Packing & Luggage | HEYS Portal SmartLuggage

I love to travel (I mean, really... don’t we all?). 

Traveling is one of my favourite things to do, but packing is not. Fortunately, luggage has come a long way and there are new small but intuitive changes that make packing that much easier for me.

I have a couple big trips planned (and we’re also approaching a busy travel season), so I thought I’d take you along on my packing journey and have a little chat on luggage.

Picking new luggage can be a tough decision, but making the choice depends on what you need & your preference. Here’s what I look at when shopping for new luggage:

1. The Material — this is probably the most obvious when you’re choosing between luggage sets. Your choices are typically between nylon, polyester, or polycarbonate. Choosing between the three is essentially choosing between durability (and also aesthetics).  I have always gravitated towards polycarbonate because the hard sides do a great job of protecting my stuff. Plus, they’re often really lightweight and look pretty sleek.

2. The Size — bigger isn’t always better when it comes to choosing a size. Be wary of 30” suitcases! Sure you can fit three extra pair of shoes and two extra outfits in there, but it also adds to the weight. The heavier the suitcase, the more likely you are to pay extra for it. Plus—traveling can sometimes be tiring enough without having to lug around a cumbersome suitcase.

3. The Wheels — you haven’t traveled until you have traveled with four-wheeled luggage. Having the ability to easily glide luggage beside you rather than pulling it behind you is a simple yet effective luxury. Standing at long customs lines has never been so hassle-free. Plus, if you are in a situation where two-wheeled luggage is a benefit (i.e. Parisian cobbled streets) then you still have that option.

Enter the HEYS Portal SmartLuggage*. Readers beware: I am biased because I’ve always loved traveling with HEYS products (by the way, did you know they’re a Canadian company—founded right out of Toronto?).

This HEYS Portal SmartLuggage ticks all the boxes of my luggage criteria:

  • It’s a hard-sided luggage (durable, lightweight, and in a great colour that's easy to spot in the luggage carousel)
  • It comes in a check-in size of 26” (and also a 30" size for the brave)
  • It sits on four wheels that spin at 360 degrees

My favourite thing about this luggage set: compartmentalized packing. Unlike traditional luggage sets that only allow you middle access to the luggage, this Portal SmartLuggage gives you front access, too. Seems simple enough, but this design makes packing and accessing your stuff much easier.

Let's start with how I pack my check-in...

This is the Portal 26" SmartLuggage. It's large enough to fit everything I need for a three week holiday but small enough to be carried around easily. Clothes, shoes, and laptop cord take up the bottom half of the space...

While my extra purse, extra pair of shoes, undergarments, toiletries and luggage scale take up the top half of space. I love the mesh pockets in the divider... it allows you to store items to prevent them from getting tangled with the rest of your stuff. The entire divider is also removeable, which allows you to access the very back (or the bottom) of the luggage using the front access system.

I always travel with my HEYS Packing Cubes. I've used them for years. They're a great way to organize your stuff and they also save you a bit of space. My favourite thing about them is that they can go straight from your luggage to a counter or a drawer. You don't have to go through the hassle of unpacking your clothes, you can just keep your stuff in the packing cubes for easy access.

I reserve my carry-on luggage for things like my makeup case, leather jacket (not for the flight but for when I get out of the airport), headphones (loving these ones from Frends) and external camera microphone...

The Portal 21" SmartLuggage displays the front access system at its best. In the front, I keep my camera, extra lenses, chargers for my phone and laptop, a sweater in case it gets chilly on the plane, and my laptop...

Buckling the two front clips on the side allows much easier access when the luggage is in the upright position. You don't have to worry about your things flopping out.

The front access also houses a padded laptop sleeve that fits my 13" MacBook comfortably (it's actually sized to hold up to a 15" laptop). What I love about the front access is that you don't need to lay the luggage flat in order to get something out. If you put the items you're likely to need during your flight in the front, you can always them access easily.

Other Cool Features

Each piece in this set comes with a built in three-digit combination TSA lock...

They also come with a 3-dial combination lock for the front access zipper. I love that it's a combination lock because I always worry about loosing keys to travel locks. Plus the TSA feature allows Security to easily unlock, inspect, and re-lock your luggage easily. It's disconcerting to think of someone going through your stuff without knowing but at least you don't have to worry about your lock being broken or cut.

On to the giveaway...

HEYS was nice enough to give away a Portal 21" SmartLuggage in your colour of choice (conditional on what's available at the time) to one of you. This giveaway is open to Canadian / US Residents only. 

Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below...

Good luck if you're entering!

The HEYS Portal SmartLuggge comes in a three piece set. You can check them out on or

(*) This post contains products sent to Stylish & Literate for consideration. Read disclosure here.


  1. Great review, Aleeza! I LOVE the burgundy colour too - plus it makes it easy to spot!

  2. Super awesome review of the Heys luggage Aleeza. Since I fly frequently (okay not all the time... 3-4x/year and each time it's a 10+ hour flight!) my parents bought me a similar (fake) Heys luggage last year in that same colour you're showing. FIRST flight man... first flight, it got beaten up and now the corners are punctured. I'm wondering how well the Heys actually stands up but given the fact that I went to their YT page and the shell is very flexible, who knows. I just hate seeing my luggage beat up so quickly :(

  3. Awesome review (luggage nerd myself!)

  4. I have been researching and hunting for a new set of luggage for Christmas and this set is exactly what I've been looking for! Ordered both of these pieces today and I'm super excited to try them out.

  5. Reading this review makes me feel like going away on a holiday now LOL! Love the front access feature of the carry-on - so much more convenient than lying the whole suitcase down and rooting around for what you need! I've also never used packing cubes - but I think I'll need to look into those - they make everything so much neater.

  6. Thanks for the review. I've never owned a Heys luggage and have always wanted to try a hard-case too - this one looks especially well-made and nicely designed. Using a nice suitcase sort of completes the whole 'traveling attire'. :) Am hoping to try Heys in the near future.

  7. Great review! I am just getting into Heys and wow this set looks really wonderful. I'll be going on a big trip in a few months, this just makes me even more excited for it! :)

  8. The review is definitely worth reading! I have never had a Heys luggage but now I really need to take one small suitcase for my trips. Thanks! Dana

  9. Awesome luggage! I've been traveling a lot for work (with some personal travel in there) lately and one of these would be really great!

  10. Who knew you could fit so much in a piece luggage that doesn't look that big? So great for weekend getaways! I love!

  11. Thanks so much for the review! I need a strong and nice looking suitcase for my trips and the Heys look great! Mishelle

  12. Really nice review! Heys is really cool! Thanks! Greets, Man With Van Colliers Wood