Our round up of the best kids luggage and luggage for kids options including ride-on luggage for toddlers, toddler backpacks and kids luggage on wheels.
Before we travelled with the kids for the first time, we were full of questions.
What is the best kids luggage? Is a ride on suitcase for toddlers a good investment? Is kids ride on luggage more or less comfortable than a backpack or a wheelie bag?
Over the course of the years, we have tried several packing strategies, with very mixed results and I arrived at the conclusion that there is no such thing as the best kids luggage.
The best piece of luggage for kids depends on how many people are travelling, the mean of transport and the adult/child ratio.
What works when you are travelling with two adults and two children will not work if you are outnumbered and what works for a road trip can be a true nightmare if applied to a plane journey.
So, in this post, I decided to go through the different kinds of kids bags and backpacks we have traveled with and give you an overview of what worked when.
Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase though them, we might make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.
Best luggage for kids in a nutshell: best kids luggage 2019
|Best toddler backpack||Kikki Deuter|
|Best backpack for older kids||Osprey Daylite|
|Best ride on luggage for kids||Trunki|
|Best children luggage on wheels (pull along)||American Tourister|
Kids ride-on luggage pros and cons of a ride-on suitcase for toddlers
When I think of kids ride on luggage and kids suitcases, the name that comes to mind is Trunki, one of the most popular and for many the best piece of kids luggage on the market.
I first discovered trunki ride on suitcase for toddlers at a friends house and my immediate thoughts about it were:
1) it is the cutest kids suitcase I have ever seen and
2) It must be the most annoying and bulky thing to travel with ever invented. I was wrong:
As well as really cute, Trunki is a fantastic piece of luggage for children and our kids’ suitcase of choice for most of our trips.
If you are considering this purchase, I invite you read my full Trunki review here but the following is a summary of important points to consider.
Trunki ride-on suitcase for toddlers pros
- They are quite spacious inside.You can find exactly how much they contain here
- Great size for plane travel: they can be brought on board as children carry-on luggage and they just about fit under the seat in front of you
- They close well and have a key securely attached to the strap
- The strap makes them fun for the kids to pull: my kids are always more willing to walk if they have Trunki with them as they can pretend they are their little dog on the leash!
- They are exceptional for road trips as they stack nicely in the car
- They double up as a good toy box so storage when not travelling is easy
Trunki ride-on suitcase for toddler cons
They are quite bulky so while they are great if your child cooperates and accepts to pull them, they are uncomfortable if you have to carry both them and your toddler!
It is very tempting to think that trunki could substitute a buggy for older children but, personally, I do not think this is the case.
Trunki works well as a temporary child seat but pulling your child along on it is not recommended by the manufacturer and it is not particularly handy for the parent for more than a couple of minutes.
Riding on it requires some legwork that a tired kid could get grumpy about (majour understatement for: epic meltdown)
Overall evaluation: we find trunki excellent and we do recommend it as children luggage, especially for road trips and plane journeys that do not require quick airport transfers.
Children backpacks pros and cons
I am a fan of rucksacks and for my own travel I choose backpacks whenever I can.
A good quality pack will evenly spread the weight on your back and will keep your hands free, which I find invaluable especially when travelling alone with kids and need to hold two little hands!
I also find them useful for kids, especially for short trips.
Kids backpacks pros
- They leave your children hands free
- They are less likely to be left behind as you can easily keep them on while waiting in airports, stations etc (be very careful with the weight of your child backpack, make sure it is light and appropriate in size)
- They can be easily strapped onto your own if your child gets tired of carrying them
- Great plane carry-on choice as easily stored under the seats
Kids backpacks cons
- Usually smaller than suitcases, even a very light packer like me find kids backpacks only useful on very short trips
- If not chosen with care and packed properly they might hurt your child back – choose good quality ones and be extra careful with how much you put in and how (find important info about this here).
- Accessing objects at the bottom can be annoying so make sure you pack toys or anything you think your child might want to reach out for on top.
Best Toddler and Preschool backpacks
You can find our full list of toddler daysacks here. The one below is a selection of our favorites.
Kikki Deuter Toddler day bag
Kikki Deuter Kids backpack: Great quality, cute, comfortable backpack perfect for small kids.
With a Kikki Deuter you get:
- Perfect as a day pack and weekends away
- 2 shoulder straps and a chest strap to evenly distribute weight
- Good size to sit on children back
- Several compartments to distribute weight
- Several colours available
- Versatile for travel, school and hiking.
Skip Hop Zoo small kid backpack
Skip Hop Zoo: another cute design for toddler backpack, complete with a (removable) rein
- Rein attaches at bottom of pack for better stability
- Several designs available
- Two adjustable shoulder straps
- Zippered main compartment
- Mesh pocket for bottle or juice box
Best backpacks for older kids
Osprey Daylite children backpack
I am a fan of Osprey backpacks and the one that is working best for our kids is the Osprey Daylite.
This is an excellent day pack for children and works perfectly on weekends away too, thanks to its good size and sturdy materials.
Deuter Speedlite children day pack
My son uses the Deuter Speedlite both for school and on travel and I cannot recommend it enough. Well built, beautiful and just the right side to carry enough without getting too heavy, this is an excellent backpack for kids in the age bracket 6-10 and for older kids who need a good quality day pack.
Best rolling luggage for kids: are kids suitcases worth it?
Before I had children I thought wheeled bags were the best thing in the world: I did so many trips with them and found them so handy they were the first thing I bought for my kids when we started travelling with them. However, they didn’t prove quite as handy for family travel or at least, not in all circumstances.
Rolling bags and wheeled suitcases for kids pros
- Easy to pull for your child and easy to stack on top of yours if needed
- Wide range of options, prices and sizes
- Easier to pack than a backpack especially if you have odd shaped objects (toys)
- Easy access (especially if compared with a traditional backpack)
Rolling bags and wheeled suitcases for kids cons
- Depending on size, they might not fit under plane seats, forcing you to get up every time your child needs anything from it (if your children are like mines, about 10 times per minute!).
- Unless you have priority boarding you might be forced to check them in last minute – with kids, under seat storage is by far the best, I believe
- Handles and wheels can break easily and it is worth investing in a good quality bag that you can use over and over again.
Overall evaluation: I believe rolling suitcases are a great choice for older kids or if you don’t like or cannot use backpacks.
Best kids luggage on wheels: kids rolling luggage top picks
American Tourister Kids Luggage on wheels
American Tourister kids luggage on wheels is the top selling brand on Amazon for both their soft-side and hard-side bags.
Hardside luggage is particularly popular because of the added protection it offers. Product praises for this kids’ roller suitcase include:
• Printed polyester with vinyl front with a large selection of characters
• Side-mounted skate wheels for mobility
• Easy pull-handle/
• Large mesh pocket on interior panel.
Cabin Max Bear Children luggage on wheels
Cabin max bear children luggage carry on trolley suitcase comes with a clever addition: a seat for the teddy! (Please note: the teddy in the photo is not include!). Its main specs are:
- Adjustable teddy ‘seat’ to suit most teddies
- Dimensions 22″ x 15 x 9 inches
- 34L capacity
- Internal pocket, external side pocket and bottle holder
- Ergonomic handle for easy pulling
Skip Hop Zoo Rolling luggage for kids
Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid and Toddler Travel Rolling Luggage Backpack, Ages 3+ has the same lovely characters as the kids backpack we recommended above but are a handy rolling kids suitcase
- Retractable handle for easy pulling
- Easy to access front pocket
- Option to carry as a backpack
- Cute animal shapes
So, after these pros and cons, what is the best luggage for kids?
As I said all trips are different and there is no such thing as one best kids luggage to surpass all others, so each of my travel will see a different set up:
- Weekend in Geneva, me alone with the kids: One travel backpack for me + one small backpack per child
- 10 days in Rome: Backpack for adults + trunki for the kids
- Three weeks in San Francisco: travel backpacks for adults + one trunki per child
I hope you my picks for the best kids luggage handy. What do you think is the best luggage for kids?
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