5 smarter ways to pack your shorts and trunks before you jet off into the sunshine
It's that time of year again when the mind starts straying to impending summer holidays.
A chance to get away from it all. To get some sun, perhaps, or even some snow if you're into throwing yourself down a mountain.
Whatever your leisure-time proclivities, the worst thing about going on holiday is going on holiday. Packing, getting to the airport, bad hotels, cramped and delayed flights – all terrible. It's a good job there's a holiday at the end of it all.
Fortunately, the world of technology hasn't forgotten this particularly bothersome procedure. Check out some of the ways that tech is changing the way you go on holiday for the better...
Crowdfunding websites turn up their fair share of duff ideas. There are also great ideas that, in the cold light of day, are obviously never going to turn into great products.
The Bluesmart suitcase could tick all of the right boxes, and is designed to make the logistics of packing for and travelling to your holiday a lot easier.
This solid and stylish-looking suitcase hooks up to your smartphone for a number of handy features, including a remote lock – no more fumbling around with tiny keys.
When it comes to packing, the Bluesmart has built-in scales that will relay how heavy your luggage is, so no more struggling with ill-suited bathroom scales, either – just pull up the handle to check the weight.
It also has a Bluetooth proximity sensor that will send an alert to your smartphone if it strays out of range, meaning no more pinched luggage, while a GPS tracker will help you locate it when it gets lost in transit.
Add in a 10,000mAh battery pack for charging your devices while stuck in airport lounge hell, and you have a product that could genuinely transform the pre-holiday ritual into something a little less spirit-crushing.
After sailing through its Indiegogo campaign, the Bluesmart is expected this December, so it'll come a little late for your summer holidays. Maybe for a Christmas break, eh?
Trunkster zipless wheelie case
Here's another smart suitcase that performed well in a crowdfunding round. Trunkster's key element is its zipless design.
We've all struggled to get our clothes, toiletries and other accoutrements squeezed into our bag before. It's always just a little more than a humble zipper can take, isn't it?
Only then, once it's in, do you realise that you need something packed right at the bottom of the case. Oh yes.
Here, instead of zipping all the way around the case, the top slides open like the sunroof of a car. Dipping in for that loose item needn't be a Krypton Factor-like operation.
Besides this, the Trunkster, like the Bluesmart, features a battery – albeit a slightly weedy 1,500mAh model – so you can charge your phone, as well as an in-built set of scales to help you monitor your luggage weight.
There's a GPS option too, though unlike the Bluesmart there's no Bluetooth, so you won't get notifications when your luggage is taken out of range.
Still, the Trunkster's two sizes (carry-on or full-size) and that zip-free construction could be just what you're after.
After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Trunkster is available to order now.
HiSmart smart bag
So far we've discussed large bags for packing in all your luggage, but what about those handy smaller bags for overnight stays and day trips?
The HiSmart smart bag has been designed with commuters in mind, but it would enhance any holiday or short break too.
It's a messenger bag that's made of tough canvas and Italian leather, and it can also be transformed into a rucksack depending on your capacity and transport needs.
The HiSmart also serves as an extension of your smartphone. Its strap comes with the HiRemote, a silver disk that serves as a remote for media playback, a mic for taking calls and recording notes, and a GPS tool for marking locations (such as where you left your car in the airport or that little cafe you discovered).
You can also use it as a remote shutter button for taking ambitious selfie-scenery shots.
All in all, the HiSmart isn't just a handy piece of luggage, it's also a useful travel tool.
Samsonite & Samsung smart luggage
This one's not yet a finished product, but Samsonite has revealed that it is working with Samsung to produce a line of smart luggage.
The Daily Mail spoke to Samsonite's chief executive and found that its new luggage would contain a microchip that can send your phone a message when it leaves the aircraft, and again when it reaches the carousel.
Also, the bag can notify you if it's being opened.
Samsonite is also working on technology to propel its luggage, like a remote control car, which would take much of the leg work out of getting to and from your holiday - but that's a way off yet.
Before then, the luggage maker will produce bags that can check into flights for you. It's said to be working with Emirates, Lufthansa and KLM Air France on just such a function.
Which size case do you take on your holiday? It can be a tough choice for shorter-length trips.
With the Fugu Luggage case, you don't have to make that choice. It's a compact carry-on that can ingeniously fold out into a huge yet rugged suitcase.
Beyond that, when folded out you can arrange the Fugu like a portable closet, complete with separate components that you can literally live out of. Perfect for those poky hotel rooms with limited storage.
It can also double (or should that be triple?) as a makeshift table or desk. Again, the applications for this if you're not paying top dollar for your accommodation are obvious.
Omni-directional wheels round out the (expandable) package, allowing the Fugu to slide left and right as well as forward and backwards.
The Fugu is set to ship in August, according to its Kickstarter page.