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Smart Luggage — Is It Worth It?

The influence of technology has permeated nearly every aspect of our lives, and the luggage industry is no exception. With the advent of smart luggage, we may be witnessing the most significant advancement in luggage since the introduction of wheels. However, like any new invention, smart luggage comes with its own set of challenges. Smart Luggage Travel Technology

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This article aims to provide insights into whether smart luggage is a worthwhile investment for travelers and how to ensure a smooth journey with it.

Defining Smart Luggage Travel Technology

Smart luggage refers to any bag or suitcase equipped with a battery that offers high-tech capabilities. These features, designed to make travel easier, can include charging mobile devices via USB ports, controlling electronic locks from your smartphone, weighing the bag with built-in electronic scales, and utilizing GPS tracking. Some hard-shelled bags even offer solar recharging, RFID-blocking liners for security, and portable Wi-Fi hotspots. The smartest luggage will deliver a combination of these features.

Safety Concerns with Smart Luggage Travel Technology

The Downside

In 2018, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the U.N. International Civil Aeronautics Organization (ICAO) recommended that airlines not allow lithium-ion batteries to be stored in checked bags in the cargo hold due to being a fire hazard. By the end of 2018, the TSA banned bags with non-removable lithium batteries.

The Upside

To mitigate the risk, stricter regulations only apply to luggage containing a lithium-ion battery. Even if your luggage has this type of battery, you can still use it as long as it’s removable.

Key Considerations for Traveling with Smart Luggage

If you plan to check your bag, you’ll be required to remove the lithium-ion battery. Therefore, it’s advisable to purchase smart luggage with a battery that can be quickly removed without tools. If you choose to carry on your bags, the battery can remain only in the overhead bin (if your airline allows it).

Because requirements can vary from airline to airline, always check their website (and any airline you may be transferring with) to verify their baggage policies for both checked and carry-on luggage. Changes can occur at any time. Also, ensure that locks (smart or otherwise) are TSA-approved.

GPS Luggage Tags or Trackers: A Good Alternative?

Newer smart luggage tags on the market are a great option for tracking your baggage and protecting against identity theft. Using a safe sensor, your bag can be monitored via a smartphone app. Tags like Dynotag are waterproof, shatterproof, and have no batteries to worry about.

Trackers you place in your luggage are also a good alternative. These devices find your bag anywhere with a GSM signal and are approved as long as it automatically turns off when out of range, making it adhere to flight regulations. Trackers like Trakdot will provide your bag’s general location and even show you where on the carousel your luggage is sitting via the app.

Consider some of the newer smart luggage that uses AAA batteries that are safe to check. They may lack charging capabilities, but will allow you to track baggage, control locks remotely, and include proximity alarms sent to your phone. For example, check out Heys Smart Luggage.

The Verdict on Smart Luggage

In conclusion, smart luggage can be a great high-tech choice as long as it complies with the TSA’s removable battery regulation and adheres to your airline baggage policies. Avoiding the trouble of scrambling to find open outlets at the airport, being able to track your bag via GPS, and protecting your identity are valuable assets to the frequent traveler. So, we say travel with tech-loving friends — and do so smartly.

 

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