For many years I’ve been a huge fan of Rick Steves merchandise and information. My first experience was in 2004 when Nicole and I used traveled to Portugal and Spain. thanks to Rick’s recommendations we had a comfy little room along La Rambla in Barcelona and feasted on amazing salads each day at Juicy Joe’s. Unfortunately, I hadn’t yet invested in his backpack suitcase. Instead, I purchased two backpacks for us that would have been more appropriate on a Mount Everest expedition. Every morning the sound of us zipping and unzipping the excessive number of pockets mingled with the sounds of the kiosks awakening along La Rambla. Since the backpacks were so roomy, we had filled them with numerous, unnecessary items., leaving only enough room to add half a dozen heavy art books and information brochures on Gaudi, Vieira da Silva and Dali. After helping one another hoist the packs onto our backs, we could barely walk let alone run if we had to make a close connection. As soon as we returned home, I looked to see what Rick Steves had to offer.
Even after many years of constant use, the backpack remains durable and indispensable. I, of course, am not as durable as I was in 2004. Last year, after having to catch several close connections in airports that extend for miles in every direction, I realized that I needed something with wheels. I had two options: the Rick Steves Wheeled Carry-On and the Wheeled Carry-On/Backpack. I opted for the wheeled carry-on without the extra weight of the straps and waist belt. If I had trouble running with the backpack, I would have more trouble running with a backpack that had wheeling apparatus added to the weight. If I had to carry the suitcase up a flight of stairs, I didn’t want the extra weight of the backpack apparatus. Now, when I need to bring more than just my carry-on, I pack the super light gear in the backpack to use as my carry-on and I check my wheeled bag with the heavier supplies for teaching the workshops. It was a pretty perfect system until a few months ago.
The wheeled suitcase has the ability to expand beyond the dimension limitations of a carry-on. The zipper that controlled that expansion began to unzip on its own like my old snowsuit zipper did when I was a kid. With enough patience, my mother would zip and unzip it until it stayed closed. Using her technique of patience I was able to keep my suitcase going until my last trip to California when the suitcase decided it never wanted to be a carry-on again.
Totally trusting Rick Steves merchandise, knowing that he uses it himself and tests it constantly, I never paid attention to a warranty of any kind. My suitcase was fourteen months old and my trip to Paris was only a month away. I wrote a note to Rick explaining the situation of the zipper and asking what might be done about it. The response and apology was immediate. I would be shipped a replacement immediately, in time for my trip to France … no problem at all. It arrived yesterday! I could do whatever I want with the other suitcase, I didn’t need to ship it back.
Thank you Rick Steves!