By the year 2022, 1.6 billion people are expected to arrive at travel destinations around the world.
With the desire to travel taking precedence over buying property and raising children, experience over material items has become the new status symbol. And with that comes heavy spending and a multi-billion-dollar industry, not just for transport and accommodation, but for those in the business of making travel just a little more comfortable and convenient.
These days, luggage is designed more towards functionality over aesthetics, with travel habits carefully examined to create products that are useful, lightweight but most importantly providing protection from theft. Packing light has become a way of life for avid travellers with flight attendants, who live out of their suitcases, leading the wayin how and what to pack.
While OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg has featured recently in the news and on social media platforms with complaints of luggage tampering, globally, travellers are increasingly becoming easy targets for thieves. Brazen snatching of phones and wallets out of tourists’ hands in broad daylight, or hotel rooms being looted when tourists are out sightseeing have pushed anti-theft to the forefront of travel item innovation.
The market is full of excellent designs ranging from small or large bags with anti-theft locks that can be attached to fixed items (for swimming in the sea without keeping your eyes fixed on your possessions or attaching to a table leg in a restaurant), to backpacks with secret pockets and hidden zips. You can also find a Solgaard backpack made entirely from plastic bottles with a solar energy charger for off-grid device charging!
Travel bags and luggage are becoming increasingly difficult to get into. There is no chance of even cutting bags open, as technology has allowed for the design of impenetrable materials, essentially safe-guarding all the owner’s possessions.
Just a few years ago, a lost or stolen luggage item was gone forever, and GPS tracking was reserved for cars. Now, luggage theft and loss has become so prevalent that there is an entire industry based on locating lost items. Mostly these come in the form of small tracking devices which mean even if your items do go missing, you’ll have a good chance of getting them back.
From Bluetooth luggage trackers to full power banks that double as GPS trackers for small bags to bicycles, tracking technology can keep you in touch with your luggage across 210 countries and more. In addition, the product design by MyElios can also send an SOS signal to pre-assigned contacts as well as local law enforcement, if you get into trouble.
Padlocks may not be entirely foolproof, but they are much more difficult to break. And just having one on your bag is a bigger deterrent to thieves than a piece of luggage without one.
But padlock tech is reaching new levels and on the higher end of the pricing scale are locks that are now being designed to open with biometrics, ensuring that only the owner has access to the locked contents.
Undoubtedly, the best locks for your luggage are those that are TSA-approved. These locks are commonly combination locks but also have a special keyhole that can only be unlocked by a TSA agent. This means that if your bag is pulled over to be checked, the agent can open the lock without knowing the combination, instead of breaking it open and likely damaging your bag.
If you’re travelling first class to a European city or have booked cheap flights to Durban, here are the top drivers of the new wave of travel accessory designs that are pushing boundaries and vastly improving the safe travel experience.