Tech travel essentials for smooth sailing and high flying this summer

Picky Nicky (quality maniac-at-large) is packing a punch in the travel department this month

Illustration of Picky Nicky by Danae Diaz
Picky Nicky runs down his must-have travel gadgets and accessories.
(Image credit: Illustrator: Danae Diaz)

With a flight almost every other week, I do a lot of packing. Getting that right means good luggage, ruthless editing, knowledge of how to fold, and somewhere to pack.

Over the past few months I have been air-testing Louis Vuitton’s Marc Newson-designed Horizon cases, which can now be connected to an app via the brand’s Echo device. When a connected case passes through sensors in one of 120 international airports, you receive a notification on your smartphone so that you know the case has landed with you (or, depressingly, turned up somewhere else). It also tells you if your case has been opened.

Bose SoundSport Pulse headphones

Essential travel item no. 1: Bose’s QuietComfort 20 noise-cancelling headphones and SoundSport Pulse headphones (which track my running performance). £250 and £200,

(Image credit: Illustrator: Danae Diaz)

Usually I travel with my Louis Vuitton monogram canvas Pégase 55 trolley case and matching Sirius 70 suitcase (or the Sirius 45 when I need less). I love the old-school look of it, though occasionally I feel pretty blingy. Horizon also comes in monogram canvas, but as the frame is moulded in a mesh matrix composite, it weighs very little and, as Newson relocated the extendable cane to the outside, it has more internal space, so you can get more in. Which, funnily enough, is not always what I need. I have had packing lessons, where I learnt that editing is key. First lay out what you think you need and then edit it down – there is nothing worse than returning with loads of unworn items. What I really want is a dedicated packing space at home, and I have been plotting one with Patrick McInerney, the architect who designed my house in Florence and my Marylebone apartment. McInerney has come up with a design (see below) in which the main focus is a 3-4m-long counter, wide enough to view everything you need for a trip and hold a pair of open suitcases. The counter, crafted in American walnut with a tobacco leather top, will also feature a special light and a shelf below for additional suitcases and bags. There is a good 1.5m between the counter and some wardrobes, so all doors can be open and you can still move freely. The wardrobes, which are lit inside and lined in cedar, feature lightweight trays that can help organise stacks of shorts, shirts, sweaters, sandals and the like prior to packing.

McInerney is also a master of tech, so he proposed a flush-mounted screen to check destination weather, controlled by Neeo, and music to get me in the destination mood channelled through Sonance speakers. I also need a steam vault for pre- and post-packing to ensure clothes are wrinkle-free. At this April’s Salone, I spotted V-Zug’s Refresh-Butler, which applies refreshing steam vapour within the wardrobe, so that should do the trick. Packed-by-Nicky will never be bettered.

Water bottle by Eva Solo

Essential travel item no. 2: I always carry a refillable water bottle in my carry-on, like this one by Eva Solo, to avoid drinking water from single-use plastic bottles. From £20,

(Image credit: Illustrator: Danae Diaz)

How the Louis Vuitton Echo works within the Horizon luggage

Developed in collaboration with Sigfox (which has a dedicated global network of 120 airports, including London Heathrow, Paris Orly and New York JFK), Echo allows passengers to track connected luggage when travelling, thanks to the LV Pass smartphone app.

Echo can be slotted inside the case and runs on a rechargeable battery that lasts up to six months.

The first automated notification comes on arrival at the departure airport.

Echo turns to flight-safe mode on take-off and turns itself back on again on landing.

On arrival at a networked airport, the device sends a notification to the passenger’s smartphone. In the unfortunate even that it turns up at another airport, the notification comes from that airport.

Passengers are also informed when the case has been opened via the combination lock.

As originally featured in the July 2018 issue of Wallpaper* (W*232)

Also known as Picky Nicky, Nick Vinson has contributed to Wallpaper* Magazine for the past 21 years. He runs Vinson&Co, a London-based bureau specialising in creative direction and interiors for the luxury goods industry. As both an expert and fan of Made in Italy, he divides his time between London and Florence and has decades of experience in the industry as a critic, curator and editor.