Affiliate links may be included at no cost to you. This post about carry on luggage for kids has not been sponsored by any brand, and is the result of my own search for affordable kids luggage.
Once your child turns 2 and you have to pay full price for a seat on a plane, it’s time to up your game and take FULL advantage of the fact that each ticketed passenger on most planes is entitled to a carry on bag AND a personal item.
We’re 2 1/2 months out from our summer vacation, which does include a plane trip, and I’m going to try my very hardest to not check any luggage other than our car seats. I’d much rather have the money I would have to spend on checked bags for a nice meal out during the week. But the only way I’m going to accomplish this is if my kids pull their weight for the family, and I mean that in a literal sense.
Time to find these kiddos some carry-on luggage and some backpacks for travel!
I can’t tell you how often I see families traveling and their children don’t have carry-on bags with them. That’s a wasted opportunity, friends! And it’s actually pretty rare for me to see a kid with both a carry-on AND a backpack as their personal item. If you aren’t currently taking advantage of the carry-on capabilities of your kids, let me help you change that right now. Here are some great options I have found for the 10 and under set, all priced at $40 or less.
These are a MUST! Even my 3-year-old can carry a backpack with ease. Fill them with the snacks and entertainment items your child needs for the trip (which will free up the adult carry-on bags for other things).
- Trailmaker backpacks are certainly the way to go for the person on a budget. I saw styles for (cute!) cotton backpacks as low as $6.09, which many options hovering right around $7. I think if you plan on keeping your child’s personal item not completely loaded down this is a really great option. Plus, I think the softness of the cotton is just really nice. Overall the reviews were positive, but I noticed people advising against trying to load these down too heavy. I think if you want something to perform like a true workhorse, you are probably going to get what you pay for.
- Want a unique design? Something shaped like an animal or a moster, for example? Love all the looks from this brand, and they are all priced in the neighborhood of $23, including shipping. How about a bunny (under $12!)?
If you want your young child to carry a piece of luggage through an airport, it’s pretty much gonna need to have some wheels. After all, isn’t that the way you like to cart your stuff around, too? Here are some fun options that little ones can handle
- How about a matching set of rolling luggage, backpack ad toiletry bag? Here’s a 3-piece-set for $36. Note that the rolling luggage is 16 inches, so it is on the small side. I don’t much care for the “blue for boys, pink for girls” element, but whatever.
- American Tourister offers 9 different licensed character designs (Mickey, Minnie, Disney Pricesses, Star Wars, Cars) in the 18 inch size for $29.99 and free 2 day shipping. Not too shabby!
- If you want to keep it character-free, here’s a 16 inch option that is colorful but not character-ful for $25.
I think duffles should be reserved for older children, as they require being toted around, which is cumbersome. It’s not something I’ll be choosing for my 6-year-old, but I wanted to include them in the list in case you feel that they are right for your kid.
- A rolling duffle might be a good hybrid luggage piece for an older child. This one comes in 10 different colors for right around $35. I noticed in the reviews that people advise not to pack it completely full if you want to carry it on, and that it won’t stand once packed, so that’s something to keep in mind (you have to lay it down like a duffle). I like the flexibility of the packing space and the convenience of a rolling bag mixed together, though. Here’s one more option at a similar price point.
- For a traditional duffle that’s small enough to carry on, my top pick is from NGIL. There are 29 different pattern choices which makes it easier to pick something out that your child will love. Beware that the prices can fluctuate quite a bit from pattern to pattern (does that annoy anyone else? just me?). The general price range seems to be $25-$39.99. This is a 19-inch duffle.
One Final Option
I couldn’t end this post without at least metioning the Trunki. It’s beyond the budget I set for this post (it’s $50) but we own one for our 3-year-old, and I have to say…it rocks. What’s so great about the Trunki is that your child can sit on top of it and scoot on it like a ride-on toy. I don’t recommend scooting on it while you are changing gates, but when the kids are waiting around at the gate, it’s super fun for them. I do think it’s probably best for kids under 5, but I just had to put it out there because we’ve liked ours so much.
You might also enjoy these posts: