The Best Carry-On for Kids for a Stress-Free Trip
Choosing your own luggage is never an easy task, but when you need to pick also a bag for your little ones, things get even more complicated. Even if you are aware that your destination features all kinds of shops where you can buy everything your family needs, you will always want to carry travel essentials so that you are prepared in case you arrive at night or on the weekend when shops are closed. Our detailed children luggage reviews will help you choose the best carry-on for kids and travel with peace of mind.
Carry on less stress: find the best carry-on for kids
Traveling with kids is as stressful as it is exciting. There are loads of things to keep track of (besides keeping your eyes on the little ones themselves!). Whether you’re journeying by car, train, bus, or plane, you’ll want to have the essentials on hand at all times.
With kids in tow, it’s important to be prepped for any sort of mishap or emergency. In other words, you’ll want to have access to a mini first aid kit, a stash of snacks, and small toys for distraction purposes. What does this mean in terms of luggage?
Of course, first, you need to write your own family packing list with the essentials. Only then is it time to focus on what the kids will bring along. But here’s the good news: it’s not up to you to lug all of these items from destination to destination! These days there are hundreds of carry-ons for kids. Here we’ll discuss the best carry on luggage, or trolley, for kids.
⇒ Tip: Before you spend precious time packing, research regulations regarding the size and weight of luggage and the number of carry-ons allowed per person.
Find the best carry-on for kids baggage in our 10 in-depth children carry-on reviews
American Tourister Upright Hardside
What kid doesn’t want to travel with her favorite Disney icon? The American Tourister makes it easy for youngsters to seek adventure with a beloved Princess, Ninja Turtle or Star Wars character in tow.
One look at the sleek and durable Upright Hardside design and it’s clear why the American Tourister is considered the top kids carry on luggage with wheels. Crafted from ABS material, the hard-side case is super strong yet lightweight; it’s only 4.5 lbs! The in-line skate wheels are mounted on the side and there’s an easy-to-hold pull handle plus an extra strap on top for quick and easy lifting.
Inside the 18” x 13” x 8” luggage is an interior liner to protect clothes, plus ties to secure all items in place (even when your little one is racing through the airport!). You can split the interior compartment in half with a zipper divider that allows for more organized packing.
Whether you’re searching for carry on luggage for girls or boys, you can’t go wrong with the vibrant colors and trendy themes of the American Tourister. No doubt your littler traveler will be doubly excited to embark on a journey if the American Tourister is coming along as well.
Heys America Travel Tots 2 Piece Luggage
For some children, the ultimate journey includes a special 2-piece luggage set made up of a kids travel carry on suitcase and a kids travel carry on backpack.
Made with sturdy polycarbonate shells, the Heys America Travel Tots luggage set is ready for whatever lies ahead! The case has in-line skate wheels that lift the luggage safely off of the ground, a pull handle as well as an easy to grip carry handle. The suitcase measures 18” x 13.5” x 9” and weighs only 3.5 lbs.
The matching backpack is 13” x 10” x 5.5” and is just 1.2 lbs., so even the smallest traveler can handle it. Both the backpack and suitcase have zipper closures and are fully lined inside. Both pieces have a shiny coating that’s protective and attractive! A neat feature is that the backpack can be stacked on top of the suitcase using the carry handle.
There are only a few animal themes to choose from, so we imagine this Heys America travel luggage set is meant for adventurers as young as 3. That said, no doubt all designs will appeal to both boys and girls.
Goplus Carry On 2 Piece Luggage
Looking for something to compliment what many consider to be the top carry on trolley for kids? How about a perfectly sized, matching travel backpack?
The Goplus 2 piece luggage set for kids is practical, durable, and all around fun. Kids will enjoy the cartoon animal designs (ladybug, bee, penguin or dinosaur) and love the fact that they can easily pack everything they need between the two pieces.
What’s more, this kids carry on luggage with spinner wheels and an ergodynamic handle is a breeze to control. Your little one will proudly and effortlessly wheel her luggage around like a seasoned traveler!
Parents will appreciate that the hardcase (made from a combination of polycarbonate, ABS and nylon) is tough and long lasting and easy to clean. The trolley measures 19” x 14” x 9.5” and the backpack is 13” x 10” x 5”.
Skip Hop Zoo Little Kids Luggage
If you’re looking for a super lightweight kids carry on with wheels, check out Skip Hop Little Kids Luggage. Made from tough poly-canvas fabric (that’s BPA-free, Phthalate-free), this 13” suitcase weighs just over 2 lbs.
There’s a front zip area that’s convenient for items like snacks and small toys plus a special mesh pocket for a bottle. Inside pockets and compartments make packing easy and organized.
The handle is retractable and parents will appreciate the removable shoulder strap that they can grasp when their littlest traveler grows weary.
The variety of animal designs, including a butterfly, monkey, rhino, dog, ladybug, owl, giraffe or bee, make the Skip Hop suitcase appealing to both girls and boys. It’s a bonus that the animal characters match the rest of the Skip Hop Zoo line.
Melissa & Doug Trunki Carry-On For Kids
Even the most reluctant little traveler will look forward to new adventures with Trunki by Melissa & Doug! Trunki’s clever (and cute) design is multi-purpose: it acts as a suitcase, a riding toy, a place to sit, plus a practical means of transport for your 2 – 5 year old.
Where else can you find kids carry on luggage that’s so versatile?
Trunki is made from lightweight yet durable plastic. It is 18.2” x 8.5” x 12.8”, weighs close to 4 lbs. and can hold up to 75 lbs. There’s a tow strap and carry handles and four stabilized wheels. The seat is molded for comfort and there are two “horns” to grab on to for support and control. While the interior is roomy enough for all the essentials, add-ons are available, such as saddlebags or matching totes. A secure locking ensures that all belongings are safely stowed away until needed.
American Tourister Upright Softside
For an easy to maneuver, lightweight, appealing suitcase on wheels for boys or girls, look no further than the American Tourister Upright Softside. With easy to clean polyester/vinyl fabric (printed with various beloved Disney characters), side-mounted wheels, a retractable handle and a top carry handle, it’s no wonder that this American Tourister design is considered one of the best kids carry on suitcase.
This upright case measures 18” x 12” x 7”. The interior compartment is lined and has straps to hold down clothes and other items. There’s also an inside mesh pocket and a zippered area in the front that’s the perfect place to stash last-minute items.
Marvel Hardside Spinner Luggage For Kids
If your child can’t be a superhero, how about giving them one as a travel companion? The Marvel Hardside Luggage allows your youngster to join forces with his hero, so he’s ready to tackle whatever his next adventure throws his way.
Made from a tough mix of ABS and polycarbonate and with wheels that turn 360 degrees, the 20” Marvel Hardside is a great choice for a kids carry on luggage with spinner wheels. There’s a telescopic pull handle that can lock into place, plus a carry handle on the side that can be used for lifting and shifting around.
The interior is fully lined and expandable (up to 20% more room!) with a zippered divider, plus crisscross straps to secure garments. This case is recommended for slightly older travelers since it’s a bit larger and heavier than some of the other options; it measures 21” x 14.8” x 9.5” and weighs close to 7 lbs.
This product also comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
Olympia Kids Carry Luggage
The majority of the luggage we’ve reviewed here has been designed with what we’d consider “girl” themes (princesses, baby animals, unicorns, flowers). Therefore, we were thrilled to discover Olympia Kids that includes carry luggage designed with sports motifs and space themes.
The 19” polyester case (with an EVA foamed front) has a retractable pull handle plus a top carry handle. It’s very lightweight at less than 4 lbs. The in-line skate wheels are smooth and easy to maneuver.
Inside is fully lined and large enough to pack whatever your little one needs, plus there are 2 outside pockets for “overflow” items. We were pleased to see that this carry on comes with a limited 10-year warranty.
Stephen Joseph Classic Rolling Luggage
If you have a very young traveler, you need a kids carry on luggage with wheels that can withstand bumps and bruises, is super easy to wheel around, and light as can be. The Stephen Joseph Classic model fits the bill.
Colorful and sized just right for your toddler (14.5” x 8.5” x 18”), this case is lightweight polyester and weights just 2.5 lbs. It has a roomy interior plus several smaller pockets (with mesh linings) to stash things like snacks and small toys. The pull handle easily extends and the zip around closure allows for easy access.
Kids will be delighted by the vibrant designs that feature one of the following items: horse, shark, owl, ladybug, airplane, dinosaur, cat, butterfly, owl, mermaid, flowers, princess, and sports gear.
Lassig Kids Trolley
If you want a unique kids carry on trolley, check out the one by Lassig. Carefully designed with multiple compartments (there’s a space for shoes and laundry!), there’s also a 2-position pull handle, interior straps to secure garments, a reflector, and an ID badge.
At 12” x 7”, this carry on for kids weighs only 2 lbs. It’s made from polyester and decorated with unique illustrations that will definitely stand out in a crowd (monsters, wildlife, animal friends etc.)
For the eco-conscious parents, the Lassig Trolley is your best bet. The company continues to create products with recycled, untreated and regularly tested materials by environmentally friendly institutes.
What are the Features of the Best Kids Carry on Luggage?
Let’s face it, your carry on luggage is a big part of your trip. With this in mind, it makes sense to provide even the youngest traveler a carry on of her own.
Here are some of the most common questions about kids carry on luggage:
1. Can you take a backpack and a carry on suitcase on a plane?
Yes. If your main carry on is your suitcase, you can wheel it on board and wear a backpack as well.
2. Do regular airline restrictions apply to kids carry on luggage?
Yes. TSA’s “3-1-1” rules applies: no more than 3 oz. of liquids or gels carried in one quart-sized clear baggie per person (kids too).
3. Do kids carry-ons need ID tags?
Yes. Any baggage carried on to a plane needs a tag and it’s a highly recommended practice when traveling by other modes of transportation (planes, buses, boats).
4. Can you pack snacks in a kids carry on?
Yes, if the snacks are in a solid form like crackers, cookies, sandwiches, dry cereal or fruit.
Before buying your kids carry on luggage, there are a few important features that you should look for
- Size. Look for a manageable size that follows transportation guidelines. Remember, as your child grows, her clothes get larger too and that means she’ll need a roomier interior.
- Weight. The lighter the case the better because it will only get heavier when packed. Keep in mind that the hard-side cases are generally heavier than soft-sided ones.
- Price. All of the above options are around the same affordable price point with one exception; the Lassig model is about double the price probably due to its eco-friendly materials and European design.
- Design. You’ll want to pick a style that your child is excited to lug around. The good news is that there are tons of themes to choose from (animals, monsters, nature, sports and more!).
- Durability. Children’s carry on luggage doesn’t need to last forever (they’ll eventually outgrow it). That said, it should be tough enough to endure a few bumps along the road to adventure.
When will a Kids Carry On with Wheels Come in Handy?
In more ways than one, kids carry on luggage is a huge asset on family trips. With a carry on of her own, your child will be able to help you with travel preparations by packing her own belongings. What’s more, by being in charge of her stuff, she’s learning about responsibility and independence.
When it comes to kids, the right gear is always important, so whether that’s baby gear, sports gear or travel gear, you can’t go wrong investing in a carry on for your child.
So whether the family is headed on an African Safari, a weekend get-away, a night at Grandma’s, or a day trip to a friend’s house, kids carry on luggage is bound to increase the excitement and ease of the adventure.
Author bio: Samara Kamenecka is a VA specializing in writing and SEO, living in Madrid. When she’s not chained to her desk working, she likes to explore the city with her boyfriend, their two kids and their dog. She blogs over at Tiny Fry and pins her heart out over on Pinterest.
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