By Beth Blair
The Vacation Gals
It seems everyone has their collection. Some people gather coffee cups, while others collect hotel soaps. I have a passion for something bigger—luggage.
The tower of colorful roll aboard suitcases in my wide linen closest was not stacked frivolously. Each piece has a purpose and each is destined for various lengths of trips. The small red carry-on with a laptop sleeve is ideal for those quick two or three day trips, while the larger beige suitcase is meant for a longer excursion when several plane changes are necessary. This latter I've decked out with various luggage tags and a pink ribbon for easy identification—and of course to make a thorough description easy when it doesn't arrive at baggage claim.
I often find my two preschoolers dressed in Hawaiian leis, sunglasses, and floppy hats, pulling oversized luggage behind them up and down the hall, announcing they "are going on a trip to China" (leaving me curious how they paid for airfare).
Luggage is important to kids, too. Recently my son announced his growing distaste for his character-themed bag and expressed a desire for a more grown-up suitcase, preferably with Spiderman. A couple of years ago my little ones were gifted with two rolling suitcases – one Dora, the other Diego. These little vinyl bags are adorable but awkward. The handles are too long, the body of the bag, while child-sized, is still too large, and the bottom seam is shredded because their little legs and close-to-the-ground arms can't keep it at a high enough angle as they pull it along.
I agreed to take a look and see what more "age appropriate" possibilities are out there – and I found there are some fantastic options.
Top 3 Choices for Kids' Luggage
I was pleased to come across Heys kids' rolling suitcases with their ultra-sleek, hardshell cases. I must say these 3.8 pound rolling bags meet my easy-to-steer criteria with a handle system designed "inwards & upwards", ie with a handle that is closer to the child and makes for easier pulling. The inline skate wheels jut out to avoiding dragging, and the wheels are equipped with LED lights, which are not only fun, but will make it easier to spot my spouse and child ahead of me as I walk at a slower pace with the younger one. Hey, hey, hey! Link »
As a mom with two extremely active children, I think these Trunki Suitcases are perhaps the most ingenius, child-friendly travel item I have yet to stumble across. Made for ages 3-6, these wheeled suitcases are designed to be pulled, carried, and, best of all, ridden on! The children sit on the case and push it with their legs or the parent may "tow" the child through the airport. Link »
For the times when a rolling bag isn't necessary, a youth-sized duffle bag or backpack such as Samsonite's Sammies line comes in handy. The Sammies Funnyface line includes backpacks and duffle bags designed to look like a tiger, turtle, ladybug, or my favorite of the flock, the penguin. Who can resist those cute little guys - even if they can't fly? There are also rolling suitcases in the Sammies line (three pounds), and that makes my decision all the more difficult. Link »
Now to make a choice - and it's a tough one. Wait a minute. Who said I have to decide on one? Maybe I should let my kids start their own luggage collection, too.
About the Writer
Beth Blair is a former flight attendant who traded her wings for a laptop and now works as a freelance travel writer. She is also co-founder of TheVacationGals.com . You may learn more about her at bethblair.com.
Photos courtesy of Hey's Luggage, Trunki, and Greatstyledeals.com