Taking the kids on holiday can sometimes be more stressful than you ideally would like. Shopping for all their new summer clothes, finding the right sunscreens, choosing a child-friendly location. The list is endless.
This should be an exciting time though, you’re about to go make memories, to watch them laugh and play in the sun, make sand castles at the beach, splash around in the pool and make other new little holiday friends.
We feel your struggles though, so, to give you a chance to put your feet up, we’re going to review the best kids luggage out there, tell you why it’s the best, so that you don’t have to go testing everything out in every store up and down the high street. It’s time to make holiday shopping stress free again.
**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
So, first we need to outline what you should be looking for in kids luggage. It’s obviously not going to be the same as buying luggage for yourself.
Kids can’t compute that things cost money, and that you, the parents, don’t have an endless stream of it.
They think it’s fun to throw stuff, and quite rightly too (we should all throw stuff more often, there would probably be fewer wars, just kidding).
But, that aside, everything is a toy to children, and if their little suitcase is composed of materials that can easily shatter, or rip, or puncture, or collapse, chances are it won’t make it onto the aeroplane.
Look for suitcases that are made with durability in mind. Materials such as tough plastics, thick canvas or synthetic, components which can’t be poked through at first push.
Colourful designs, or luggage with favourite cartoon characters or band members helps your kids to relate to their new carry friend.
Letting them have a say in which luggage they eventually get to trawl around with them through airports and hotel corridors will enrich them, give them pride in owning their wheelie case.
It’s important that your child actually treasures their luggage. If they love it they’re more likely to look after it , want to use it over and over again, meaning it’s less likely to be forgotten about due to boredom, or get lost.
Granted, kids eventually get bored of everything, or their new favourite character changes, but, at least this gives you a fighting chance of giving them a suitcase they’ll like for a few years to come.
Unless your child is a young body builder, chances are they get tired of carrying and lugging super heavy things around pretty easily, plus, that’s kind of child cruelty.
Making sure that their new luggage is something that they can manage to carry will save on tantrums and tired tots.
Don’t forget that their suitcases will be filled with their things too. So you’ll need to bear in mind the weight of the case, the potential weight of their toys, books, clothes and anything else you’ll be letting them carry by themselves before settling on the right luggage for them.
As an adult, you can buy a suitcase and it can literally last you twenty years.
About kids, if they end up loving their new suitcases, and they can envisage themselves with it side by side for the next decade, chances are they may change their preferences, or more likely than not, grow out of it by the next vacation in a year or two’s time.
Finding a luggage set that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, therefore, should definitely be a priority.
Not only should it not cost the world, though, it should be worth whatever you decide is a fair price. Just because something is branded, doesn’t mean it’s better, but at the same time, buying something too cheap could end up with a ruined holiday.
Imagine all the contents come crashing out and go splashing into the depths of the resort’s pool. Not cool!
Look for materials, product reviews and any industry recognition the item might have before settling for sure on a set for your children.
An added bonus comes in the form of luggage that can do more than one thing. And while not a necessity, it should definitely earn brownie points.
Imagine for example, that you have bought a wheelie case. It’s worked perfectly getting from home to the hotel, but then you want to go to the beach, or take a woodland trail, the wheels become utterly useless and it won’t be your son or daughter who ends up carrying the case for the whole trip.
The situation can be reversed, you buy a backpack, it fits everything perfectly, it’s ideal for the beach and strolls in your new destination.
But for the four hours it takes to get through the airport it’s a nightmare. Your child is upset and tired because they’ve been carrying the bag on their back for so long, and now the start of the holiday is ruined.
As promised, we’ve picked out a handful of luggage options for the little ones with positives and negatives listed. We’ve numbered the choices from 1 to 5, from most likely to buy to least likely to buy.
Fun and strong travel case/backpack combo for both boys and girls. Exciting designs, with storage for all travel needs and options for all trip types.
Lightweight but durable wheelie case with important easy access features such as front pocket and side mesh pouch for drinks. Different characters available in Skip Hop’s zoo range.
For the Hello Kitty lover in your family. A durable and colourful case with wheeling abilities far greater than most.
Sends the right signals to kids who instant message, this emoji case is a colourful and uplifting wheelie suitcase with tough materials and a grown-up style.
Disney and Star Wars fanatics assemble! American Tourister’s co-branded cases are good value and durable, from a brand you can trust. Replicate the ‘adult’ case style, to make your kids feel like little grown-ups as they wheel the case around.
So, having weighed up the pros and cons of the cases, our favourite luggage option is...
The Travel Buddies Luggage Set
The set most achieves all of our prerequisites for a kids luggage set, outlined at the start.
Both wheelie case and backpack are most definitely durable, with ABS casings covering both and strong zip tracks which wont break and disconnect after a couple of uses.
Sets match, and are both colourful and definitely oriented towards kids, with multiple choices for boys and girls alike, which, if you have more than one child, means there won’t be any arguing over whose case and backpack is whose.
Although the suitcase itself isn’t super lightweight, the fact that it comes with a durable backpack weighing only 600 grams definitely makes up for it.
It’s not the cheapest on the list, but we believe that the combination of both backpack and wheelie suitcase make its price perfectly justifiable, and with the strong materials it’s made from you won’t expect to be replacing it any time soon.
And finally, it’s multifunctionality helped it pip the others to the post. Not only is the suitcase itself more suitable than others at rolling over slightly tougher terrain than just hotel and airport floors, the fact that it comes with the strong and lightweight backpack means you don’t even have to worry about planning day trips to forests or afternoons on the beach, as the bag will never need to touch the floor.
We hope this advice will save you time and stress when planning your next holiday with the kids.
If you have any experience of any of the above luggage, or know of other sets that you think put these to shame, why not drop a comment and let your fellow readers know?