Saturday, January 29, 2011

Travel gear: hand luggage for kids

I don't favor turning kids into pack mules, but I do think kids should bring their own hand luggage as soon as they are able. Meaning, when they are able to bring their own carry-on without making you carry it all the time.

Small backpacks or wheeled backpacks are great for kids, and we've used these as carry-ons for both my daughter and my son from about age three. Obviously they shouldn't be loaded down with tons of stuff, but it's nice and also fun for children to be bring their own toys, books and snacks along in their own hand luggage.


The product: Trunki Wheeled Carry-on Kids Luggage
Last night I was cruising the Internet, looking for birthday presents for my kids (both are February babies), and on one site I came across the Trunki hand luggage for kids. You can see it here in the sponsored link from Amazon.com. It's made so that the kids can either pull it along, or ride on it!, as well as pack their stuff into it.

It is hardsided, comes in pink, blue, purple, and a bunch of other colors, and is supposedly very sturdy. The Trunki can also be outfitted with stickers and even saddlebags.

To buy or not to buy
At first I considered buying the children one each. They love their wheeled backpacks, but this looked like a fun item. And the fact that you can ride on them adds potential entertainment and play value for long waits in airports.

And then I considered it a little more. The Trunki looks great, and is probably good quality. However, I don't think it's the optimal kind of hand luggage once you're on board. The only way to open it, is by opening it up and folding out like a suitcase, which can be hard to do on board a cramped airplane. With a backpack on the other hand, you just unzip it and put your hand in to rummage around for what you need.

Also, because the Trunki is hardsided, it would not be so easy to squash under a seat as a softer backpack. The Trunki is supposed to be regulation hand-luggage size, and that's great, but sometimes the regulations and the reality don't match 100%.

The verdict
No, I won't buy it. However, I might consider buying it if it was bigger and more luggage-sized, and then use it as "kids' luggage". Maybe. But for carry-ons I'm sticking with the wheeled backpacks

However, I will say that I think this is a pretty brilliant idea for a carry-on for kids. The ride-em concept is fun and definitely interesting, and I'm now wondering whether it could be combined with a small engine so that the kids could motor through the airport by themselves.

Which kind of sounds hilarious and really scary at the same time.

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