Traveling can be hectic enough, so the last thing you need is a suitcase that makes it even harder. Fortunately, luggage brands have upped their game taken convenience to a whole new level with features like built-in chargers, easy-to-maneuver designs, and collapsing styles for space-saving storage.
The GolfHr Textiles Lab tests luggage for durability, packability, ease of use, and more. We’ve reviewed dozens of styles in recent years to find the best ones out there, but we especially love coming across unique bags that have truly innovative aspects. The picks ahead are top performers from our tests or new styles with exciting features. Read on to learn more about our favorites, but to summarize, the best smart luggage styles you can buy in 2019 are:
Best Luggage for Easy Packing:
Best Innovative Kids Luggage:
Best Luggage for Staying Organized:
Best Connected Luggage:
Best Space-Saving Luggage:
Best Non-Tipping Luggage:
Best Hands-Free Luggage:
Best Self-Moving Luggage:
Outlets can be tricky to find when traveling, but Away’s built-in battery lets you charge your phone, tablet, and other devices on the go. The lithium-ion battery is easily ejectable so it complies with , but you can also purchase it without the battery if you know you won’t use one. The bag itself is super impressive: It’s made with durable yet lightweight polycarbonate, is surprisingly spacious inside, and has tons of colors to choose from. Plus, the brand offers a 100-day any-reason return policy.
This backpack costs less than regular luggage, but still has unique features that make it perfect for traveling. The interior compartments look just like the inside of regular luggage and it’s expandable in case you need more packing space. On top of that, there are smaller pockets to keep you organized and a USB port if you want to add your own back-up battery. You can also turn it sideways to carry like a briefcase or laptop bag, with easy access to outer compartments for your phone, keys, or wallet.
For the forgetful travelers, this case's clever interior has a built-in packing checklist. The compartments also include labels (like "socks" and "chargers") for neat freaks or anyone who needs help staying organized. It also has a separate compartment just for dirty laundry. Though it's not made of polycarbonate (your best bet for hardside luggage), it does have a polycarbonate shell to protect against scratches and scuffs.
A must-have for long flights with young kids, the BedBox converts from a ride-on suitcase into a bed on the plane. You simply flip the top, attach the padding, and your toddler has a comfy leg rest. Don’t you wish they made these for adults? The bag fits under the airplane seat, but keep in mind that flight attendants may not be familiar with it, and there's a chance they may ask you to keep it stowed during the flight. (This happened on one of the flights we tested it on).
If you hate to unpack at your destination, this is the luggage for you. It has built-in shelves that you can hook in the closet: No need to ruffle through a messy suitcase or unload everything into drawers. It's easy to pack the shelves while it’s hanging, just make sure you don't overstuff them before attempting to collapse into the case.
Most smart suitcases run on lithium-ion batteries, but this one’s powered by AAA batteries instead. That means it complies with airline restrictions and you don’t need to remove the batteries before you check your bag. The downside is it can’t charge your phone, but you can still weight your load, unlock it with your fingerprint, and track its location from an app. The bag itself is 100% polycarbonate and had smooth rolling in our evaluations.
This bag folds down to the size of a briefcase to discretely store your luggage when it's not in use, making it perfect for people who live in tight spaces. It was super easy to transition from the collapsed case to the upright position. The fact that it's under $100 doesn't hurt either. There’s no telescopic handle that you normally get with rolling luggage, but it has easy-to-access openings both at the center (like a suitcase) or the top (like a backpack).
Samsonite is turning the luggage industry on its side (literally!). Unlike most suitcases, this polycarbonate one is wide, not tall. The low center of gravity makes it stable so it won't easily tip over, even if you stack another bag on top. We were also impressed by its roomy interior, ultra-wide handle and easy maneuvering (especially around turns).
This duffel bag is technically for adventure trips, but our experts also love using it for regular travel. There are padded straps that can be tucked away or worn as a backpack in case you need to be hands-free. It also compresses into a small pack so it doesn’t take up much storage space and we found it to be both lightweight and spacious. Plus, the outer material is durable and water-repellant so you don’t have to worry about it holding up over time.
This just might be the coolest luggage you’ve ever seen. The has a tracking camera to follow you around on its own – i.e. you’ll never have to wheel or carry your luggage through an airport again. It also has a removeable battery to charge your phone and built-in GPS so you don’t have to worry about losing it. Though it’s not available for purchase just yet and we haven’t tested it in our Lab, the plans to launch it in 2019.