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Don’t Buy Smart Luggage, Buy This Instead

Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock.com

Travelers from all walks of life want to ensure they can bring their belongings with them to all the new places they visit. With more smart items hitting the market than ever, it’s no surprise that smart luggage sounds appealing to tech-savvy travelers. But is smart luggage worth it?

What Is “Smart Luggage”?

Smart luggage is an umbrella term for any bag imbued with smart tech, such as charging ports, hot spots, GPS tracking, or remote app-based controls. Most pieces of smart luggage contain a battery and circuit board capable of powering these high-tech features.

Take a new product from Piaggio—the company behind the famous Vespa bike—for example. It introduced a piece of smart luggage called the Gitamini Robot, capable of following its owner around. The robot does fit on your back as a backpack would, but it also has the added convenience of traveling alongside you as a companion.

Downsides of “Smart” Luggage

Suitcase sitting alone in an airport.
pim pic/Shutterstock.com

Smart luggage is more of a marketing gimmick than anything else. While some smart bags contain more features than standard ones, they come with their fair share of challenges.

The Expense

No one wants to drop a ton of cash on the most luxurious or expensive travel items, especially when traveling and transportation costs are steadily increasing. While some tech-savvy consumers would benefit from smart luggage, most of these bags are overpriced. Plenty of other suitcases and pieces of luggage are less expensive and still make traveling easy.

Hacking Concerns

As more people relocate or move due to the widespread remote work trend, the travel industry is booming and shows no signs of slowing down. At the same time, it’s becoming increasingly easy for cybercriminals to target vulnerable people, and travelers are no exception.

Smart luggage is susceptible to hacks, though it’s not very common. In a recent ITPro article, security consulting firm Pen Test Partners describes how researchers could hack into an AirWheel SR5, a smart bag costing around $745.

Security Issues

Going through TSA with a piece of “smart” luggage can quickly become a nightmare. Most of these bags contain lithium-ion batteries, which are a significant fire hazard, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Passengers with smart luggage may be asked to remove the battery before checking the bag, which essentially removes the “smart” aspect of it.

What to Buy Instead of a Smart Suitcase

Man putting a folded shirt into luggage.

Here are some other travel essentials that are worth the money compared to smart luggage. These products are relatively inexpensive and, when combined, do everything a piece of smart luggage can do.

TSA-Approved Suitcase Lock

Rather than buying a smart bag that could prove troublesome at the security checkpoint, consider purchasing a simple, TSA-approved suitcase lock. Buying a lock grants you peace of mind, as you can remain confident no one is searching your belongings. It’s worth mentioning that TSA can open approved locks with a universal master key, so ensure you’re always following the guidelines of what you can and cannot pack in your luggage.

Master Lock TSA Set Your Own Combination Luggage Lock, TSA Approved Lock for Backpacks, Bags and Luggage, Colors May Vary, 4688D

The Master Lock TSA-Approved combination luggage lock keeps your belongings secure while saving yourself from travel hassle.

Smart Tracker

Smart luggage products often come equipped with GPS tracking capabilities. However, consider buying a smart tracker instead of paying a hefty price for these features.

For example, an Apple AirTag or a tracker from Tile would work well to track your luggage. These trackers show you where your bag is at all times on their compatible apps, making it easy to find it if you ever need help.

Apple AirTag

Apple AirTag is a multifunctional smart tracker that you can use with any of your belongings for peace-of-mind while traveling.

Portable Battery Pack

A portable battery pack is one of the best tech gadgets you can buy if you travel often. These small but mighty battery banks provide power to your devices, keeping you charged while mid-flight or Ubering to your hotel. There are numerous brands of portable chargers you can buy online at retailers like Amazon or eBay, as well as in big box stores like Best Buy, Walmart, or Target.

Luggage Scale

Finally, consider buying a luggage scale instead of smart luggage products. Some smart luggage comes with built-in scales to help you make sure your bags are under the weight guidelines.

However, buying a luggage scale online or at a big box store is much more affordable, such as those mentioned in the previous section. If you ever need new luggage, you’ll still have the luggage scale to ensure it meets the weight requirements.

Digital Luggage Scale Gift for Traveler Suitcase Handheld Weight Scale 110lbs

If you fear overpacking, The Luxebell Digital Luggage Scale is a small, affordable luggage scale you can take with you anywhere.

Travel Smarter By Using a Regular Suitcase

Although many businesses in the travel industry market their high-tech luggage as “smart,” the concept is too good to be true. Instead of overspending on smart luggage, consider buying the four items above to make traveling a breeze.

April Miller April Miller
April Miller is a senior writer at ReHack Magazine with 3+ years experience as a technology writer and editor. Beyond Review Geek, you can find her work across the web on sites like Due, Training Industry, KnowTechie and more. Read Full Bio »