is located can come in handy — and not just losing it in the garage! Frequent flyers will know that occasionally bags do get lost, and when booking journeys with multiple legs occasionally bags don’t make the connecting flights. Some airlines will be on the ball and let you know that your luggage hasn’t made the flight, and some won’t. Equally, some will keep the news until the end of your flight so that you don’t make too much of a fuss during the flight!

Previously there was little you could do about lost luggage either way — you were stuck on a flight. However, with the advent of inflight Wi-Fi, with a GPS tracked bag you will now clearly be able to see if your bag has made your flight — and if it hasn’t — begin to fill out the lost baggage forms and compensations claims and maybe even start making arrangements for when you arrive whilst on the flight.

There are two main options now:

  • Buying smart luggage with inbuilt GPS
  • Using normal or smart luggage without GPS and getting an additional smart luggage tag with GPS

Ultra-high-tech — Smart luggage that follows you!

Once something only seen in sci-fi films, thanks to kickstarter and some innovative luggage brands the future is here, now.

Luggage that automatically follows you through the airport uses a combination of bluetooth and NFC to patiently glide behind you — well, technically its following your smartphone!

While this feature looks great, it isn’t very common and it does come at a significant cost. Looking towards 2021, there are only a handful of brands offering self-following suitcases and whether the feature is worth the cost is a matter of personal preference.

The most useful — Luggage that weights itself

smart luggage that weighs itself picture of weighing scales

Saving the best for last, arguable the most useful invention to smart luggage in recent years is luggage with inbuilt scales.

No more last minute repacking on the airport floor.

While several smart luggage add on’s — GPS tracking, Luggage that follows you, even luggage you can ride on! — are nice to haves there is an argument about how often you’ll actually use those features.

With airlines continually reducing and changing baggage weight limits — and offering some pretty heavy penalties for exceeding them — luggage that weighs itself really is the future.

Alongside a removable battery it is the main feature I would recommend. However, if you have found a case that you like that doesn’t offer it fear not. The evolution of smart luggage has also led to a whole world of accessories, and smart luggage straps are an affordable and very useful add on to all luggage types. Smart luggage straps typically offer an additional lock, and weighing scales.