Move over smartwatches — here comes smart luggage.
For veteran road warriors, it's simply not enough anymore for carry-on luggage to be lightweight, easy to roll and roomy. Nowadays, tech savvy bags can weigh themselves, charge your gadgets, and tell you whether or not they've been tampered with — or where in the world they are.
Some of these bags are already on the market, while others are hoping to ride a wave of crowdfunding success. Just in time for the holidays, take a look at some of the more inspired choices on offer.
— By Harriet Baskas, special to CNBC. Follow Road Warrior on Twitter at @CNBCtravel.
Posted 21 Nov. 2015
Billed as "the world's most advanced smart suitcase," the Space Case 1 was funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign. It's also pretty darn smart.
Made by Planet Traveler USA, a division of Hontus Ltd., the case opens with a fingerprint or an app, can be located via a global tracker application, and lets you know how much it weighs. Three USB charging ports are connected to a built-in power bank and there's also a Bluetooth speakerphone system. The carry-on features an antitheft alert, as well.
Want it? Space Case 1 is available as an expandable 20-inch carry-on spinner or a 29-inch expandable check-in spinner, and comes in a variety of colors and styles. Orders are being taken now for an estimated delivery date of February 2016. Prices range from $329 for the carry-on to $379 for the check-in, and from $669 for both.
No more excess baggage fees? The Bluesmart suitcase has built-in power ports and is "connected" with an app that allows you to lock, unlock, track and weigh the bag from your phone. Also, two standard USB power ports and a heavy-duty, built-in battery let you use the suitcase to charge a bag of gadgets on the go.
Another crowdfunding success story, this bag designed by a team of designers and engineers makes its retail debut not in a luggage shop, but at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Design Store.
"Our hope is that the blue accents designed into our smart luggage will one day become as iconic as Louboutin red soles and as well-known as Picasso's Blue Period," said Alejo Verlini, cofounder and Head of Design for Blusesmart, in a statement. "Recognition from such a well-respected institution in the design world is validation we're on our way."
Want it? The MoMa Design store is selling the Bluesmart carry-on suitcase online, and at New York City stores, for $399.
With the help of a multi-functional app, the smart Andiamo iQ carry-on will send travelers updates on the weight of the suitcase as well as travel alerts, antitheft distance alerts and provide charging ports and wireless access.
Other attributes include a removable power pack, a built-in scale, a phone/tablet holder and a slot that holds local SIM cards to create Wi-Fi hotspots.
Want it? Funds to produce the Andiamo iQ are being raised now on Indiegogo. The company hopes to begin shipping suitcases next month. MSRP: $599.
The 1 Voice franchise has extended its already wide lineup of wearable tech into cotton canvas backpacks, weekender and messenger bags — all equipped with removable chargers.
Want it? The Voice F.Y.L. charging bags are available online. The Mapmaker backpacks, Complete Weekender bags, Jorg and Dustin Messengers all list online for $159 each. (Sign up for the newsletter, or like the company's Facebook page, to get a coupon for 25 percent off.)
A new travel company called Away, founded by Jen Rubio and Stephanie Korey, debuts with a powered carry-on. The item is due out in February 2016.
"So often, travelers are bogged down by frustrating minutiae like cumbersome or damaged luggage, dying electronics and lack of organization," the company notes on its website. "Away seeks to eliminate that so you can instead focus on the joys of travel."
Away's inaugural product is a lightweight carry-on with spinner wheels. The organic silk-lined interior has a removable laundry bag and a compression pad system. There's also a built-in battery accessible from the exterior for charging iPhones and other gadgets.
Want it? The Carry-On ($225) will begin shipping early next year. Those who pre-order now get a gift card redeemable for a carry-on and a gold-embossed boxed copy of the book "The Places We Return," featuring travel memories and photographs from a variety of "creatives."
Those uninterested in toting carry-ons or checking suitcases might consider the SCOTTeVEST line of hats, vests, coats and other clothing (including a lab coat). The items are designed with built-in pockets for carrying everything from underwear and pens to laptops.
The popular Microfleece Pullover is back in the catalog with eight pockets, while the SeV System 8.0 has two jackets — a shell and a fleece. When zipped together, it has 39 secret pockets.
Want it? The full SCOTTeVest line can be ordered online. A two-pocket cap is $20; the 39-pocket System 8.0 is $300.