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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 to help lighten the load when travelling with children. 

By Carol Linfield | Last updated Apr 4, 2022

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 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 whenever you travel, 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. 

Here’s the best kids' luggage to buy in 2022.

1. Best overall luggage for kids: VAUDE Unisex Kids Puck 10 Backpacks for children

VAUDE Unisex Kids Puck Backpack

Price: £37 | Buy now from Amazon

"Get them decent backpacks. dd had a wheely trolley and we had to pull/carry it more often than not in Heathrow. We got her this bag when she turned 4. It has a proper chest and waist strap, doesn't move when they run and it survived the last three years without breaking. It is also surprisingly roomy and A4 books fit easily" - recommended by Mumsnet user, noramum

"Yes, definitely backpacks. Children with wheeled cases can be an absolute menace in busy airports. Also, they’ll be easier to shove under the seats and for them to get stuff in and out of while you are in flight” - advice from Mumsnet user, HeddaGarbled

The general consensus on the Mumsnet forums is that a well-designed backpack is the most suitable option for families travelling with kids. Little legs will grow tired of pulling their bags, and when the novelty wears off, it’s the parents that get lumbered with bulky cases. This backpack is available in five vibrant colour options that will stand out in any airport. It’s available in three sizes, has a waterproof floor, a seat pad, a rain cover, side mesh pockets, and an inside pocket for on-the-go snacks. There’s also a large magnifying glass on the side for small explorers. When they're busy adventuring, they're less likely to think about the weight on their back. Many online reviews agree that these bags are a solid choice for all ages and built to last for many family holidays.

Key specs

  • Dimensions: ‎34 x 24 x 11cm
  • Capacity: 10 litres
  • Weight: 0.56 kg

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

LittleLife Children's Suitcase

Price: £30 | Buy now from LittleLife

"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

If anything can tempt your little traveller to take the reins, it’s this rawsome 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". 

Key specs

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

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

Boppi Tiny Trekker suitcase

Price: £48 | Buy now from Amazon

"We have normal sturdy cases for the kids, trolley style that the kids can wheel with their cabin backpacks on top, if need be. We piggy back them onto out bigger cases using straps, but to be honest you never really have to pull them far use an airport trolley and fling them all on" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Skribble 

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. 

Key specs

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

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

Trunki Children’s Ride-On Suitcase

Price £45 | Buy now from Amazon

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

"DD loves hers, but she is an only child and we can take the time to tow her, chase her etc. If you are on your own probably not a good idea, but if there will be another adult with you then go for it, it'll keep your toddler amused when you are waiting around" - tried and tested by Mumsnet user, LilRedWG 

"They are absolutely fab! DD has had hers since she was 18mts old and I think they have improved the strap since then" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Whooosh

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. They're quite pricey but 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.

Key specs

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

5. Best carry-on luggage: Skip Hop Zoo Luggage/Travel trolley 

Skip Hop Zoo Luggage

Price £35 | Buy now from Amazon

"I would get a cabin-sized one but very light weight. Also, a good quality backpack each" - advice from Mumsnet user, MillyMollyMama

If your child has a packed lunch at school, you may well be familiar with the Skip Hop Zoo’s colourful characters. This carry-on unicorn bag is super sweet and is essentially a backpack on wheels, so when the inevitable happens and your small one gets bored of pulling, you can quickly get it on their back, before any protests begin. Online reviews confirm the poly-canvas fabric is particularly hard wearing and great for some small snacks and "essential" toys. It’s not designed for stuffing everything but the kitchen sink in. There's a dual zip and a mesh pocket on the side for a water bottle and a front pouch for items you need easy access to. You can choose between a unicorn or a fox design and its 13-inch handle ensures a smooth pull.     

Key specs

  • Dimensions: 30.5 x 14 x 40.5cm
  • Weight: 1g

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

MiniMAX Children's luggage

Price £48| Buy now from Amazon

"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

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. It’s a reliable and affordable option that fits within easyJet’s free cabin allowance perfectly. 

Key specs

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

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

Jack Wolfskin Little Joe Children's Rucksack

Price: £29 | Buy now from Amazon

"My dds have these, they really seem well-designed for children and are 2 litres bigger than the rucksack linked upthread, if my maths is right...They look quite small, and Jack Wolfskin do larger children's rucksacks as well, but these have been perfect for us. So much so that I want a Jack Wolfskin rucksack of my very own!" - recommened by Mumsnet user, Janek

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. 

Key specs

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

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

Deuter Unisex Kids Schmusebär Backpack

Price £39 | Buy now from Amazon

"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

"Agree just a rucksack each. Last flight last month 4 year old fell asleep and on landing at 1am understandably wanted to be carried or at least hold hand and stumble along" - seconded by Mumsnet user, Artandco 

The Deuter kids space rucksack will certainly be the envy of the playground or departure lounge and it's extremely functionable too. What kid (or parent) isn’t completely fascinated by space? This bag taps into the theme in a pretty neat way. We love the astronaut, alien and rocket 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.

Key specs

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

9. Best luggage for teens: Eastpak Compact + Luggage One Size Camo

Eastpak Compact luggage

Price £51 | Buy now from Amazon

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 Camo Luggage Bag. A wheely bag isn’t particularly cool, but this one has a practical but edgy vibe, and is made from vegan materials. It’s ultra-light and has a few carry options with a removable and adjustable shoulder strap and dual straps between the zip hold. The front features the signature Eastpak logo and an easy-access zip pocket and it can hold a whopping 24 litres of teen essentials. 

Key specs

  • Dimensions: 23 x 44 x 22cm
  • Capacity: 24 litres
  • Weight: 625g

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 weeklong 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 VAUDE Unisex Kids Puck Backpack for children is our best overall kids’ luggage pick. We love that it’s lightweight, has bright colour options, and even size options to suit different ages. It can survive a sudden downpour, as will all of its contents, and has compartments to house all must-have items and snacks separately. We're fans of the mini explorer theme and it comes with a large magnifying glass for added fun. It’s affordable and built to last for many years and we can’t ask for more than that.

How we chose our recommendations 

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which kids’ luggage parents were recommending and had bought. We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which kids’ luggage had been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites, and what customer reviews said about them. Having collated all that information, we then narrowed our list down to the best kids’ luggage on the market.

Why you should trust us 

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.