Traveling with kids means enjoying various adventures as a family, but it can also be a stressful experience for parents. Getting your kids involved in the process, like encouraging them to pack and carry their own things, can make the trip more exciting for them. It’ll also lighten your load and make the trip easier for you.
For airplane travel, packing essentials in carry-on luggage ensures a smooth trip. My Japan Travel Packing List includes all our must-haves for airplane travel with kids. But when it comes to packing items for your kids, not just any carry-on bag will do. This is why I’m dedicating this post to sharing a round-up of carry-on luggage suitable for kids!
15 Best Carry-On Luggage For Kids
Just about every article on the best kids’ luggage includes the Rockland Jr. My First Hardside Spinner Luggage. This spinner suitcase is a fantastic option for younger children. It has two main compartments, one with a zipper and the other with straps. There aren’t any exterior pockets, but it provides enough storage for several outfits, a pair of shoes, and a stuffed animal.
Even better, this rolling luggage is easy for young kids to maneuver. It’s lightweight and has four wheels that rotate 360 degrees. It also has a durable hard shell that holds up well to regular travel. The handle can be adjusted to suit both children and adults.
Another popular pick is this affordable backpack-style rolling luggage from Wildkin. There are ten different designs to choose from, including ballerinas, unicorns, dinosaurs, and vehicles. That, and the fact that it weighs less than two pounds, make this luggage a great option for very young children.
Wildkin’s Kids Rolling Luggage features a telescoping handle, exterior zippered pocket, side mesh water bottle pocket, and a spacious main compartment.
For older kids who would prefer more sophisticated-looking travel gear, consider the Terminal 1 Small Carry-On Luggage from Mark & Graham. It’s available in white, navy, and pink, with optional personalization. It’s super durable too; Travel & Leisure allegedly dropped it from a ladder and hit it with a bat and it still didn’t show signs of wear. You can expect this suitcase to last for years.
The Terminal Carry-On has two spacious main compartments that zip closed, as well as an exterior pocket and a TSA-approved lock. With eight spinner wheels, it’s easy to maneuver, but at almost nine pounds, it’s heavier than most of the other options on this list.
If your little traveler requires more than one piece of luggage, a set is the way to go. This 5-piece luggage set from Travelers Club is a top-rated choice, and for good reason. Kids love each of the 13 fun designs and parents appreciate the high-quality, durable materials.
This Travelers’ Club kid’s 5-piece luggage set includes one hard-side carry-on with spinner wheels, one backpack, one lunch bag, one neck pillow, and a luggage tag. The carry-on has a fully-lined interior with pockets and the backpack has exterior and side mesh pockets. And the matching neck pillow helps keep your little one comfortable, no matter if you’re on a long flight or a short road trip. The lunchbox can even be used to tote the best plane snacks.
Here’s another great option for older kids. The Logan Suitcase from State is designed for kids ages 6 and up. It features two spacious inner compartments, two interior mesh pockets, a zippered exterior pocket, and a side strap that can hold a water bottle or stuffed companion.
They also have a smaller version, the Mini Logan Suitcase, that’s designed for kids ages 3 to 5. Both options feature four wheels, an adjustable telescoping handle, and top and side grab handles.
For a game-changing kid’s carry-on, look no further than the JetKids by Stokke BedBox. It’s a ride-on, carry-on kids suitcase that also transforms an airline seat into a bed. The JetKids BedBox was invented by a former airline pilot, so you can trust that this thing is worth every penny.
As if that wasn’t enough, your kid can also ride their BedBox through the airport, or sit on it as you pull them with the strap, and use it to prop up their legs for a more comfortable flight. The only catch: the bed takes up quite a bit of room inside this luggage so there isn’t a ton of room left for your kid’s things.
Here’s another ride-on suitcase in a smaller size with an even more kid-friendly design. The award-winning Ride-On Kids Suitcase by Trunki offers plenty of storage for your kids’ stuff and interior elastic straps to help keep everything in place and organized.
The Trunki Ride-On suitcase features two easy-grip handles and a multi-functional strap that allows parents to tow their little ones or carry the luggage over their shoulders. It’s made from durable yet lightweight plastic and offers an 18-liter storage capacity to hold clothing, toys, and other travel essentials. There are ten designs to choose from, including adorable bumblebee or fire truck options.
Although it’s not branded as kids’ luggage, the Carry On Light by July is a mega-popular choice for families on the go. This carry-on has a lot to offer for a rolling bag weighing less than 4 pounds. It features a telescopic handle and impressively smooth, 360-degree double-spinner wheels.
July’s Carry-On Light is an investment-worthy luggage option for older kids that will last through their teenage years and even into adulthood.
When it comes to quality, Pottery Barn Kids never disappoints. The Mackenzie Hard-Sided Luggage is one of the best carry-on options out there. It features a durable, water-resistant exterior and polyester interior lining, as well as smooth-rolling wheels, nickel-finished zippers, and heavy-duty adjustable handles.
The small size meets carry-on regulations for most airlines. It’s available in several colors and can be personalized for an additional charge.
For a quality, affordable option, consider the Crckt Kids’ Softside Carry-On Suitcase. It features a spacious, fully lined main compartment as well as an interior mesh slip pocket. There’s even more storage available on the outside as well, with several zip pockets, a front mesh pocket, a side mesh pocket, and an adjustable cord to hold their favorite stuffed toy in place. It even comes with a removable plush dangle!
There are 7 designs to choose from, including a fun dinosaur print and a vibrant donut print.
Here’s another fantastic affordable kid’s carry-on luggage option. This adorable set includes both a hard-shell suitcase and a matching backpack. The 16” suitcase has multi-directional wheels and telescoping handles, and the 12” backpack features easy-to-carry, adjustable straps.
Your kids will love the fun and portable design and you’ll love that they have more than enough space to pack everything they need (and even some things they don’t).
Whether you’re embarking on a Disney vacation or not, the American Tourister Disney soft side upright luggage is perfect for packing everything your little one needs for their trip. In addition to a cute Disney design, each suitcase features single spinner wheels, a pull handle, and a top handle.
The interior is fully lined to ensure each suitcase is easy to clean. It also has criss-cross straps on the inside to hold all of your kid’s items in place, as well as a zip-around divider that separates the two main compartments.
You can choose from 8 different designs, including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Disney princesses.
Here’s another adorable option for younger kids on the go. The Stephen Joseph Classic Rolling Luggage is a highly-rated polyester suitcase that comes in 15 design options, including unicorn, shark, camo, and sports prints.
Each suitcase features a large main compartment with interior zip storage as well as several exterior pockets. The extendable handle makes it easy for your child to tote it through the airport as you make your way to the gate.
This 20-inch hard-sided luggage from Fast Forward is a good option for parents trying to find carry-ons for their younger and older children. There are 21 different designs to choose from, including superheroes, Disney princesses, and various popular TV characters.
The durable, hard exterior ensures that this suitcase can hold up to the typical wear and tear of travel, yet it’s lightweight and easy for kids to handle.
If you or your child prefers a suitcase that’s less flashy with the design, I highly recommend the 20-inch Hardside Spinner from Amazon Basics. Despite its name, there’s nothing “basic” about this kids’ carry-on.
With nearly 45,000 reviews on Amazon, it’s not hard to see why so many people love this suitcase. It features an extra-thick hard shell with a scratch-resistant finish and a fully-lined polyester interior. The interior organizer includes a divider and three zippered pockets, and arguably most impressive, it is expandable to offer 15% more packing space!
Toting it is a breeze, even for little ones, thanks to the 4 double-spinner wheels and telescoping handle. It’s available in four different colors.
Which kid’s carry-on luggage would you take on your next family vacation?
I’d love to know which suitcase caught your eye! Share your top picks in the comments below.
Then, head over to the blog for more travel tips, including destination ideas and itinerary suggestions!