This new luggage brand will change the way you travel for good


Forget word of the day, smart is the buzzword of the decade. In the past few years, there has been the emergence of smart homes and smartphones -- but what about smart luggage? Jen Rubio and Steph Korey found an answer to that question, creating Away, the revolutionary carry-on case that is designed with the digital-savvy, contemporary traveler in mind.

Their inaugural product, the Away Carry-On, is the definition of functional. Not only does it feature a built-in charger for smartphones and tablets that can charge your devices up to five times over, but it also features 360 degree spin wheels, a laundry separation system that keeps everything organized,and fits the size requirements for all major airlines. Basically meaning, all your travel needs are covered in one sleek carry-on. And as an added cherry on top, the Away Carry-On rings in at an affordable $225 (most luggage of its caliber can be charged well into the $1,000 range).

As the duo claims, "We knew we could offer people who travel a much better luggage option that was beautifully made of the highest quality materials without it needing to cost more than the trip you're taking it on."

It's a testament to the way they view the modern jet-setter: someone who understand that performance and innovation are now vital cornerstones for any travel.

We spoke exclusively to Jen Rubio and Steph Korey, the founders and brains behind the design, to talk about how Away cuts out the middle man, their favorite places to travel, and more!

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Nothing to wear The Carry-On #travelaway

A post shared by Away (@away) on Feb 26, 2016 at 5:18am PST

What was it like conceptualizing the Away carry-on? What void in the luggage market were you hoping to fill?
There were so many problems with the legacy luggage market: prices for quality products were outrageous, the consumer experience was lackluster, and there wasn't a brand that could really stand out from the crowd as having values that we were excited about. We set out to make the one perfect carry-on, free of gimmicks, designed for the way people truly travel. And we decided to sell it exclusively direct to consumer so that we could sell a product at a quality level that's typically in the $500-$1000 range, for just $225.

If you could take a snapshot of the design process, what would it look like? Who were the key players to making Away come to life?
The foundation of the design process was painstaking research. We used surveys and focus groups to learn from hundreds of travelers what would make luggage perfect for them. We then partnered with San Francisco-based industrial design firm Box Clever to turn that research into a physical design. There are dozens of parts that go into a suitcase, and we worked alongside Box Clever and our manufacturing partners to get every part of it just right. We did 20 iterations of just the wheels!

What are the benefits of the direct-to-consumer model? Why cut out the middle man?
Direct-to-consumer is better for the consumer in every way. The most obvious benefit is that the price the consumer is paying is much closer to the manufacturing cost in this model, because in traditional models the consumer has to pay enough for both the brand and the retailer to have their markups. Beyond strictly the price-to-quality ratio factor, direct to consumer is better because the consumer is always interacting directly with the brand, and as a result there's a continuous feedback loop that leads to constant improvements. That gets lost in the wholesale cycle.

Give us your elevator pitch for someone on the fence about incorporating a high-tech carry-on into their luggage repertoire.
What makes our carry-on so great is that it was designed for the way people truly travel. Four, silent wheels from the highest end wheel manufacturer, the lightest yet most durable polycarbonate shell, an interior organization system that actually makes sense for how you pack throughout your trip. The charging capabilities are a bonus because everyone is always frustrated about scouting for an airport outlet. Even if it's rare for your phone to be dying (in which case, tell us your secrets!) it never hurts to have a backup plan while you're away. With your Away carry-on, you can forget to bring a charger altogether for a weekend trip and still be covered.

%shareLinks-quote="What makes our carry-on so great is that it was designed for the way people truly travel." type="quote" author="Jen Rubio and Steph Korey" authordesc="" isquoteoftheday="false"%

Where are your favorite places to travel to?
Steph: Anywhere I've never been! My favorite part of travel is discovering new places and cultures. I recently went to the southeast part of Italy, a region called Puglia, that's right on the water and surrounded by vineyards and these ancient farmhouses called Masserias. The food is unbelievable and there are no foreign tourists, I loved that it felt like a more authentic experience than the usual parts of Italy that foreigners tend to visit

Jen: I love Tokyo and Stockholm. I've been lucky enough to have the chance to explore both cities pretty well over the last few years—each has such a strong sense of design that's completely different from the other one, but I love seeing how culture, behavior and traditions drive the aesthetics. Each city is a great example of this.

What's one traveling hack you swear by?
Steph: If you check a bag, especially if you have a layover, bring your first 24 hours of essentials with you in your carry-on. If your checked bag doesn't make it, most of the time you'll get it within a day, but you don't want to be stuck without a toothbrush and something to wear when you arrive.

Jen: On a less practical note, if you have time before a long-haul flight, treat yourself to a massage just before boarding—even a 15-minute neck and shoulder chair massage at the airport can you make you feel more relaxed for the trip and completely transform your attitude.

What are the three things that always have to be in your carry-on?
Steph: The micro-USB cord that comes with the Away carry-on to be able to re-charge the bag mid-trip, Outdoor Voices leggings, sweats and hoodies for when I need maximum comfort, and Glosser's rosewater mist and moisturizer for combating dry plane air.

Jen: An amazing eye mask, a large scarf that can double as a blanket on the plane (we call this a blarf), and noise-canceling headphones.


For even more travel inspiration, scroll through the gallery below!

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