Ricardo Elite Lightweight Luggage

I travel. A lot.

I didn’t used to travel much, but with blogging turning into a fulltime job, I find myself jetting around at least every other month.

The opportunities to travel are probably my most favorite part of the whole gig. I love staying in nice hotels, eating out, seeing new cities, and just getting a change of scenery (although it’s always great to get home.)

You’d think with all my globe trotting, I’d have learned to pack efficiently, but it’s definitely a work in progress.

One thing I have learned, however, is the value of good quality luggage.

A few years ago, I lugged an ENORMOUS suitcase with me wherever I went. It was constantly weighing in over the baggage limit at the airport. Invariably, I would end up either paying overage charges or emptying it out at the gate, stuffing jeans and other heavy items into my carry-on bag. Not fun.

The only other suitcase we owned was a small carry-on sized suitcase, and did I mention that I am not an efficient packer? Yeah, that one was HARDLY going to contain my arsenal of outfits and boots and makeup and toiletries.

So just in time for last year’s Blissdom Conference, I went to Marshall’s and bought myself a medium-sized suitcase with a matching toiletry bag. It’s the perfect size for my typical 3-4 day trips, and it’s served me well except for one thing. It’s a piece of crap.

(Not that you can’t get decent luggage at Marshall’s; I just happened to buy the cheapest thing I could find.)

I thought I was being practical, but the result is endless amounts of frustration. The wheels are too small, the bag drags on the carpet, it is hard to maneuver, and the handle is too short. I could go on and on.

I have been meaning to invest in better luggage for some time, but it just hasn’t been a priority in our budget.

Then one day last week, this beauty suddenly appeared on my doorstep.

I had forgotten all about it, but when I attended the Family Travel Conference last month, we were informed that we would each receive a piece of luggage after we got home. And this is it.

I immediately dove in, unzipping every compartment and giving it a test drive on my thickest carpets. It maneuvers like a dream, it is so light weight and it has a TON of compartments inside.

It also expands, which is perfect for blogging conferences where you tend to bring home more than you take with you.

I AM IN LOVE.

I have never had such a lovely piece of luggage. It’s a great size, at 20 inches, but I am already plotting how I can acquire a larger one to match. I found the set on luggagefactory.com, and it’s actually fairly affordable. Prices range from $116 to $179 — well worth it, based on my not-so-great experience with cheaper luggage.

Now I’m ALL SET for the Disney Social Media Conference next month! And our family trip to D.C. And Type A Mom Conference. And BlogHer. And . . .

(Thanks to the organizers and sponsors of the Family Travel Conference!!)