If you are in a hurry and just want our recommendation for the best travel bag for kids, we loved the Trunki Ride-On Bag.
Everyone needs to get away every once in a while. The daily responsibilities of home, kids, and work can leave you feeling a bit worn out and in desperate need of a vacation. So, you book your next flight or plan your next road trip with the family to enjoy some much needed R&R.
When it comes to packing for a family vacation, organization will be your best friend. And one of the best ways to optimize your packing space is with a separate travel bag for your child.
This way, you can reserve the space in your bags for your things and there is a designated place for your kids’ things in their own bags.
Not all travel bags for kids are created equal. You will need to consider which type is best for your mode of transportation and how long you will be traveling for, as well as the number of children you are traveling with.
In some cases, it may be easier to have one or two bags for your children to share for their main items and then give each of them their own backpacks for fun things they will use in the car or on the plane.
We will summarize the different travel bag types to consider, which ones are best for different methods of travel, and even have a detailed look at some of the best kids luggage.
In This Post:
In this article we will review the following travel bags suitable for kids:
- Trunki Ride on Suitcase
- MANO Ride on Suitcase
- Skip Hop Soft Side Rolling Suitcase
- American Tourister Hardtop Suitcase
- Mountaintop Backpack
- Yodo Zoo 2-in-1 Rolling Suitcase & Backpack
- Skip Hop Backpack
- Rockland Jr. Hardside Spinner Luggage
- GYMAX 2 in 1 Suitcase & Backpack Luggage Set
- Munchkin Brica GoBoost Booster Seat Travel Bag
Types Of Travel Bags Suitable For Kids
If you are planning a longer trip – perhaps a week or more – a separate rolling suitcase is at the top of the list of best luggage for kids, especially if they are in their late toddler or early childhood years.
At this age, they are a bit more open to taking on some more responsibility and having their own suitcase.
With rolling suitcases, you have a couple of different options. The cheaper way to go would be with a soft side rolling suitcase for kids. These typically have wheels that only roll one way, so it may be better suited for an older child.
They will need to be tipped at an angle and dragged behind with the pull handle. There is no other option for wheeling or carrying this type of rolling luggage.
For many children, a hard shell rolling suitcase may be a better idea. Not only is this type of rolling luggage more durable, but it also has spinner wheels most of the time. This feature allows the suitcase to roll upright and all directions, making it much easier for little kids to handle and steer.
This type of luggage is sometimes referred to spinner luggage for this reason.
With rolling suitcases, you will usually find several color choices and designs. Some may even feature your little ones’ favorite characters. They will be very excited for their next trip knowing they get to take their special luggage with them.
Another fun option for kids is a travel bag they can ride on. Rather than rolling upright, with the body of the suitcase being more vertical, ride-on kids luggage sits more horizontal with a curved back for your child to sit on.
These types of suitcases for kids are best suited for younger children who may get tired of walking after short periods of time or may not be able to keep up if you need to move quickly through the airport.
Your child can simply sit on the back of the suitcase and ride along as you pull them behind you. When you aren’t in a rush, they can also scoot along on the suitcase on their own, making it both a fun and practical purchase.
Some of these bags can be a little bulky, however, so keep that in mind if you are looking to only have carry on bags for your flight.
One of the most popular ride-on bags is the Trunki, which comes in various animal designs. It is also small enough to be used as a carry on. It can help make just about any family trip fun for everyone involved.
Some trips may not require your child to pack a lot, or you may just have plenty of room in your own bag for their stuff. They may just need a bag of their own to carry fun things, like snacks, books, coloring supplies, and toys.
In these cases, a backpack may be better than kids luggage. You can still find some fun designs with animals and you will likely have good storage options. There may be one big zipper pocket or several to help keep small things separate and easy to find.
Most child backpacks also have mesh pockets on the side to hold a water bottle, which is an essential travel item.
Of course, backpacks are an ideal travel bag for school trips as well.
Some travel bags for kids may serve more than one function. Yes, they can provide a bit of extra storage space for things you can’t fit or don’t want to lose in your large suitcase.
Some can even transform altogether, turning into a booster seat that can be used when eating out or when flying if you don’t need or want to take a big car seat.
If you can’t decide on just one type of travel bag, you can always go with a luggage set.
Unlike adults luggage sets, which come with multiple suitcase sizes and hand luggage with shoulder strap, luggage sets for children typically include both a suitcase and a backpack.
This can keep your kids’ overnight things and carry ons separate and easier to find.
Best Travel Bags For Kids
1. Trunki Ride-On Suitcase
Trunki is designed for kids to use on their own without the help of mom or dad. There is no handle for parents to pull. Rather, children straddle the bag and scoot or cruise along. There is no need to push, pull, or drag this bag, though there are handles to pick it up and carry it when necessary.
One of the nicest things about this bag is the fact that it is carry one size. You can keep all of your kids’ things close by if you need to access them while traveling.
This does mean that it isn’t the biggest inside, but with a bit of help from you, your child should still be able to fit what they need for a few days away.
This suitcase comes in a variety of fun animal designs, from bumble bees to tigers, and everything in between.
There are also a few that simply have colors if that is your kids’ preference. Your children are sure to find just the right design that fits their personality. You’ll have so much fun watching your kids rolling along.
- Small enough to use as a carry on
- Fun for kids while still practical
- Comes in multiple colors and designs
- Hard case keeps things protected
- Kids will outgrow it quickly with its small size
- Parents may find their children can’t scoot quick enough to keep up
2. MANO Ride-On Suitcase
Another of kids ride-on luggage is this model by MANO. Unlike the Trunki, this one is meant to be used with a parent. The suitcase itself is shaped like a seat, and it includes a seat belt to keep your child fastened and safe.
You won’t need to worry about your child falling behind when you are racing to your next gate in the airport. They are simply along for the ride as you push or pull them along. There are even footrests on either side of the bag so your kids’ feet don’t drag.
When they are ready to start walking again, they can roll it just like any other upright suitcase. No need to drag it along thanks to wheels that roll in all directions.
There are other brands that offer similar models in multiple colors, but this one in particular only comes in red and blue, which may not be the most exciting for your child.
- Safe for children to ride with a secure lap belt
- Foot rests on either side so feet don’t drag
- Helps maintain speed if you are in a rush
- Small enough to use as a carry on
- Odd shape for packing inside
- Kids can’t scoot on their own easily
3. Skip Hop Soft Side Rolling Suitcase
If you are looking for a fun soft shell suitcase for your kids, Skip Hop has some great options. No more boring, solid color luggage. These are some of the best kids’ travel bags, featuring fun animals that your kids are sure to love.
The front pocket is useful for keeping all of your kids’ favorite things easy to access while keeping their clothes separate in the large main pocket. There is also a mesh pocket on the side to keep your child’s water bottle close by during your travels.
These bags are best suited for older toddlers and young children who are a bit more coordinated. The wheels do not spin in all directions, so they will need to tip the suitcase and pull it behind them.
There is also a small handle on top to help your kids carry the bag when they need to.
They offer a full line of bags for kids, so you can create a whole matching luggage set for your little ones.
- Multiple fun animals to choose from
- Small and lightweight for children
- Outer pockets for organization and storage
- Sturdy poly-canvas materials
- Wheels do not roll in upright position
- Doesn’t hold much for a long trip
4. American Tourister Hardtop Suitcase
When it comes to luggage, American Tourister is one brand you know you can trust. But did you know they make some of the best kids’ luggage as well?
This suitcase model features a hard outer shell, which makes it a bit more durable than the average soft bag. The zippers are also very durable, so you know this bag is made to last.
The wheels don’t roll in the upright position, but they aren’t like your average suitcase wheels. Instead, this bag has skate wheels, making them more durable and easy to maneuver thanks to the extra rubber grip.
There are so many fun designs available with this bag. Your kids will be so excited when they see all of their favorite Disney characters, including Mickey and Minnie, Anna and Elsa, Lightning McQueen, and all of the princesses.
It also comes in two sizes – 16-inch and 18-inch – which can both be used as a kids’ carry on as well.
- Fun Disney character designs
- High quality outer shell and zippers
- Skate wheels for better maneuverability
- Available in two sizes
- A bit expensive for a kids’ travel bag
- Doesn’t roll when upright
5. Mountaintop Toddler Backpack
One of the best kids’ backpack options is made by Mountaintop. They come in several sizes, fitting the entire family from toddler to adult.
This backpack is designed with everything the parent of a young child could need.
The material is waterproof and very durable, with reliable zipper and stitching that endures the test of time. As your kids carry this backpack, it won’t weight them down thanks to the extremely lightweight design.
There are multiple pockets that help with organization, including an outer pocket that can hold your kids’ water bottle.
With this backpack, you also don’t need to worry about a lost bag, or a lost child for that matter.
There is a sewn in name tag on the inside with an area for name, address, and phone number. There is also a small loop on the back for you to attach the included leash so you can keep your kids nearby at all times.
- Extremely lightweight
- Multiple pockets for storage and organization
- Chest strap makes it easier for kids to carry
- Multiple colors and designs available
- Toddler backpack is too small to fit large reading and coloring books
- Water bottle pocket is a bit small
6. Yodo Zoo 2-In-1 Rolling Suitcase & Backpack
Very similar to the Skip Hop suitcase, this one by Yodo Zoo features fun animals that your kids are sure to enjoy.
What makes this one of the best kids’ travel bags is that it can also be used as a backpack, making it the ultimate kids’ carry on bag.
If your child gets tired of pulling their bag behind them, they can just sling it over their shoulders and carry it that way. This also makes it a great bag for school trips.
The outer mesh pocket can hold a water bottle and the interior can hold everything your kids will need for school or their next field trip.
- Suitcase doubles as a backpack
- Outer pocket for holding drinks
- Sewn in name tag on back for easy identification
- Backpack straps tuck in so they don’t drag
- Wheels aren’t the best quality
- Levers to raise and lower handle are difficult for a toddler to operate
7. Skip Hop Backpack
To go along with the suitcase we looked at previously, we have the matching backpack. Just picture how adorable they will be as you watch your kids’ carry their backpack while pulling their matching suitcase.
You get all of the same animal design choices, so you can get a matching set, or your child can pick a different animal they like.
The backpack is very small, so you can expect to only fit some small toys, snacks, and small books.
However, there are some smart organizational features, including an interior mesh divider that can be used to keep crayons and small items separate and easy to find. There is also an outer pocket for a water bottle, which can help save more space inside.
- Multiple animals to choose from
- Coordinates with other Skip Hop products
- Based in the United States
- Easy for kids to carry
- A bit small for school age children
- Water bottle pocket doesn’t fit big bottles
8. Rockland Jr. Hardside Spinner Luggage
Another one of the best kids’ travel bags is the Rockland Jr. hardside spinner. This suitcase allows your child to enjoy a fun animal design, just like you find with the Skip Hop and Yodo Zoo brands, but you have the added durability of a hard outer shell.
The fact that the bag rolls upright is a great bonus. It makes it super easy for your child to handle on their own bag without any help from mom and dad.
Each bag design includes cute coordinating zipper pulls and a name tag that can help you identify your child’s bag easier.
- Includes matching name tag
- Hard outer shell for added durability
- Fun animal shapes and designs
- Upright spinning wheels for easy maneuvering
- No expansion available for extra packing
- Zipper is not fastened well to bag
9. GYMAX 2-In-1 Backpack & Suitcase Luggage Set
Looking for the added durability found in suitcase with a hard outer shell? What if there was a luggage set that came with a backpack with a hard outer shell as well? This set from GYMAX offers just that.
There aren’t many design options available; there is one for boys with a space theme and one for girls with a mermaid theme. But they are fun designs that your kids are sure to love. The suitcase with all of their clothes rolls upright – thanks to the spinning wheels – as your kids carry the matching backpack that has all of their fun items for the trip.
When your child is tired of carrying their backpack, there is also a loop on the back that can slide over the suitcase handle, making it easier to take along without weighing them down.
- Comes with suitcase and backpack
- Hard outer shell that is waterproof and scratch resistant
- Rolls upright
- Carries all of the essentials
- A bit expensive for something not name brand
- Doesn’t have a high quality zipper
10. Munchkin Brica GoBoost Booster Seat Travel Bag
If you are looking for a multi-function bag that can double as a booster seat, you will definitely want to consider the Munchkin Brica GoBoost.
There isn’t much storage space in this bag, but there is a pocket that can pack all of your baby’s needs, like diapers, wipes, an extra change of clothes, and maybe even a couple of small toys. This bag is the perfect option for a day or weekend outing when you plan to eat out occasionally.
Then you can easily open the bag up and use the booster seat at your favorite restaurant or even at the grandparents’ house if they don’t have a high chair available.
- Doubles as a booster seat
- Can fit baby’s essentials
- Simple design
- Easy to carry and transport
- Doesn’t fit very much in the pocket
- Better suited for babies than toddlers or young children
Why Get Kids Their Own Travel Bag?
It can be very difficult to travel when you are juggling multiple bags and children, especially when your kids are young. You need to hold onto their hand(s) while somehow handling all the luggage at the same time.
With their own suitcase, kids develop a sense of responsibility. It takes one thing off your mind, and you can focus on keeping your child nearby rather than worry about chasing after another bag.
Kids also respond fairly well to a sense of independence, especially as they get older. They want to take control of any aspect of their life that they can, and having your kids carry their own luggage for travel can really help develop that sense of responsibility.
Of course, you always need to prepare for the unexpected when traveling with kids, particularly when it comes to lost luggage.
One of the best travel tips we can give you is to put a name tag on your kids’ luggage. Be sure to include your own name, phone number, and email address so the finder can contact you and get your kids’ bags back to you.
Little kids love when they have something of their own that looks just like mom and dad. They will be excited to have their own luggage for kids that looks just like their parents’.
Not only will having their own kids’ luggage make them excited to use it, but it will also make them excited for the trip itself. They can help you pack by picking out their outfits for every day they will be gone and all of the fun things they want to take along in their hand luggage.
Ultimately, giving your kids their own travel bag optimizes organization. You no longer need to share your luggage space with your children, and they can keep all of their travel essentials together for the trip.
Having your things separate from your children’s can also save time upon arrival. You won’t need to sort through their clothes, toys, and whatever else they may need on the trip in order to get to what you need. You can simply open each bag, and everyone can get their own things.
Kids carry on luggage can also be a real lifesaver when it comes to organization. Each of your children can carry their own toys, books, coloring supplies, and extra set of clothes (in case of an accident) so no one person is loaded down with everyone’s stuff.
What To Look For In A Travel Bag
Will Your Child Love It?
One of the main points of giving your children their own travel bags – besides saving space in your own luggage – is to teach them responsibility.
They need to be in charge of their own bags when traveling. But it is very hard to convince them to use something they don’t like.
Kids are more likely to use things they are excited about. While you may enjoy practical, neutral colored travel bags, they would probably prefer something in a brighter color, fun pattern, or even featuring their favorite characters or animals.
Let them look online with you or go to the store to help pick out their own luggage. You likely will find that they will want to take care of it and use it a lot more if they love the design.
Practical For Intended Use
The type of travel bag should fit the intended use. To determine this, you will need to consider a few different factors.
First, look at the size of the bag. If you are only going out of town overnight, you probably won’t want to bring an entire suitcase for your child. A backpack or hand luggage with shoulder strap may be better suited for this type of trip.
Next, you will want to look at your mode of transportation.
If you are flying, are you planning to check bags or do you want to stick to carry on to avoid fees? If you are traveling by car, how big is your trunk? The amount of space you have to store your luggage will also make a big difference.
Finally, you need to consider your child’s age. Are they old enough to assume responsibility for their own luggage? Or is it better for them to have a small backpack and utilize some of your own luggage space for their clothes?
Few things are more stressful when traveling than having to juggle a bunch of unnecessary or oversized bags. Keep it simple and practical.
Durable Light Materials
Kids get worn out easily when they are doing something that isn’t particularly exciting.
They may start out all gung-ho on your trip, but as you are sitting for extended periods of time on airplanes and crossing entire airports to make your next flight, they will soon tire of dragging their luggage around.
You don’t want to make it any harder on them by giving them a bag that is too heavy or cumbersome. Opt for lightweight materials that are still strong enough to endure rough baggage handling and the not so gentle touch of a child. You will find that your kids carry their own bags much easier when they don’t feel weighed down.
Hard Or Soft Shell
Speaking of durable materials, when looking at luggage, you need to consider whether a hard or soft shell is best suited for your child and method of travel.
In most cases, especially if you anticipate using the luggage long term or checking the bag on a flight, choosing a hard shell may be your best bet.
They withstand a lot more wear and tear over time. Often, they are also much easier to roll since they usually have spinner wheels.
This type of luggage isn’t necessarily the best for all occasions, however. They don’t have much give when you are packing them full to the brim.
In these cases, soft shell luggage may be the better bet. They are lighter weight and have a bit more of an ability to expand when you are stuffing it with clothes and other necessities.
How many times have you picked up your bag from baggage claim only to find that one of the zippers was ripped off in transit? Or how often do you find your zippers wearing out over time after stuffing your luggage full trip after trip?
High quality zippers are a must when searching for travel bags.
You don’t want to worry about losing your things because a zipper got lost or the seam ripped under too much pressure. You want it to endure the test of time, no matter how much zipping you end up putting it through.
Finding the right travel bag for your kids doesn’t have to be difficult, and it can really save you a lot of headaches when packing.
You will have a designated space for your children’s things and save space in your own bag to take that extra outfit “just in case” you go out to a nice dinner.
Giving your kids their own travel bags can teach them responsibility as well. You can leave them in charge of their own bag while they travel so you have one less thing to worry about. Make your next trip a great one!
For More Travel Gear for Kids
Check out the following posts for more information on what you should be taking on your next vacation with the kids: