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As we approach the holiday season, many frequent travelers are eyeing their old tattered luggage and wistfully hoping for an upgrade. If you’re among them, consider getting some “smart luggage,” or tech-equipped baggage. Options like USB outlets and power banks can make those layovers a lot less stressful and sleeker designs may even make a business trip a whole lot sexier. Before you buy, just bear in mind that several major airlines recently banned any smart luggage that comes with a non-removable lithium-ion battery.

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Photo courtesy of -GRO

G-ROG-RO (22-inch carry-on, $399;
G-RO is a much-needed response to luggage brands using the same old four-wheel spinner style of luggage. That style has its merits, but it also can be a problem when rolling over anything other than flat surfaces. G-RO, meanwhile, uses patented axle-less large diameter wheels. This helps to balance out the gravity and makes the luggage feel lighter to lug around. Because the wheels are entirely on the outside, there is more interior space.  You’ll also find organizational pockets, a USB charging station, an interior optimized for maximum space, a garment sleeve with interior compression straps, TSA-approved dual lock and a waterproof bottom. While the tech is an option, you are not forced into it. You can attach your own power bank to the USB charging port, and even choose other location tracking systems to use with your luggage.

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Bluesmart (Bluesmart Cabin 22, $380;
It’s a touch expensive, but possibly the best you’ll find: A buffet of features, from built-in GPS and power station to the ability to lock it via the app on your phone. It even can weigh itself so you don’t end up with unexpected overage charges at the gate! All that, and it’s roomy enough to hold all your essentials.

Photo courtesy of Away

Away (22-inch carry-on, $225;
Probably the most known brand in the smart luggage category, Away makes thoughtful luggage—featuring unbreakable shells, interior compartments and built-in USB chargers—yet it’s functionally minimal. It’s luggage that helps you find your way by staying out of it. This includes Japanese Hinomoto 360 spinner wheels, a patent pending compression system and laundry bag that keeps belongings organized, YKK water resistant zippers that provide stability, a built-in 10,000 mAh battery that can power up a smartphone up to five times during a trip, A Makrolon polycarbonate exterior, TSA-approved lock, interior water resistant lining, and something us frequent travelers always appreciate—a lifetime warranty.

Photo courtesy of iFLY

X Series by iFly (hard-sided carry-on, $99;
Great luggage shouldn’t cost more than your airfare. This new series by iFLY is available exclusively at Walmart stores starting at $89—a lot less than most smart luggage out there—while still offering many of the same features. The three carry-on sizes boast a built-in USB port, dedicated laptop and tablet sleeves, a TSA-accepted lock and an RFID pocket, and an integrated garment suiter (softside collection) and a 1680D ballistic nylon removable garment bag (hardside collection) as their own dedicated compartments. A laundry bag to separate clean and dirty clothes, a wet pocket for bottled carry-on liquids or wet clothing, and either three (hardside collection) or two (softside collection) zipped interior packing compartments combine to deliver optimal packability.

Photo courtesy of Raden

Raden (22-inch carry-on, $345;
These smart suitcases are app-enabled with a built in scale, location awareness technology, and charges your phone or laptop to a full battery up to 4 times. Raden is also designed with Makrolon Polycarbonate, which makes the cases crack resistant, and Japanese wheel bases with polyurethane tires to give them 360-degree maneuverability. It’s the suitcase that has beauty and brains.  These may win in the pretty category: They come in lots of color options, a win if you don’t want your suitcase to look like everyone else’s at baggage claim.

Photo courtesy of Victorinox

Victorinox Lexicon ($420 for a 22-inch carry-on,
The Lexicon Hardside Collection has more packing space because of a patented molding technology that creates super-recessed wheels and handles. And, taking inspiration directly from the Swiss Army Knife, the collection features a multi-functional tool. Hidden behind the sliding ID tag, you’ll find a USB port as well as a pen and SIM card replacement tool. It works with a battery pack (sold separately), which means you can charge on the go.

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Aly Walansky
Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer.

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