For several years now, road trips have meant jamming the family SUV with portable high chairs, tiny skates, plastic beach paraphernalia, and, yes, an actual toy kitchen sink, and then having to unpack it all when we reached our destinations. My wife Angela and I could easily have been mistaken for Himalayan sherpas when taking a flight with the brood, what with the diaper bags and suitcase overflow hanging from our beleaguered extremities.
But now, finally, my two daughters, aged 4 and 7, will pull their own weight -- literally -- when we head to France and England later today (more on that to come). And it's all thanks to a pair of adorable rolling suitcases (pictured above) that they actually want to lug.
The owl- and bee-themed Skip Hop luggage they received from a globetrotting aunt at Christmas has gone over like gangbusters. Heck, they pulled Lego bricks and stray cats around the house until we took an out-of-town winter trip. And then, oh, the rapture as they, not I, rolled an inordinate quantity of crayons and Play-Doh into our hotel room.
The only disappointment I felt was that I hadn't acquired some child-friendly luggage sooner. There's plenty out there: U.K.-based LittleLife, for example, offers a nifty trio of animal-themed "Wheelie Duffles" -- the bee is pictured below -- that will hold almost twice as much Lego as the Skip Hop options.
That said, these rolling suitcases are pretty tame when compared with, say, most of what Trunki makes. Distributed in Canada by Melissa & Doug, the U.K.-based star of a Dragon's Den episode got its start in 2006 with an innovative wheeled riding suitcase vaguely shaped like an, um, cow? (To be honest, I'm not sure what Terrence, pictured below, is.) Regardless, Terrence has since morphed into similarly impressionistic bees, tigers, fire engines and more.
There's also the Skoot line of ride-on luggage (pictured below) offered by Mastermind Toys, which actually looks a lot like a vintage motor scooter with handlebars that make the case more maneuverable.
Just as adult strollers -- under certain circumstances -- can seem appealing, a pair of riding suitcases for mom and dad might not be a bad idea. Oh, wait, they've already invented one.