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Best kids' luggage: backpacks, suitcases and holdalls to make travelling fun

With family holidays on the horizon, it’s time to get packing. We've rounded up the best kids' luggage options to help lighten the load when travelling with children. 

By Carol Linfield | Last updated Apr 24, 2023

Best kids luggage

Travelling with kids isn't easy but investing in the right luggage can help lighten the load. Choosing a cool backpack, suitcase or cabin bag can create excitement about a trip, encourage kids to help with packing and even — particularly when it comes to ride-on cases — entertain them at the airport. 

Try and encourage your kids to pack a few favourite items themselves (obviously, you can rejig once their backs are turned!). As well as giving them independence, it will allow you to (hopefully) avoid lugging their stuff around on your family holiday, too. 

To help you reach your destination in one piece, with everything intact (including your sanity), we’ve rounded up the best kids’ suitcases, rucksacks, ride-ons and wheely cases that have plenty of eye-catching appeal and should make travelling with your junior jetsetters (and their precious cargo) as stress-free as possible. 

Best kids' luggage at a glance

  • Best overall: Samsonite Disney Ultimate 2.0 Spiderman case | Buy now
  • Best budget: LittleLife Children's Suitcase | Buy now
  • Best wheeled suitcase: Boppi Tiny Trekker Kids Luggage Bag | Buy now
  • Best ride-on suitcase: Trunki Ride-On Suitcase Tipu Tiger | Buy now
  • Best carry-on case: it Luggage Unicorn 4 Wheel Cabin Suitcase | Buy now
  • Best small case: MiniMAX Children's Carry-On Trolley Suitcase | Buy now
  • Best kids' overnight bag: Jack Wolfskin Little Joe Rucksack | Buy now
  • Best kids' rucksack for travel: Deuter Kids Schmusebär Backpack | Buy now
  • Best for teens: Eastpak Reader S + Travel Duffle | Buy now  

1. Best overall luggage for kids: Samsonite Disney Ultimate 2.0 Spiderman case

Samsonite Disney Ultimate 2.0 Spiderman case

Price on writing: £89 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Dimensions: ‎33 x 20 x 45 cm | Capacity: 23.5 litres | Weight: 1.7 kg

What we like

  • Durable, hard-shelled case
  • Colourful, kid-friendly pattern
  • Roomy interior

What we don't like

  • No option to convert into a backpack
  • It's a bit on the pricey side

Our verdict

Samsonite has been making quality suitcases since 1910. Since then, the brand has developed an unrivalled reputation for producing luggage that is tough and ready for anything you can throw at it. Or, in this case, anything your child can throw at it.

This hard-shelled case, featuring everybody's favourite web-slinger, trundles along on four wheels, with a telescopic handle that can be retracted so the case can fit easily into overhead lockers. It's nice and roomy inside, with a zipped compartment to keep all the essentials together. We love this bold Spiderman design, but if Marvel superheroes aren't your kid's thing, this case is also available with a cute Minnie Mouse design.

2. Best budget luggage for kids: LittleLife Children's Suitcase

LittleLife Children's Suitcase

Price: RRP: £40 | Buy now from LittleLife

Key specs

Dimensions: ‎33 x 25 x 44 cm | Capacity: 20 litres | Weight: ‎1.37 kg 

What we like

  • Quirky dinosaur design
  • Handy carry handle

What we don't like

  • Dinosaurs are not everyone's cup of tea

What Mumsnet users say

"My 3.5 year olds have LittleLife wheely suitcases (one is a ladybird and one is a bee) and they absolutely love pulling them. I think it makes them feel grown up. We sometimes have to carry them, but not often. They have a lovely flat back which makes them easy to stack up on our own cabin suitcases" Tried and tested by Mumsnet user feesh

Our verdict

If anything can tempt your little traveller to take the reins, it’s this roarsome dinosaur suitcase. Its 20-litre capacity makes it a roomy option if your child likes to take all their favourite teddies and books on holiday. Its wheels ensure a smooth ride and kids will love feeling all grown up with their own cargo to take charge of. They’ll also love keeping everything organised with a compartment at the front that will store their favourite cuddly friend and small snacks. If those little legs do get tired, there’s a carry handle, or you’ll have to pull yourself. It’s easily stackable and one Mumsnetter reassures us that the kids will "absolutely love pulling them". 

3. Best wheeled suitcase: Boppi Tiny Trekker Kids Luggage Bag

Boppi Tiny Trekker suitcase

Price on writing: £50 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Dimensions: 42 x 30 x 22cm | Capacity: 17 litres | Weight: 1.5kg

What we like

  • Cute range of designs
  • Durable

What we don't like

  • Case has a smaller capacity than similar luggage on our list

Our verdict

What tiny traveller wouldn’t want this cute and friendly character as their flying companion? These fun faces will have everyone smiling and there are 11 gorgeous designs to choose from. There’s a dinosaur, a dog, a unicorn, an aeroplane and even a strawberry.The 17-litre capacity is great for games and toys and its double-zipped compartment will secure any loose items or essentials that your child might want to grab at a moment’s notice. There are two heights to adjust between as well as packing straps and a push button clasp. 

Best kids' luggage: Editor's picks

Samsonite Disney Ultimate 2.0 Spiderman case
Best overall

Samsonite Disney Ultimate 2.0 Spiderman case

Buy now
LittleLife Children's Suitcase
Best budget

LittleLife Children's Suitcase

Buy now
Trunki Children’s Ride-On Suitcase
Best ride-on

Trunki Children’s Ride-On Suitcase Tipu Tiger

Buy now

4. Best ride-on suitcase: Trunki Children’s Ride-On Suitcase Tipu Tiger 

Trunki Children’s Ride-On Suitcase

Price on writing: £36 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Dimensions: 47 x 32 x 21cm | Capacity: 18 litres | Weight: 1.7kg

What we like

  • Varied bold, fun, designs to suit all personalities
  • Affordable

What we don't like

  • Can prove a bit of a pain in the airport

What Mumsnet users say

"I must say DS's Trunki is great! He's got the Gruffalo one. It's lasted very well" Vetted by Mumsnet user DumbledoresArmy

Our verdict

As expected, the Trunki does divide opinion on the Mumsnet forums, but lots of families swear by this bright, wheely ride-on case and reviews remain strong. Let’s face it, if you’re travelling to the airport, you’re going to see a Trunki. They appeal to most kids as they can take a ride and be pulled around with a tow strap without the effort of walking or carrying anything (two things smaller children can refuse to do frequently and without warning). The Trunki is cheery and there are loads of characters and colours to choose from – we particularly love this tiger from the safari range. If you have a lazy little one and want to keep spirits up during your travels, the Trunki could be the way to do it. They're recyclable too which is a nice feature. And they're classed as a cabin bag with 18 litres to play with, though they won’t fit under the seat in front of you on the plane.

The main gripes for parents are their potential to become a hazard at busy airports due to their clunky nature and are more prone to trip up the odd passer-by if you don’t keep moving. They aren’t designed for speedy towing, so a little patience is required when navigating the tow strap and a bossy toddler directing you from their travel throne.

5. Best carry-on luggage: it Luggage Children's Unicorn 4 Wheel Soft Cabin Suitcase

it Luggage Children's Unicorn 4 Wheel Soft Cabin Suitcase

Price on writing: £35 | Buy now from Argos

Key specs

Dimensions: 46 x 29.5 x 20 cm | Capcity: 23l | Weight: 1.95kg

What we like

  • Lightweight but durable
  • Lots of options for carrying
  • Good interior layout

What we don't like

  • Not suitable for kids under 3

Our verdict

For the serious junior jet-setter, this suitcase ticks all the boxes. The wide handle design provides a flat packing surface interior for more space, with one internal pocket and one external pocket to keep all the essentials together.

The exterior of the case is made from a lightweight fabric, with a delicate unicorn embossed on the side. But don't be fooled, because a tough fibreglass structure means this luggage is built to last. For extra reassurance, this case comes with a 10 year manufacturer's warranty.

6. Best small suitcase: MiniMAX Childrens/Kids Luggage Carry On Trolley Suitcase

MiniMAX Children's luggage

Price on writing: £30| Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Dimensions: 45 x 35 x 20cm | Capacity: 30 litres | Weight: 1.4kg

What we like

  • Can be used as a pull along or a backpack
  • Loads of neat kid-friendly features
  • There's even a space for teddy

What we don't like

  • Maybe a bit too grown up for younger kids

What Mumsnet users say

"MiniMAX Childrens/Kids has a backpack plus wheels so you can choose which one you prefer. My kids love theirs" Recommended by Mumsnet user wizzywig

Our verdict

Not all children will want to be pulled along by a Trunki, so if your child likes to feel a little more grown up and wants their luggage to mimic yours, this carry-on trolley suitcase could be just the ticket. It doubles as a backpack, so they’ll be able to rotate between pulling and carrying. One Mumsnetter tells us her children are total fans. You can choose between black, blue and hot pink bags and if your child is yet to say goodbye to their favourite teddy, the front pouch allows for a cuddly pal to travel too. You can even spend an extra fiver and get one with a small teddy included. We're particularly impressed with its great all-round features, including a retractable handle and zips that reveal rucksack straps, as well as handy front mesh and zip pockets. 

7. Best kids’ overnight bag: Jack Wolfskin Little Joe Children's Rucksack

Jack Wolfskin Little Joe Children's Rucksack

Price on writing: £33 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Dimensions: 31 x 26 x 23cm | Capacity: 11 litres | Weight: 300g

What we like

  • Loads of pockets and compartments

What we don't like

  • Not suitable for kids under 3

Our verdict

Great for sleepovers and overnight camping trips as well as flights, this Jack Wolfskin rucksack is pretty neat. It’s available in night blue or grapefruit and also fits the brief for a day bag with an 11-litre capacity. This may well appeal to older kid in terms of its looks but the features have been designed with younger kids in mind too. There’s a main compartment, an external patch pocket and two mesh side pouches, plus reflectors on the front, and the wide back straps make it comfortable for children aged three and over to carry. We love the paw print design on the front and how this has been incorporated into the ever-important name tag. This bag is made to last, has a family-friendly price tag and will be handed down to younger siblings down the line. 

8. Best kids’ rucksack for travel: Deuter Unisex Kids Schmusebär Backpack

Deuter Unisex Kids Schmusebär Backpack

Price on writing: £48 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Dimensions: 33 x 21 x 15cm | Capacity: 8 litres | Weight: 290g

What we like

  • Comes in a range of fun designs and colours

What we don't like

  • Not suitable for children aged under 3

What Mumsnet users say

"Definitely backpack. Hands can let go of trolley cases and lose them without you noticing. Trolley cases can trip up unsuspecting passers-by. Backpacks are lighter to lift, fit more in, and are smaller to squish under the seat in front" Advice from Mumsnet user AnnPerkins

Our verdict

Whether your child is into space, pirates or princesses, the Deuter kids rucksack will certainly be the envy of the playground or departure lounge and it's extremely functionable too. 

We love the playful prints on the front and its reflective badge to keep your child seen when out and about. This bag has soft-edged shoulder straps, a height adjustable chest strap, a side pocket for them to store their energy fuel (aka water) and will survive being dragged around everywhere. We also like that there's just the one buckle at the front and the simple drawstring design of the main compartment.

9. Best luggage for teens: Eastpak Reader S + Travel Duffle

Eastpak Reader weekend bag

Price on writing: £60 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Dimensions: 23 x 44 x 21cm | Capacity: 40 litres | Weight: 503g

What we like

  • Lots of space for all the essentials
  • Study exterior

What we don't like

  • Other colours available if black is not your teen's thing

Our verdict

If you have a teenager that has agreed to come away with you, first of all well done; second of all, they're going to need something that doesn’t scream 'holiday with parents'. We think we’ve found it in this Eastpak Reader S + Travel Duffle. 

Crafted from travel-ready (and vegan-friendly) polyester, this bag comes with adjustable and detachable padded straps and handy interior pockets. The front features the signature Eastpak logo and an easy-access zip pocket and it can hold a whopping 40 litres of teen essentials. 

How to buy the best kids’ luggage 

You’ll need to think about the trips you’re buying the luggage for in order to make the right choice. Try not to think short term, i.e, the holiday you’ve just booked. Think about how your family travels throughout the year to narrow down your search. Maybe your child stays away from home frequently. You’ll want kids’ luggage that’s a solid investment and that will serve a purpose beyond a week-long trip.

It’s also important to stay up to date with UK Travel government advice, be aware of any vaccinations restrictions before you travel. Rough Guides offers some great practical tips for travelling with children that can help ensure a smooth ride. 

What is a good size suitcase for a kid?

The ideal size for a young traveller is between 30-45 x 24-35 x 20-40 cm. Anything bigger than this will feel clunky and overwhelming for a small child. If your child hasn’t travelled with their own bag before, choose something on the lighter and smaller side like the Boppi Tiny Trekkers case, which starts things off fun and light and is designed to keep their attention. The happier your child is with their bag, the more likely they'll be to take charge of it. For children aged 7 years and over, the weight and dimensions can be increased, as can the choices in the style of bag you can choose.

Can children have carry-on luggage?

As a general rule of thumb, children aged two and over will have the same luggage allowance as the adults they're travelling with. This can vary from airline to airline, so always check allowances before you buy and fly. TravelSupermarket helpfully lists these allowances here for the major airlines and offers some sound advice. 

What should a kid pack in a carry-on bag?

A child’s carry-on bag should be well stocked in terms of entertainment and snacks. You’ll need to pack wisely as space is always limited and it’s easy to get carried away, especially if you fear a toddler tantrum mid-flight. Go for snacks that are going to maintain energy levels and that will travel well despite all the throwing about. Sandwiches, oat bars, dried fruit, cereal bars, brioche rolls, rice cakes and flapjacks are great options for mini munchers on the move. You’ll also want to pack some wet wipes, a change of clothes, some travel games, a couple of reading or sticker/puzzle books, a few small toys, a tablet and a set of earphones. 

What’s the best kids’ luggage to buy? 

The Samsonite Disney Ultimate 2.0 Spiderman case for children is our best overall kids’ luggage pick. We love that it’s lightweight, but durable, and, let's face it, who doesn't want to go on holiday with Spiderman?!

How we chose our recommendations

We’ve thoroughly researched the best kids' luggage you can buy this season including tried-and-tested experiences from a wide range of honest, trusted sources. Here’s how we narrowed it down to our top picks.

Mumsnet community       

When it comes to durable, kid-friendly suitcases and travel luggage, Mumsnetters know a trusty carrier when they see (and use) one.

We first assessed all the recommendations from the Mumsnet community, getting feedback on the best kids' luggage they have personally used, reviewed and rated, including their favourite models, and must-have additional features such as retractable handles. We also considered the reasons why Mumsnetters would avoid certain suitcases, backpacks and bags.

Expert opinions

We know that choosing the right kids' luggage takes a lot of thought and consideration, so we made sure our recommendations were well received within the bags and luggage industry, rated or recommended by travel experts and industry leaders.

Trusted consumer reviews

Finally, we scrutinised honest customer reviews on retailer sites such as Amazon and Argos  to get wider consumer opinions on the products on our shortlist. Through this research, we were able to weigh up the top kids' luggage for a variety of needs and gain a greater understanding of the pros and cons of each.

Why you should trust us

Mumsnet has been helping parents make their lives easier since 2000 and, in those years, we’ve seen, tried and reviewed thousands of products in a wide variety of categories.

We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find products that real parents rate.

Transparency is important to us and that's why we're always upfront about the research we do, and where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family and strive to offer impartial advice across the board.