We're always impressed by the brilliant ideas that we find on crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo -- particularly the ones that solve the biggest problems and frustrations in travel. Here are four smart inventions that we think do it right.
Luggage with a built-in seat
The handle on this hardshell, four-wheel luggage slides out to transform into a folding seat -- perfect for times when you can't find any seats at the airport gate or maybe even when you're tired in a long taxi line outside the terminal. The neXstep Luggage seat also doubles as an extra luggage rack, which comes in handy anywhere from the check-in counter at airports, if you ever need to rummage through your belongings, or when it's time to unpack either at the hotel or at home. The inventors are aiming to offer two sizes: a 22-inch carry-on and 27-inch check-in. Backers must pledge $175 by November 24 to receive the product.
Knapsack with no outer zippers
Worried about pickpockets in crowded destinations? RiutBag fights theft as a backpack that doesn't expose any outer zippers. Rather, it opens from a back panel that's pressed against the wearers back, so you'd have to swing it around to access it. There are two side pockets that are great for carrying less valuable essentials like water bottles or umbrellas, while hidden pockets in each strap are designed to safely hold travel documents within easy reach. To snag one of these, you'll have to pledge £45 ($57) by November 26.
Bluesmart addresses two of travel's most frustrating issues, among others: it tracks the location of your luggage, in case it ever gets lost or rerouted, and there's a built-in batter that lets you charge up to two devices simultaneously. With extra features like phone-controlled locks, a self-weighing scale, and data reports including miles and days traveled, this is a smart suitcase that aims to do it all. Have to get your hands on it? Pledge at least $265 by November 24.
They may not always be at the top of one’s packing list, but keys are definitely a travel essential. But one thing we hate is when the jagged metal edges tear holes in the lining of our bags. That’s where KeyDisk 2 comes in. It's a key holder made of two plates between which you can slide up to nine keys in and out of, somewhat similar to how a Swiss Army knife works. The keys are securely screwed in -- as car remotes, membership cards, and the like can be too. Pledge at least $19 until December 5 to the project and you’ll get the doodad.