Traveling with children has its rewards -- fun family bonding, seeing the world through your kid’s eyes, and losing yourself in a childlike sense of adventure, to name a few. It also comes with a tiny challenge: packing and schlepping a lot of extra stuff. Make that part of the journey a little easier on yourself by equipping that young globe-trotter with his or her own suitcase. In fact, your little one may even be inspired to pack and tote the bag themselves, with a smile. Whether your travel companion is a tot or a tween, boy or girl, we’ve got an awesome piece of luggage (or two!) to entice them to do just that.
1. Lassig About Friends Rolling Suitcase
A rolling suitcase with a fun print is a good choice for a child’s first suitcase. This one has an interior mesh pocket, perfect for keeping that special stuffed animal that came along for the ride secure. The Lassig About Friends suitcase also features a water bottle pocket.
2. Mima Ovi Trolley Suitcase
Who says kids’ luggage has to be cutesy? This 18-inch hard-shell rolling bag has an ultra-modern style, plus it’s practical. Chocolate milk (or whatever the spill on the day) wipes right off. The handle has three height positions, so your five-year-old will probably still be pulling the Ovi Trolley suitcase when he or she is 10.
3. Stephen Joseph ELP Rolling Suitcase
There’s no chance of missing this eye-popping pick on the baggage carousel. Good thing, too -- your owl-loving little one would be devastated to lose this Stephen Joseph ELP rolling suitcase. The pretty and playful appliques make it a standout.
4. Popatu Trolley Rolling Backpack Set
Could there be anything more appropriate for a first cross-country flight than the Popatu airline rolling backpack set? This cheeky charmer lets your little one stuff the engine on either side with snacks, toys, or tiny travel treasures. The fuzzy aircraft detaches from the trolley to become a bonafide backpack, and it’s machine washable.
5. Skip Hop Zoo Kids Rolling Luggage
The BPA and phthalate-free Skip Hop Zoo line includes an array of critter designs, but our favorite is Eureka, the unicorn. The mythical beast will take your tot on a magical journey, whether through the airport or up grandma’s driveway. The detachable shoulder strap adjusts, so you can carry it hands-free if (okay, when) your preschooler poops out.
6. French Bull Ziggy Spinner Luggage
We like the vivid, unisex Kiss design of the French Bull Ziggy luggage for boys and girls who have outgrown the look (and size) of little-kid luggage. This 20-inch, hardside carry-on boasts dual two-inch multi-directional spinner wheels that rotate 360 degrees. The flexible top and side handles allow for easy hoisting up to the overhead bin.
7. Trendykid Travel Buddies Luggage Set
The last day of vacation won’t be such a bummer if she flies home with the Trendykid Travel Buddies’ Lola Ladybug set. The wheelie suitcase weighs less than five pounds, and the matching hardshell backpack weighs in at an equally kid-geared 1.5 pounds.
8. American Tourister Star Wars C3po Hardside Spinner
Star Wars fan in your crew? Strutting around with this baby may be almost as exciting as the vacation itself. The C3po hardside suitcase holds a lot more than you might think, and is also lighter than it appears -- a win-win!
9. Trunki Ride-On Suitcase
No doubt designed by a veteran parent, the Trunki morphs from a sturdy, pull-behind bag into a ride-on suitcase for a tired tot. It also provides a kid’s seat, holding up to 75 pounds, if all the chairs at the gate are taken. Back home, it doubles as a toy trunk until the next trip.
10. Vera Bradley Rio Duffel Bag
This is one brand that middle school girls seem to favor as much as their moms do. The quilted duffel is ideal for tossing in the car for a long weekend away. The double straps have a drop of 16 inches, perfect for most 10- to 12-year-old girls to use now and for years to come. Bonus: you can borrow it.
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