The Best Innovations in Carry-Ons

If you could create the perfect carry-on luggage, what would it look like? What daring innovations would you introduce to reduce the rigors of travel? What cool new features would you unleash on road weary travelers to make it The Best?

To see how others answered these questions, the TravelLatte luggage team pored over the internet, browsed through luggage stores, and spied on unsuspecting passengers in airports around the world. We’ve seen some crazy home-grown solutions, and some genuinely good ideas. We collected our favorites for the Best Innovations in Carry-Ons, presented in no particular order…but saving the best for last.

Photo of Visionair Podpal luggage

Luggage meets Tablet Stand. Your long layover just got moderately more entertaining. (Photo: Visionair Luggage)

Visionair Podpal

You’ve been a good little flier, arriving at the airport extra-early and checking in hours ahead of time. The question of what to do now is answered by the Podpal, which turns your tablet – any tablet – into a widescreen high definition home theatre! Okay, that might not actually be true. But this carry-on does have a cradle which accommodates virtually any tablet in either landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical) orientation. The bag has most other modern, hyphenated conveniences as well: four dual-wheel spinners, built-in three-digit combination lock, multi-function tie-downs and zippered compartments; impact-resistant finish. However, popcorn and surround sound are not included. Sadly, with a Bluetooth keyboard, we see this as a great way to get some work done while waiting for our flights.

Details: 22″h x 14.5″w x 10.5″d; 6.2lbs; More info at Visionair Luggage; available at Amazon (our link) for $150 to $200.

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MicroLuggage in use

Part carry-on, part scooter, Micro luggage combines fun and function. (Photo: Micro)

Micro Luggage

Ever wondered what would happen if you superglued your suitcase to a scooter? This is the answer, from Swiss scooter company Micro-Mobility. They show two models on their site: The generic Reloaded at $350, and the designer Steve Aoki version at $430. While they envision you scooting your way through the airport, that seems a bit unsafe to us. However, we can totally see ourselves zipping from Termini Station for a quick tour of Rome’s highlights en route to our hotel. Seems like just the thing for any urban adventure. The company claims the luggage is TSA-compliant and will fit in standard overhead airline bins. Airlines cracking down on bags fitting in their sizers may cause some issue, though, as the measurements are a tad larger than some airlines allow. (21x14x9 is very common, while some say it simply must be less than 45-inches total.)

Details: 22.8″h x 13.8″w x 9.1″d; 9.5lbs; Available at MicroKickboard.com in the US, micro-scooters.co.uk, or micro.ms elsewhere.

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Photo of Zuca Travel Pro suitcase

Organization that makes our OCD side smile, plus a handy seat! (Photo: Züca)

Züca Pro Travel

Sometimes, when dashing through airport after airport, running from ticket counter to security check-in to gate…to gate…to gate…you just need to have a seat and take a breather. Which is precisely where this bag earns its relatively bulky keep; it’s built to be sat upon. It’s also built to be exceedingly organized, with five color-coded, removable compartments which slide in and out like drawers. If you’re the type that lives in hotels without ever unpacking, this might be your bag. Two things we really like: the removable Insert Bag can be hand washed; the 4″ polyurethene wheels can be upgraded to flashing LED wheels!

Details: 19.5″h x 10″w x 13.5″d; 9.3 to 12lbs; $295 at www.zuca.com

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Photo of Genius Packer luggage

A place for everything, Everything in its place. Genius. (Photo: GeniusPack)

Genius Packer

If you’ve ever checked into a hotel and found all of the dry-cleaning bags were missing, we apologize. What can we say? We needed a dirty clothes sack. Which is why we think we need this bag; the laundry bag is built in! So are plenty of other features, including labeled compartments for just about everything, and a packing list so nothing’s left behind. The guys at Genius Pack call this extreme organization for think-free packing. There are a few other genius features in this carry-on, including a travel umbrella in its own compartment (naturally), an integrated portably battery pack to keep your gadgets powered up, and a compact speaker so you can jam your tunes en route. Maybe the simplest but smartest addition is a jacket wrap; sort of a bungee to strap your jacket across the top of the bag. Genius. (Hence the name?)

Details: 22″h x 14″w x 9.5″d; 8.6lbs; $198 from geniuspack.com

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Photo of Visionair BeveragePAL Luggage

What do you really need while rolling through the airport? That’s exactly right – A cup holder! (Photo: Visionair Luggage)

Visionair Beverage-PALTM

Let’s face it: the biggest burden while wheeling your way through the airport is carrying that darn cup of coffee! You’ve got a carry-on gripped in one hand, coffee in the other, and…how are you supposed to hand the gate agent a boarding pass? More importantly, where do you put your coffee while you’re, uhm, “indisposed”? The visionaries at Visionaire have this one solved, too, with the Beverage-PAL. Basically, you take the features of their Podpal carry-on only put in a beverage holder instead of a tablet stand. (Secret Solution: Pull up the extendable handle and you can still rest your tablet on top of the suitcase.) We are sold. This is our perfect bag. 😉

Details: 22″h x 14.5″w x 10″d; 6.2lbs; $99 at SteinMart

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Photo of HENK Carbon Cigar Attache

Some things do not belong in checked bags. Some things also deserve bullet proof, humidity-stable transport. (Photo: Henk)

HENK Carbon Cigar Attache

Technically, it is a carry-on, just not what most people have in mind when they think of luggage. Rather than stowing your clothes, electronics and toiletries, this carries something far more valuable and, some would say, more important: Cigars. With an integrated travel humidor and custom crafted trays to keep your sticks in pristine condition, this Henk masterpiece would surely be the envy of every connessieur in First Class. If you fear bad guys have it out for your stogies, there is also a bullet proof option. This beauty is attache sized (40cm x 30cm x 10cm) and weighs 13.4kg with the humidor. (Add a kilo for bulletproofing.) Pricing starts around $6600 Euros, from Henk.

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Bonus Round!

As a bonus, we’ve included one bag from the future! So, remember that time your “friend” had to stop at the ticket desk and pull things out of one suitcase and stuff them in another so nothing was over the weight limit? Or worse, you (sorry, your “friend”) had to cough up another hundred bucks because everything was at or over weight. Hate it when that happens! But, if the Australian TUL Thustrelie raises enough capital through their Kickstarter campaign, you may soon be able to get your hands on the TUL Self-Weighing Suitcase.

Photo of TUL Self Weighing Luggage Display

Forget the scales and gadgets, this weight-conscious luggage keeps you under the limit. (Photo: Kickstarter/TUL Thustrelie)

The concept is simple: built-in sensors display the weight of the bag as you pack so you can see at a glance how much wiggle room you’ve got. With an estimated cost of £123 ($200), it could pay for itself in just a few over-limit fees. Unfortuntely, the figures we’ve seen would make it just a bit too large for some airlines’ carry-on rules (64cm x 42cm x 25cm), but it’s not clear whether those figures were for the Carry On or Medium size. In the end, it may be a mute point: at this writing, time is running out on the Kickstarter campaign, and they’re far from their goal.

It’s been a while since the luggage world was set on fire with the introduction of wheels, and then further improved with wheels that turn in whatever direction you’re traveling. Since then, it seems that the only innovations have been in the construction materials, making it seem like 99% of the bags out there are essentially variations on one or two themes. You couldn’t be blamed for thinking innovation in the field is sluggish, but these and other bags show that people are developing new ideas to help you get where you’re going with ease and style.

Details & Disclaimers: TravelLatte has not been solicited nor compensated by the companies mentioned. Amazon.com links do include our referral, which may generate a small payment to TravelLatte; it does not cost you more but helps us defray expenses. All opinions are our strictly own.

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