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 your 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 tween, boy or girl, we’ve got an awesome piece of luggage (or two!) to entice them to do just that.
How cute is this Lassig rolling suitcase, featuring cheery, dancing bears? The 18-inch bag meets most international and domestic carry-on size requirements, plus it boasts a zip-around toy pocket and a water bottle pouch. In addition to a robin-egg blue hue, it comes in pink.
Kids’ luggage doesn’t have to be cutesy. Proof: This 18-inch hard-shell rolling bag has an ultra-modern style, plus it’s practical. Chocolate milk (or whatever the spill of the day) wipes right off. The handle has three height positions, so your five-year-old will probably still be pulling this Ovi suitcase when he or she is 10.
With this sweet piece of Stephen Joseph luggage, she’ll be ready to roll. It’s light, easy to maneuver, has an extendable handle, and complies with carry-on size regulations. And even with a trim design, it still holds plenty. There are lots of little compartments to stash travel essentials, as well as those little treasures children always seem to pick up on trips. The whimsical unicorn design is done up with touches of glitter, so you can be sure your on-the-go fashionista will be strutting through the airport in style.
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, plus it’s machine washable.
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.
We like the vivid, unisex Kiss design of the French Bull rolling suitcase for boys and girls who have outgrown the look (and size) of little-kid luggage. This 20-inch, hard-side carry-on features 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.
The last day of vacation won’t be such a bummer if he or she is toting this Rusty Robot luggage set through the airport. Not only is the design super fun, but it won’t be a struggle to manage. Hard-side bags are usually on the hefty side, but this wheelie suitcase weighs less than five pounds. Meanwhile, the companion backpack weighs in at an equally kid-friendly one-and-a-half pounds. Bonus: The backpack can be used on its own for short adventures, like an overnight at grandma’s or a sleepover at a friend’s house.
The entire American Tourister Star Wars collection is super sleek. Each piece of luggage sports an ergonomic pull handle along with a top handle, which makes it easy to lift off the baggage carousel. Inside, there are two compartments, so dirty clothes can stay separate from the clean ones on the way home. Another big advantage is that your kid won’t grow out of this bag quickly. (We know a few adult Star War fans who would absolutely use this!)
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.
This brand’s signature print stands out in any crowd. The classic quilted cotton Vera Bradley duffel bag is a favorite of tweens and teens everywhere. It comes in a choice of 30 (yes, 30!) designs, all classy and gorgeous. The handles are just the right length to either tote or sling over your shoulder. Plus, unlike wheeled bags, it’s lightweight, making it perfect for tossing in the trunk on road trips. It even has an easy-access charger pocket.
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