Travelling with toddlers and kids is hard. One thing that can make it easier is having a good rolling suitcase that can hold everything they need without being too heavy for them to pull.
A good suitcase also needs to be durable enough to handle the abuse kids will put it through, and cute enough that they like it.
Below you will find what I think are the 11 best rolling suitcases for toddlers and kids.
I prepared 2 tables which showcases various properties of the 11 different suitcases. The first table shows the brand and best feature of the suitcase and the second shows the dimensions and weight of each suitcase. Both tables also have a price range for each suitcase added.
Kids simply love it, it’s sturdy and functional.
|Tilami Rolling Backpack||Talami||holds up to 30 pounds||$$$|
|Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid Luggage||Skip Hop||perfectly proportioned for kids||$|
|Stephen Joseph Classic Rolling Luggage||Stephen Joseph||convenient zippered pockets||$$|
|American Tourister Hard Side Suitcase||American Tourister||protective hardshell||$$|
|Trunki The Original Ride-On Terrance Suitcase||Trunki||kids can ride on it||$$|
|Travel Buddies Bella Butterfly||Trendykid||matching hardshell backpack||$$$|
|Rockland Luggage Two Piece Set||Rockland||matching tote bag||$|
|Star Wars Hard Side Spinner||American Tourister||looks like R2D2||$$|
|Cabin Max Bear Childrens Luggage Carry||Cabin Max||room for favorite stuffed animal||$|
|Rockland Jr. My First Luggage||Rockland||small version of solid suitcase||$$|
|Tilami Rolling Backpack||18.9 x 12.9 x 8.3 inches||6.17 pounds||$$$|
|Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid Luggage||18 x 12.5 x 7inches||1.76 pounds||$|
|Stephen Joseph Classic Rolling Luggage||18 x 14.5 x 6.7 inches||2.48 pounds||$$|
|American Tourister Hard Side Suitcase||18 x 13 x 9 inches||4.5 pounds||$$|
|Trunki The Original Ride-On Terrance Suitcase||17.5 x 8 x 12.2 inches||3.53 pounds||$$|
|Travel Buddies Bella Butterfly||11.8 x 9.4 x 16.9 inches||6.06 pounds||$$$|
|Rockland Luggage Two Piece Set||8 x 13 x 19 inches||8 pounds||$|
|Star Wars Hard Side Spinner||21 x 14.5 x 9.5 inches||6.88 pounds||$$|
|Travelpro Minions||13 x 10 x 17 inches||4 pounds||$$|
|Cabin Max Bear Childrens Luggage Carry||22 x 9 x 15 inches||2.5 pounds||$|
|Rockland Jr. My First Luggage||11 x 13 x 17 inches||5.5 pounds||$$|
What to look for in a rolling suitcase for toddlers and kids
Hard or soft sided
Hard shell suitcases are common for kid luggage. The polycarbonate or plastic cases are lightweight, yet durable enough to be played with and stepped on. It’s easier to print cute designs on and are easy for toddlers to operate. The rigid shape, however, can make it difficult to shove a few extra items in at the last minute.
Soft sided suitcases, made of fabrics like nylon or polyester, are more flexible. Not only can they swell to hold a few extra items, they also can squish to fit into trunks or overhead compartments. This isn’t a problem if all you’ve packed is clothes but could result in broken items in the bag. The fabric may also stain or tear.
Suitcases don’t just have to look good; they must hold up to a lot of stress and abuse. Test the sturdiness of the roller wheels, handles, zippers, and extending arms, as these are all areas that manufacturers might skimp on in order to reduce weight and cost, but if they break, they essentially render the suitcase useless.
RECOMMENDATION: Pick a suitcase made of water-resistant material in case it gets taken out in the rain or dropped in a puddle.
You kid will naturally outgrow their childhood luggage. It’s recommended that you get new luggage every 2 or 3 years to make sure it’s still a good fit. You want to make sure it’s tough enough to last a few years, so you don’t end up replacing it more often than you need to.
A suitcase must be ergonomically designed to be used comfortably. Make sure it is easy to roll and has comfortable straps and handles. Remember, if it’s not easy for your kid to carry, they won’t, and you’ll spend your vacation either fighting with them to pull it or carrying it yourself.
Children’s luggage must be fun to keep your kid excited about it, or they might just let go and leave it somewhere in the airport when you’re rushing between layovers. There is no shortage of cute animal designs, colorful patterns, and trademarked and licensed characters and cartoon properties for you to choose from. Keep in mind that what they love this year they might find extremely embarrassing next year.
Now that you know the basics, you can take a look to the list and pick the one that fits your kids the most. Good luck!
No. 1 Tilami Rolling Backpack
With multiple pockets and concealed pockets, this over sized rolling backpack can easily hold up to 30 pounds of luggage. When not worn as a backpack, the straps can be neatly stowed away in padded pockets to avoid becoming entangled when being pulled on the quiet wheels. With 11 patterns and many colors to choose from, you’re sure to find one your kid will love that will be easy to pick out of a crowd.
No. 2 Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid Luggage
This suitcase is priced on the lower end of the budget and lightweight, and perfectly proportioned for kids aged 3 to 5. This makes the carrying capacity smaller than you might hope for, but still plenty big enough to hold clothes and items needed for a short trip. It also means if you kid gets tired of pulling it themselves, the extending arm will be too short for you to use. Luckily it comes with a removable and adjustable shoulder strap.
No. 3 Stephen Joseph Classic Rolling Luggage
Stephen Joseph has managed to maximize the holding capacity while still making it easy for kids to pull themselves. Convenient zippered pockets on the front and sides are great for easy access to games and books to keep children entertained and well behaved while travelling. It’s no wonder it’s the best selling kids’ luggage on the market.
No. 4 American Tourister Hard Side Suitcase
Don’t let appearances fool you. Though it looks small, it’s big enough to hold enough toddler clothes for a 2 week cruise. The hard case is easy for kids to open and close and pull around themselves. Inside, mesh pockets and duel cross straps ensure any valuables stay secure.
No. 5 Trunki The Original Ride-On Terrance Suitcase
If you’re worried about your kid’s luggage being too big for them to carry, make it a little bigger and let the luggage carry them. Made of a lightweight but durable plastic and shaped like 6 different animal characters (with fun colors and short back stories), Trunki can hold up to 75 pounds of luggage. The top is curved to form a seat and you can use the shoulder strap to tow the kid and cart as if it were a wagon.
I wrote an article about Trunki’s and how sometimes the specifications given by the manufacturers don’t comply with airlines regulations. If you want to know more, click here.
No. 6 Travel Buddies Bella Butterfly
The set is made with protective yet lightweight ABS plastic and can hold quite a bit. The addition of the backpack is a great way to split the load instead of making the suitcase too big for a toddler to pull themselves. It’s also nice to be able to carry around essential items when exploring your destination while leaving most of your luggage in the hotel.
No. 7 Rockland Luggage Two Piece Set
This 2-piece set is a great midpoint between the Travel Buddies discussed above and an adult sized set of luggage, both in size and style. Instead of a hard plastic it’s made with a heavy fabric that is easy to clean and care for and comes in a wide range of colors and designs.
No. 8 Star Wars Hard Side Spinner
While it might seem like the R2D2 design is purely a novelty, it actually has practical benefits as well. The 4 wheel design makes the suitcase incredibly easy to maneuver, and the 21 inch height makes it nearly big enough to hold a trip’s worth of adult clothes. Also, the novelty of the R2D2 design isn’t nothing.
No. 9 Travelpro Minions
A little smaller than similar options, this suitcase is great for short trips. The in line skate wheels glide nicely, and the entire package is lightweight and easy to steer. And it has a minion on its scratch resistant plastic shell.
No. 10 Cabin Max Bear Childrens Luggage Carry
If your kid is especially attached to a certain stuffed animal, this suitcase is perfect. Not only does it feature a baby carrier inspired strap to hold the toy on the front where it’s easy to find when needed without taking up any of the ample storage space, it even comes with a customizable passport your child can fill out for their teddy.
No. 11 Rockland Jr. My First Luggage
When making a suitcase for kids, some companies focus so much on making it look cute, that they completely neglect features that you would look for in an adult suitcase. Not Rockland. Their junior version includes everything from 360-degree spin wheels, to overlapping zippers capable of being locked. There’s even a matching ID tag. And when features are modified to accommodate toddlers, they’re done right. The telescoping handle, for example, adjusts to two sizes, so it can be used by both you and your kid.
Does your child need their own luggage?
Having your child carry their own luggage can be a great way to teach responsible traveling practices. Travel begins with preparation, and helping your kid pack their own suitcase can teach them important lessons in prioritizing what is important to bring, and what is just extra weight. Being in charge of their suitcase while traveling teaches the importance of being vigilant.
All of this focus on preparation can help get kids excited for a trip or get over fears they may have about traveling. Having a fun suitcase they can be proud of can especially make them happy to hit the road.
Anything your kids carry is one more thing you don’t have to. When you consider every pound, and every minute you need to haul it, you’ll be glad to spread the load. Not only will it save your back, it could also save you money.
SAVING TIP: Pack your kids’ clothes in their own carry-on size suitcase instead of adding it to your own. It could make the difference between checking a bag or not.
How much weight can your child carry?
Doctors and physical therapists recommend children carry no more than 10 to 15 percent of their body weight. Carrying more will not only fatigue the child quickly but could also cause injury.
|Age||Average weight||Bag weight|
|2 years||28 pounds||2.8 to 4.2 pounds|
|3 years||33 pounds||3.3 to 4.9 pounds|
|4 years||36 pounds||3.6 to 5.4 pounds|
|5 years||42 pounds||4.2 to 6.3 pounds|
|6 years||46 pounds||4.6 to 6.9 pounds|
|7 years||50 pounds||5 to 7.5 pounds|
|8 years||57 pounds||5.7 to 8.5 pounds|
|9 years||61 pounds||6.1 to 9.1 pounds|
|10 years||70 pounds||7 to 10.5 pounds|
|11 years||77 pounds||7.7 to 11.5 pounds|
|12 to 13 years||85 to 100 pounds||8.5 to 12.7 pounds|
|14 to 15 years||105 to 125 pounds||10 to 18 pounds|
|16 to 17 years||130 to 150 pounds||13 to 22 pounds|
Rolling suitcases are a better way to carry more weight than backpacks.
Other Tips For Traveling With Kids And Toddlers
Pack as lightly as possible. You’ll probably end up carrying your kid’s luggage (as well as your kid) at some point. Packing clothing that can layer for different weather conditions can help reduce space.
Don’t put any valuable or breakable items in your kid’s luggage. Same goes for heavy items.
Check with the airline about carry on allowances. If you pay for a full price seat for your child, they are allowed the full carry on luggage allowance, but if they have a discounted (or free) ticket, they may have reduced luggage allowance. This varies between airlines.
If you’re planning on bringing back souvenirs, leave some space, or even bring an extra bag for the trip home.
TIP: If you’re going on a longer trip, plan on doing laundry halfway through so you can pack half as much clothes.
Pick luggage that is unique so it’s easy to pick out in baggage claim. Or make it unique by customizing it with a colorful tag or ribbon.
Make an itemized list of everything you bring. Not only will making the list help you figure out what you need to pack when you’re planning, it will make sure you don’t forget anything when you’re packing to head back home.
What to pack
Traveling with kids and toddlers presents it own difficulties. Make sure you’re prepared for everything by bringing these important items.
2 outfits per day and 2 pajamas per night
Accidents happen and you need to have a backup ready for when they do. Keep in mind that anything that gets dirty might just stay dirty for a few days until you’re able to do laundry again, so stains might set in.
Way more diapers than you think you’ll need
For the same reasons as above. Also, make sure you have enough wipes and baby powder and everything else that goes along with it, especially if you’re going somewhere it might be a little hard to find.
Comfortable shoes that fit
Vacations tend to result in way more walking than normal, and toddlers’ feet grow quickly. Make sure the shoes you pack actually fit comfortably to avoid blisters and complaining (and carrying an upset kid).
Books and toys and games
Travelling involves a lot of down time. Make sure you can keep your kids entertained.