The 10 Best Kids Luggage
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in February of 2015. Next time you go on a trip with your children, why not have them haul their own luggage for a change? Allowing them to do so will not only make them feel more independent and grown up, but it will also give you a bit of a break, not to mention leave more room in your bags for clothing, shoes, and souvenirs. We've included a variety of designs to suit a range of preferences. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 30, 2020:
Kids can be notoriously difficult to travel with, but there is a good chance getting them a piece of luggage made to appeal to their likes specifically, can make it significantly less of a hassle. For example, the Trunki Original and Puqu Monster Truck are both ride-on models that should help keep them entertained when waiting to board your flight, as well as make it easier for you to drag them along when they are too tired or cranky to walk themselves. The latter can even double as a toy when you get to your destination, or even at home.
Since we realize that children are forgetful, we thought it prudent to include models that can work as wheeled trolleys, as well as backpacks. This way, when you are rushing through the airport, you can have them wear it, minimizing the chance they will simply let go of it along the way, causing you to retrace your steps and maybe even miss your flight. The Funday Toddler Stuffed Animal, Yodo 3-Way, and Aerolite MiniMax8 can all do this, and the Funday Toddler Stuffed Animal even boasts removable wheels, so it could easily be used as a regular school backpack.
For the kids that like to pack a lot of stuff, we recommend the iPlay, iLearn Unicorn Set, since it comes with both a wheeled unit and a matching backpack. The latter fits underneath most airlines seats, while the former fits in overhead bins.
Of course, not all children want childish-looking things. In fact, some want travel gear that looks as grown up as their parent's wheeled luggage. For these precocious tikes, we recommend the Aerolite MiniMax8. It has a mature design, yet still incorporates smart features to please a kid, like the toy holder on the front.
Cabin Max Bear Carry On The Cabin Max Bear Carry On has a built-in front seat for your child's most beloved stuffed animal, so they have someone besides you to keep them company on long trips. It is available in purple, blue, or an emoji-covered option, and is designed to be easy for kids as young as four to transport. cabinmax.com
Olli Ella See-Ya Suitcase Perfect for the stylish child, the Olli Ella See-Ya Suitcase resembles the luggage of yesteryear, when carrying your valise was the norm, yet still features wheels and a trolley handle for easy transport. It features vegan-friendly faux leather straps and brass hardware that give it a very sophisticated look. olliella.com
What To Look For In Luggage For Kids
If, however, the kid will be expected to carry it, make sure that they can, first of all.
While having to buy so much stuff for your kids can be frustrating, if you want to get really upset, just wait until you have to buy stuff simply for them to put their other stuff in.
It all feels like a ridiculous Russian doll situation, except with less storage space.
However, if you're going to travel with kids, unless you're going to leave them at a kennel (and that is tempting), you'll need luggage for them. Shopping for it doesn't have to be a drag, though, and in the end you should be able to find something that works for both of you.
The first thing you should consider is who will actually be lugging the thing around. If it's the kid, and they're young, then chances are it's more of a symbolic thing (giving them "their own" luggage) than a functional one. In that case, you'll likely be carrying most of their stuff in your suitcase, so just find one they like.
If, however, the kid will be expected to carry it, make sure that they can, first of all. Getting one with wheels is incredibly important here, especially if you'll need to cross giant airports in a hurry. They should be able to move it safely and easily, even when it's full of all their stuff.
Durability is another concern. It's not as important as with adult luggage, since your kid will probably only use it for a few years, but you still want to get your money's worth — especially if you intend to pass it down to other children.
Check the zippers, wheels, and handles to make sure they're high-quality and strongly attached. If you go with a soft-sided bag, get one that's made with high-denier material. If you go hard-sided, aluminum will be the most durable.
Also, if you want to avoid tears and tantrums, let them have some say in the process. Naturally, this might mean that they lobby for a Paw Patrol-themed bag, but as long as it fits the other requirements, there's no reason why they shouldn't have it.
Why You Should Help Your Child Pack
Nobody likes packing, so the thought of fighting with your kid about what they really need to take on vacation (no, you do not need to pack that frog you found this afternoon) can be really off-putting. However, it's something that will pay off in the long run.
One of the main reasons to help them pack is to teach them how to do it in the future. This includes budgeting out the clothes, toys, and other accessories they'll need, without stuffing the suitcase so full that it's impossible to carry, or bankrupts you in baggage fees.
So, while it may be tempting to just put the kid to bed and dump a bunch of their clothes in a bag, it's better if you take the time and do it together.
That's why you should include them in the process, instead of just doing it for them. Ask them what they'll want to wear while they're on vacation, and be willing to compromise on a few things (but maybe explain to them that they're unlikely to need their snorkel and their snow boots).
It's also important to remind them not to forget the boring essentials, like underwear and a toothbrush. Many kids will go overboard on toys and other fun items, forgetting that many resorts frown on children streaking.
All of this helps them develop planning skills, which can help them with everything from schoolwork to job searching in the future. Not only that, but it helps them self-regulate and delay gratification.
So, while it may be tempting to just put the kid to bed and dump a bunch of their clothes in a bag, it's better if you take the time and do it together. That way, when you get to Grandma's house and discover you only packed left shoes, you'll get to share in the blame.
Tips For Traveling with Kids
Vacations are a great way to form incredible memories that will last your family a lifetime. Unfortunately, they also require traveling — with your kids.
However, getting from point A to point B doesn't have to be a nightmare, provided you're smart in your planning and preparation.
The most important thing you can do is give yourself more time for everything than you think you need.
The most important thing you can do is give yourself more time for everything than you think you need. Get to the airport early, start packing earlier than you think is necessary, and give yourself an extra day to get there if you're driving. This will prevent you from getting stressed and frantic, which can lead to fights.
Try not to overpack either (or let your kids overpack). Ask yourself how likely you are to need everything you're considering packing, and whether you'll be glad you have it when you're lugging a fifty pound suitcase around the airport. Also, if you stay in a place that has laundry services, you can cut down on the number of clothes you need.
Speaking of packing, figure out how you'll get everything through the baggage claim, especially if you have an infant in tow. Buying a travel bag for your car seat and stroller can be extremely helpful, and save you time while checking luggage.
Take time before you leave to thoroughly research your destination. Nothing can ruin a vacation faster than having your entire family stare at each other all day, asking each other what they want to do. Find restaurants that look promising, especially if anyone has dietary restrictions, and plan out what attractions you want to see and when.
If you think things through and plan accordingly before you leave, the entire trip should be as hassle-free as possible. Who knows — if everything goes well, you might even enjoy spending time together as a family.
Wouldn't that be something?