The Best Luggage for Kids, Whether They’re Jetsetters or Traveling for the First Time

by Michelle Calcaterra and Sabrina Rojas Weiss

The Best Luggage for Kids, Whether They’re Jetsetters or Traveling for the First Time

Image Credits: Amazon

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These rolling suitcases, backpacks, and small bags are easy for little ones to handle on their own.


Searching for luggage for kids is such an exciting rite of passage for parents. First, congratulations on deciding to travel with your children, which is no small feat. What doesn’t need to be difficult is choosing the best suitcases, backpacks, and bags for the occasion. We’re here to help you sort all that out so that all you have to worry about is what to pack for your trip.


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That’s consideration No. 1 in this kids’ luggage process: The trip you’re taking (an overnight adventure at Grandma’s house versus a voyage by air or sea to a tropical island) can impact what type of bag is best to buy. It’s also wise to consider what your kids roll with on a daily basis—in addition to clothes and shoes, maybe they take a stuffed turtle wherever they go or need a spot to stow their electronic devices. They probably also pack a snack (or several) and a reusable water bottle. This will help you decide how many pockets and compartments you’ll need.


Size is also a consideration: What your 4-year-old can carry differs greatly from what your 8-year-old can handle (especially if they’re going to be responsible for their own bag). And then, of course, there’s the design. Little kids may want their favorite cartoon character to adorn their luggage, while older ones may stick to bright colors or patterns. With that in mind, you may want to look for more affordable luggage they’ll outgrow in a couple of years or invest more in something they’ll be able to pack for college one day.


Thankfully, there are plenty of options to choose from, and we’re helping you sort through them to find the best luggage for your kids.


Best Kids’ Luggage



What Types of Luggage Are There for Kids?


Kids’ luggage falls into four main categories:


        • Backpacks

          If your child is school age, you are undoubtedly familiar with the array of backpacks available. Backpacks are often a cheaper kids’ luggage option and are ideal for short trips (like that sleepover at Grandma’s or a weekend excursion to an indoor water park) or as a carry-on for plane rides (their size allows them to be easily stowed underneath the seat in front of you). Backpacks should be made of durable material; often contain pockets for water bottles, electronics and small items; and are easy for kids to carry.


        • Carry-On and Rolling Luggage

          Carry-on luggage is sized within TSA guidelines (a maximum of 9 by 14 by 22 inches) and usually comes in the form of a duffel or shoulder bag. There are also several rolling suitcase options, which are easy for kids to maneuver on their own (and for parents to take over when their tots tire out). Carry-ons and rolling luggage are often made from soft yet durable material, feature many zippered compartments, and are available at several price points.


        • Hard-Shell Luggage

          Hard-shell luggage is made from material that can take a beating without damage. Look for suitcases made from polycarbonate, which is scratch-resistant and can withstand being dropped or thrown onto hard surfaces. While hard-shell luggage has some flexibility, it doesn’t bend or flatten the way soft suitcases and duffel bags will. But it’s ideal for kids to sit on when an actual seat isn’t available. And it’s durable, which is basically a synonym for kid-friendly.


        • Ride-On Luggage

          Yes, this is a thing. Manufacturers actually make suitcases that your kids can climb aboard to sit on when they get tired of walking. Some also resemble scooters or standing strollers and have a footboard attached. (Genius!)


What to Consider When Choosing the Best Luggage


When trying to decide the best luggage to buy for your kids, ask yourself the following questions:


        • What is your budget?
        • How often do you travel? How do you get there? Car? Plane? Boat?
        • How old are your kids?
        • How self-sufficient are your kids?
        • How much gear (toys, electronics, food and water) do they need?
        • Will you be buying more than one piece of luggage?
        • What accessories or features are most important to you?


Below, we break down the best luggage for kids by category, using features and customer reviews to guide us. Safe travels!


Image Credits: Walmart

Best Affordable

Protege Kids 3-Piece Luggage Set


Yes, you read that price correctly. For less than $40, you can get a kids' suitcase, backpack, and neck pillow to travel in style. That price makes many of us more likely to get something covered in rocket ships, dinosaurs, or unicorns.

Includes 17-inch rolling carry-on suitcase with polyester body, glide-on wheels, and telescoping handle (total length is 18.5 inches with wheels)
15-inch backpack
and a 9.8-inch microbead neck pillow. Comes in six different prints.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
"I really appreciate the smooth movement the wheels have, it really helps my son push it around on his own," wrote one frequent family traveler. "The backpack is definitely way more durable than their regular school backpack, the zipper is very smooth. It also has a nice lining on the inside for easy cleanup if he spills any liquids."

Image Credits: Target

Best Backpack

Cat & Jack Unicorn Kids' Backpack


Not only is this unicorn backpack absolutely adorable (as is its dinosaur counterpart), we like that it's a darker color. Nothing gets dingy-looking faster than a backpack that's been tossed onto the ground and the floors of cars, planes, and airports. The multiple compartments and extra padding on the back make this a practical way to encourage kids to carry their own things.

17 by 11.75 by 5.75 inches polyester backpack with laptop compartment, two zippered outer pockets, and water bottle compartment. Adjustable shoulder straps and sternum straps.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
"We are pleasantly surprised by the quality of this super cute backpack," wrote one parent. "My daughter loves [that] there are [three] separate compartments that help keep her things organized. Price is great for such a decent quality backpack!"

Image Credits: Target

Best Carry-On

Crckt 18” Kids Carry-On Suitcase


There’s tons of room for toys and clothes in this rolling carry-on, which has numerous compartments to keep everything organized and easily accessible. A bungee cord keeps stuffed animals that come along for the ride safe, and each carry-on comes with its own little plush animal. Fun patterns such as unicorns and dinosaurs make it appealing for both boys and girls.

18 by 11.5 by 6.75 inches, 4.8 pounds, holds up to 30 pounds.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
"Got this dinosaur for my grandson and he absolutely loved it! It has lots of outside pockets and had a cuddly little dinosaur toy attached! Great purchase!"

Image Credits: Amazon

Best Rolling Suitcase

Stephen Joseph Classic Rolling Luggage


Kids' apparel brand Stephen Joseph knows which themes and prints will please kids most, and we're sure your kid will love one of the 16 available for this suitcase. It has nearly 2,500 five-star ratings on Amazon.

Measures 14.5 by 18 by 6.5 inches, with one large compartment and three small zippered pockets. The polyester material comes in 16 different prints, and the handle locks in two different heights.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
"It’s amazing how much my 6-year-old can pack in there," a parent says. "We love it for traveling for a week or so at a time. Very durable. And we love the zipper pockets on the outside and how easy it is for my daughter to work on her own."

Image Credits: Amazon

Best Ride-On Suitcase

JetKids by Stokke Bedbox


Children's furniture brand Stokke calls this unique piece of luggage a BedBox because in addition to being a suitcase kids can ride, it converts into a footrest with a small mattress that can turn an airplane seat into a kid-size bed.

18.11 by 14.17 by 7.87 inches. Includes a washable mattress pad, stickers, an adjustable strap for pulling or to use as a shoulder strap, and swivel wheels.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
"Traveling with a toddler is always a challenge but comfort is key and this little magic package makes the airport trip that much smoother," says a reviewer. "We can store small toys, [a] pillow, and one throw blankets for our family of three. Great idea and great buy. We will be using this until it breaks."

Image Credits: Pottery Barn Kids

Best Personalized Luggage

Pottery Barn Kids Mackenzie Blue/Gray Glow-in-the-Dark Carry-All Travel Bag


For an additional $12.50, Pottery Barn Kids will personalize any of the luggage in its extensive collection, like this wheeled carry-all. Parents can choose between a monogram or their child’s name and have a choice of several font styles and thread colors, which PBK coordinates with the fabric. Personalization for this model is available in seven thread colors and 10 font styles.

16.5 by 9 by 13.5 inches. Made from water-resistant recycled plastic polyester and available in five different prints.

Image Credits: Pottery Barn Kids

Best Hard Shell

Mima Ovi Trolley Suitcase


Made from easy-to-clean faux-leather—in sophisticated colors such as camel, snow white, and black—this egg-shaped luggage on wheels is roomy and durable, with a telescoping handle and zip-around closure. Its sleek design makes it perfect for pre-teens who are so over cartoon characters

13 by 9 by 18.5 inches. Polyurethane, polyester, plastic, and metal material. One central compartment with an inner mesh pocket. Two wheels.

Image Credits: Macy's

Best Kids' Luggage Set

Traveler's Club Kids' Five-Piece Luggage Set


Getting a full matching set of luggage is as exciting for some kids as it is for adults—and the neck pillow in this set seems particularly thoughtful. This very reasonably priced set from Macy's comes in prints featuring unicorns, dinosaurs, hearts, and outer space.

Includes carry-on suitcase (18 by 9 by 12 inches) with four 360-degree wheels, backpack (15 by 10 by 5 inches) with water bottle pocket and exterior front pocket, 10-inch lunchbox with exterior pockets, and beaded neck pillow.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
"This set is more adorable in person," wrote one parent. "It’s very durable and withstands our kids’ handlings. I was impressed with how smooth zippers work and the many pockets inside to keep our kids organized. I would highly recommend this cute set. My daughter takes smaller bags for sleepovers and all moms [ask] me about the bags."

Image Credits: Amazon

Best Disney-Themed

American Tourister Kids' Disney Hardside Upright Luggage


If you really want to get your kid excited about having to carry their own luggage, make sure their favorite character is printed on the front. This American Tourister kids' suitcase comes in versions that feature Frozen characters, Mickey, Minnie, Star Wars' Grogu, and more.

12.75 by 8.6 by 16 inches (for the suitcase labeled 18-inch, which must refer to size including wheels), made with ABS thermoplastic. Two wheels. Available in 10 different Disney themes and two different sizes.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
"A great suitcase for a little one," wrote one customer. "My nephew wanted to sleep with it, the graphics were so good. Super sturdy, has multiple settings for the handle so kid or mom can roll it comfortably. Light and easy to handle. Perfect first piece of luggage for a kiddo."

Image Credits: Amazon

Best Boys’ Suitcase

Marvel Spider-Man Hardside Spinner Luggage


We are not saying that girls won't also love a good Spidey suitcase, by the way. The little superhero fan in your life will be proud to tote this around the airport, for sure.

18 by 12 by 9 inches, polycarbonate suitcase with four spinning wheels.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
"I really love this luggage," raved a customer. "It’s so darn cute. I wish it was just a tad bigger to hold more clothes, but nonetheless it served its purpose. Think of it like this as far as size: [I]t’s small enough to fit under the plane seat. However, my boy really felt like a grown up and was happy!"

Image Credits: State Bags

Best Girls’ Luggage

State Bags Mini Logan Suitcase


Again, kids of any gender can delight in the rainbow, dragons, and castle themes available for this small carry-on suitcase. You won't feel bad investing a little bit more in luggage that is well-made enough to last several years and so stylish that kids won't feel like they've outgrown it.

15 by 11 by 8.3 inches (without wheels), polyester exterior and recycled polyester interior. Two interior pockets, one small exterior zipper pocket, four 360-degree spinning wheels, and a sleeve in the back for attaching to a larger suitcase handle.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
"We wanted something for our daughter that would be durable, first and foremost, but also look good. This bag will definitely last her a long time

it's so well constructed and so cute. Everyone who sees it can't help but smile."

Image Credits: Walmart

Best for Animal Lovers

Costway Two-Piece Kids' Luggage Set


Travel can be as stressful for kids as it is for adults. The woodland creatures on this suitcase and backpack provide a soothing escape from airport chaos.

Includes trolley case (16 by 12 by 8.5 inches) with four spinning wheels and backpack (12 by 10 by 4.7 inches), both with hard ABS plastic exterior and nylon interior.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
"These are awesome!" raved a parent. "My 4-year-old loved them, and they made our first flight with her a breeze. The suitcase easily fits into the carry-on compartment, and it held more than enough for our four-day trip. She got a lot of compliments and was able to pull her own bag the entire trip. Highly recommend!"