Lonely Planet Writer

Wheel your case keeping your hands free with this handy hack

Travellers can look forward to having their airport experience hands-free thanks to a new device that allows you to wheel your suitcase using your torso.

Keep your hands free and still carry luggage! Image by Justin Case/Getty Images

Following an ongoing Kickstarter campaign, the RetraStrap (the name is an abbreviation of retractable strap) will officially launch at the International Travel Goods Show in Las Vegas on 26 February, with shipping worldwide starting in April. The product allows users to hook the strap to their luggage and wear the other end around their shoulders, reducing the risk of shoulder and neck pain, as well as the likelihood of theft or loss.

The strap will make travelling with infants so much easier. Image by RetraStrap

RetraStrap’s inventor Omar Abass is originally from the Lebanon and moved to Ohio 16 years ago where started a transportation company before moving into real estate. A keen traveller who used his carry-on to keep his valuables and load heavy items to avoid excess baggage charges, he had his brainwave about the device in a German airport. “The price I paid for this is a heavy bag that needs the attention of a child,” he says. “I was in Frankfurt airport rubbing my shoulder and neck muscles from the pain when I started thinking of a way to pull that bag without using my arm. When I got home, I cut my guitar strap and attached it to the luggage handle and started experimenting.”

The creator believes every traveller will use these in the future. Image by RetraStrap

After making his own RetraStrap in 2013, put together in his basement from an old guitar strap, an elastic and retractable key chain, he quickly saw how everyone might benefit from free-handed travel. The RetraStrap offers an easy way to keep an eye on luggage that’s not quite as extreme as the measures some people take and retailing at US$34.99 (£25), it’s an affordable option in comparison to other luggage solutions. Obass is confident that in the near future, the RetroStrap will be seen on every wheeled carry-on luggage and it will be the new way we travel. “I think more and more, travellers will realise how much easier and comfortable it is to travel hands-free” he says.

Words: Claire O’Mahony