A beautiful custom print suitcase or a SmartBag? What would you prefer to carry-on?

In today’s world, everything must be smart. Product designers, entrepreneurs and all those in between are looking to see how they can apply ‘smart’ to a product regardless of whether it needs to be smart.

When it comes to luggage, I personally just need mine to look good, to be of good quality and easy to use. I guess that was the motivation behind starting Carry On Watson which creates custom print carry-on luggage – more focus on form than unnecessary functionalities.  

But with competition rife – and a homogenous product to start with, everyone is trying to get the edge. Technology is moving at a rate of knots and the humble travel bag has been picked up in the whirlwind of excitement and has inherited a huge number of doodads, gizmo’s and gadgets to entice travellers to think that a bag should be doing so much more than just carrying your stuff.

So, here’s an overview of the top gizmo’s now being built into luggage (many pretty ridiculous!) - 

- Battery Packs to recharge your phone (Use a portable one or one of the many powerpoints and free charging stations at airports now)
- GPS tracking – (handy if the GPS works, or you actually lose your bag. Numbers on that are dropping!) 
- Location sensors so you know when your luggage is coming out on the carousel OR if someone picks it up just before you
- In-built scale (this could be handy)
- Proximity alarms which rings if your luggage gets too far out of your proximity (It's not a child?!?)
- Luggage that doubles as a motor scooter (8 miles per hour, because I know you were wondering!)
- Built in shelf system (the in-built shevles would completely weigh down the bag)
- Electronic screen on bag replacing the traditional hand-written luggage tag. (this could work)
- Built in LED’s for a cyclist smartbackpack (specialist equipment here and I'm not a cyclist)
- Built in pump to up-size your luggage (just buy a bigger bag)
- Built in scooter to get yourself from one end of the airport to the next. (get walking, it's good for you!)
- Fingerprint ID lock (combination lock works just fine)
- Internal lighting (turn the lights on when unpacking/packing)
- Onboard detection – which tells you when your bag has been loaded on the plane in the case of checked luggage. (I just don't know what the point of this is. Sometime ignorance is bliss)
- Lock your bag from your phone (surely it's easier just using your hands?)

We are not a lover of all these upselling options. If you need a battery pack or GPS tracking – just buy them individually and don’t hassle yourself with having them built-in to your bag. As with the rest, some are laughable, others just don't make any sense (onboard detection?? What are you going to do if its not on? Airline hosts are unlikely to do much) As a point of interest airlines do have restrictions on types of batteries allowed on both check-in and carry-on. Most airlines will have these listed on their websites and worth checking if you are ‘carrying’.

More fashion, less fuss!

Whilst all airport security is different, the fact that you need to pull out your laptop and separate from your other luggage in almost all airports, only tells me that you will run into trouble with airline security with built in battery packs. There are several documented stories over the web that share stories of being stopped by security because of the battery pack in smartbags.

The other main issue we have with smartbags is the unnecessary weight that these gizmo’s take up in your bag. They are taking up valuable volume and weight in your bag which might just send you over the weight restriction and into a stressful altercation at the check-in desk trying to talk your way around the vastly over-priced extra kilo you are carrying.

So tell us, do you really need a smartbag? Are they just a fad, or the future? We’re interested to get your opinion.