Which kid’s travel bag is best?
If you have an upcoming trip planned or regularly travel with a child, it may be time to get them their own travel bag. Not only does this help teach them a bit about responsibility and packing their own belongings, but it also means there will be a few less things you need to carry in your luggage. It is important to match the type of bag with the type of trip as well as the child’s age and development level.
For something simple and durable that is easy for a kid of almost any age to carry, the Osprey Daylite fits the bill. It’s also suitable for both traveling to and exploring a destination, making it a great multipurpose bag.
What to know before you buy a kid’s travel bag
Just like with adult luggage, kids’ travel bags come in a variety of types, with each best suited for certain uses. A small wheeled luggage piece is as good as a carry-on when traveling by plane. Because they can just pull it along behind them, you don’t have to worry about your child constantly complaining that it is too heavy or uncomfortable to carry. Wheeled luggage is available in hard and soft models, with the former doing a great job of protecting the contents even if your child handles it a bit roughly.
Backpacks are more convenient if you will be constantly switching modes of transportation or if you will be walking long distances over rough sidewalk or pavement. Depending on the size, they may also double as daypacks when exploring a new destination or be used as a kid’s daily school backpack.
Duffle bags, sometimes referred to as weekenders, are good for short trips, such as when going to stay at a friend’s or relative’s house for a night or two. Also, duffles have soft-sided construction so children can overstuff them a bit or shove odd-shaped items inside.
When choosing a kids’ travel bag, consider the age of the child and how responsible they are. For younger children, backpacks are one of the best options because kids are already familiar with carrying them to and from school, and are less likely to accidentally leave them behind. Older children may prefer wheeled luggage due to the ease of rolling. They may also be packing more stuff by this time and wheeled luggage often has more capacity.
Capacity needs to be a top priority when choosing luggage. That said, it is important to match the capacity, which also translates to the overall size of the travel bag, with a child’s ability to carry it when fully loaded.
Kids are notoriously hard on their belongings and you shouldn’t expect anything different with their travel bags. It is not uncommon to see a child dragging their bag on the ground as they walk, spilling drinks on them or even stomping on them in the middle of a tantrum. Because of this, it is important to choose one made from durable materials, such as high denier or ripstop nylon or polyester. In the case of hardshell luggage, a sturdy ABS plastic should suffice.
What to look for in a quality kid’s travel bag
Depending on the type of bag and the layout, a kid’s travel bag may have as little as one main compartment and one interior or exterior pocket, or it may have several pockets of varying sizes spread across the interior and exterior. The more pockets, the easier it is for a child to keep their belongings organized. However—and this especially is true for younger children—too many pockets sometimes may be problematic as it could result in your kid not being able to find an item when needed.
Padding is most important in bags that will be carried, such as backpacks and duffels. For backpacks, both the back panel and shoulder straps should have sufficient padding for comfort. It is a good idea to choose one with mesh or air channels on the back panel so it won’t cause excessive sweating. For duffels, the shoulder strap and handle should have some amount of padding.
Add-a-bag sleeves allow you to attach a bag to the trolley handle of rolling luggage. Not only does this add convenience, it makes it less likely your child will accidentally leave a bag behind when traveling with two pieces. You also can attach it to the handle of your rolling luggage when your child needs help carrying their bag.
All luggage should have some level of water-resistance, and kid’s travel bags are no different. Some materials, such as nylon and polyester, are naturally water-resistant, while others may require the application of a water-repellent product of some kind.
Children can be fussy about their belongings so choose a travel bag they like the looks of. Younger children may enjoy a fun and whimsical bag with bright colors, patterns or some of their favorite cartoon characters, while older children may prefer something a bit more mature that looks similar to adult luggage.
How much you can expect to spend on a kid’s travel bag
Most people can find a quality kid’s travel bag that fits their needs for $15-$50. Wheeled luggage from well-known brand names and sets may cost up to $100.
Kid’s travel bag FAQ
How old should a child be to carry their own travel bag?
A. There is no set answer for this as it depends on the development of the child. Many kids can start getting involved in pushing or carrying their own bag for short periods of time as young as 3 years old.
Do children get their own luggage allowance on flights?
A. Infants and toddlers traveling on the laps of their parents or guardians do not get any luggage allowance. Any child traveling in their own seat gets the same luggage allowance as adults.
What’s the best kid’s travel bag to buy?
Top kid’s travel bag
What you need to know: The Daylite is a versatile kid’s backpack that is equally suitable for hiking, traveling and exploring a destination.
What you’ll love: It has a rugged build that can withstand a lot of abuse, and there are several exterior pockets to stow snacks, a water bottle and anything else a child wants quick access to.
What you should consider: It is too small to double as a school backpack.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Backcountry
Top kid’s travel bag for the money
What you need to know: This rolling kid’s luggage is both cute and functional, making it an ideal travel companion for a child.
What you’ll love: It features shoulder straps so it can be carried like a backpack when needed, and there is a name tag just in case your child accidentally leaves it somewhere.
What you should consider: The trolley handle and wheels make it heavier than regular backpacks.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Wildkin Kids Overnighter Duffel Bag
What you need to know: This basic duffel gets the job done and comes in a wide variety of fun designs, including dinosaurs, sports and camouflage.
What you’ll love: The bottom is reinforced for added durability, so it should stand up to plenty of use. The liner is water-resistant to keep the contents safe if your child gets caught in the rain.
What you should consider: It is smaller than most people expect.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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