Six smart suitcases rolling luggage into the digital age

New 21st-century bags are capable of charging your phone, keeping your clothes crisp, and even helping you speed past airport crowds.

By Phoebe Neuman 18/04/2017

Although much of travel has embraced the digital age, luggage has remained decidedly low-tech. Now, joining the ranks of jetlag-fighting airplanes and hotel concierge apps is a new wave of suitcases that are making the trip from point A to point B decidedly more enjoyable.

Established outfitters like Rimowa and start-ups like ArloSkye and ModoBag are introducing 21st-century bags that can charge your phone, keep your clothes crisp, and even help you speed past airport crowds. Read on to discover the six smart suitcases every modern-day traveller should know.

Rimowa Electronic Tag

The nearly 120-year-old German company Rimowa is at the forefront of integrating smart technologies into the flow of travel. Some of the brand's latest luggage offerings — which includes the Limbo, shown here, $US1005 (about $A1325), — feature its new Electronic Tag system that allows you to check in your suitcase from anywhere using an app on your smartphone.

Once checked in, you can simply drop off your bag at any partnering airlines' (which currently include Lufthansa and Eva Air) drop-off stations and continue to your gate. The sleek, durable Electronic Tag cases also feature TSA–approved combination locks that ensure the safety of your belongings once the bag is out of your sight. (available at Rimowa New York and Beverly Hills boutiques; rimowa.com)

Raden

Designed to make travel as seamless as possible, Raden's ultra-lightweight and incredibly strong suitcases effortlessly combine technology, functionality, and style. The minimal cases, $US295 (about $A390) for a carry-on, $US395 (about $A520) for full-size cases, come equipped with two built-in chargers, an integrated scale, and location services that, when paired with Raden's app, will alert you when your bag is about to come off the carousel.

In addition to smart technologies, the cases also feature thoroughly modern design updates like a flexible exterior hard shell and a reversed zipper complete with a waterproof seal to ensure your belongings arrive at your destination unharmed. (raden.com)

BlueSmart Black Edition

Designed to ensure you never lose your luggage again, BlueSmart's cases allow you to focus on your destination—not your stuff. When paired with the BlueSmart app, the recently unveiled BlueSmart Black Edition, $US599 (about $A790), can be remotely locked, weighed, and — in case your bag does not arrive at your destination — located anywhere in the world.

The bag also comes equipped with a USB charge port capable of powering your phone five to six times over. And a scratch- and water-resistant hard-shell body features softly padded pockets to keep all electronics safe and sound. (bluesmart.com)

Arlo Skye x Audi

Tapped by Audi to be part of the up-and-coming brands included in the Audi USA Preferred Benefits program, Arlo Skye's carry-on-size suitcases are studies in stylish and practical functionality. The sleek black-and-red Arlo Skye x Audi case, $US550 (about $A725), puts the design knowledge of the nascent company's founders — former executives at Louis Vuitton and Tumi — on full display.

Described as being "unbreakable" thanks to its anodised aluminium-magnesium alloy shell, the case features a one-touch open/close, near-silent wheels, and an integrated charger with two USB ports. (arloskye.com)

Vocier

Austrian brand Vocier skips the gadgets and gizmos in favour of a revolutionary new system for packing. The company has engineered a range of carry-ons — including the leather F38, $US1195 (about $A1575), shown here — that not only fit a week's worth of clothing, but also ensure that everything arrives looking crisp and pressed.

Each Vocier case features a patented zero-crease suit compartment that gently curves around the interior (where you are meant to carefully store folded shirts and shoes), eliminating the sharp corners that cause your favorited sport coat to arrive at your destination looking more tired than you.

Once at your destination, each removable bag can be unzipped and easily stored, further preventing any unwanted wrinkles. (vocier.com)

ModoBag

Built to make sprinting through the airport to catch your flight a thing of the past, Modobag bills itself the first rideable carry-on. The scooter-like bag is complete with a throttle, breaks, foot pegs, a cushioned seat, and a battery life long enough to carry you through even the largest airport.

Though we'll admit it's not the coolest way to navigate the airport, the bag $US1095 (about $A1445), is undeniably speedy, carrying you and your belongings across terminals at up to 13km/h, all while charging your phone and keeping your electronics easily accessible. Just hope you don't run into (or over) anyone you know along the way. (modobag.com)

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