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Latest Trends in Luggage

Just like many other travel-related products, luggage is getting lighter, smaller, and smarter.

While there have always been a variety of good options for suitcases, carry-ons, and other travel bags, new inventions in both materials and features have created new products that are really worth looking into.

Lightweight
Air travel always means luggage size and weight restrictions.

When aiming to pack for a 50-pound weight limit, having a suitcase that adds up to between 7-15 pounds while still empty is a big problem.

Luckily there are functional new luggage options from many companies, and at many price points, that weigh as little as 6 pounds. This can make a huge difference, especially when packing for cold weather locations when boots and sweaters are a must.

Product labels will tell you how much the bag weighs when empty, so you know exactly what you have to work with when packing.

Some styles even have another new option—a scale (which is actually a sensor) built into the suitcase that tells you when your luggage is overweight—very convenient when there is not a bathroom scale nearby. No more surprises at the airport!

Suitcase fabrics like ballistic nylon or “rip-stop” polyester are lighter-weight. Soft sided suitcases are much more durable than they were just a few years ago, and hard-sided options are designed to be flexible so they do not dent or crack.

Expandable sides on many models mean you can pack lightly when you leave home, and then "let out" the sides to pack all your souvenirs for the trip home.

Brand names like Samsonite, Delsey, Travel Pro, and others are well-priced options, while Biaggi, Victorinox, and Visionair are also getting attention for their creative options at reasonable prices. If you want to make a bigger investment, Tumi, Briggs and Riley, and Rimowa all get outstanding marks for both their products and their warranties.

Durable Wheels
While wheeled luggage is nothing new, “spinner” suitcases featuring four rotating wheels can make walking through any airport a breeze. They glide smoothly on tiled airport floors and then roll sideways easily down the aisle of any plane.

These spinner wheels, typically made of durable plastics and composites, are securely attached and designed to survive trips through even the most destructive baggage handling systems. Many companies also warranty their wheels, so damaged or lost ones can be easily replaced.

Smart Luggage
Just like with everything else, you can now be “connected” to your luggage. New designs provide GPS smart tags to make locating lost luggage a snap.

The airlines are also experimenting with paper luggage tags with similar technology, but their systems are far from perfect, so buying a bag with a built-in locator gives you an edge (and peace of mind) should your luggage not arrive at your destination.

Another great functional feature in new bags is a built-in battery pack with USB port, so you can charge your electronic devices while en route. Much better than trying to find an outlet at the airport.

Versatility
With many travelers opting to use only carry-on luggage to avoid checked baggage fees, versatility is also key.

The ability to pack clothes, shoes, toiletries, and electronics in the same bag is important, and new options with multiple compartments, padded laptop sections, and convertible spaces are just what the traveler ordered. Some even come apart to form two pieces, providing even more versatility.

When shopping, think about how you travel, and pack, to look for features that work for you.

Look for great new options in luggage at your nearest store, and also online, as many of the latest offerings are from new startup companies that have not yet made it to traditional stores. Happy shopping!