The ultimate airport joy-ride starts here! Making luggage fun for kids is Trunki’s USP, and the fact that your children can actually sit and ride on these colourful wheeled suitcases makes all the difference when you’re queuing at the boarding gate with bored toddlers. Their range of children’s luggage is absolutely huge, with each suitcase decked with characterful features from tiger stripes to the face of the Gruffalo himself.
With a cabin-friendly size of 45 x 35 x 20cm, this is the perfect first travel bag for kids, with thoughtful design touches for everything they might need on a long flight. It’s a wheelie that magically transforms into a backpack with the aid of a few straps (which you can zip away when not using) and there’s an adjustable front pouch specially designed for packing toys securely but within sight so children can make sure their favourite bunny is safely on-board. The MiniMax also has several zip and mesh to stow entertainment essentials like books or colouring pens. Need to know how much hand luggage you can take on a plane? Read our guide to major airlines’ hand luggage restrictions and get all the answers you need.
Children’s suitcases are getting smarter and more ergonomic these days and this deceptively cute monkey travel bag is no different. The front pouch is padded for a comfortable journey (or resting weary heads at the airport) and there’s also padding at the back so that the trolley frame doesn’t dig in when wearing it as a backpack. It’s got a mesh bottle pocket at the side and there are plenty of pockets for storing quick-access snacks.
Kid’s suitcases can take a battering over the years, so if you’re not sure a soft-sided bag will be tough enough, go for a hard shell suitcase like this one from PMS. Children will be happy choosing from the five animal designs and the egg-shaped casing will make sure all their valuable toys and clothing survive another weekend away. The size is more suited to a short break than a long-haul holiday, but this does mean it’s small and light enough to cart around on their back using the straps, should they wish to.
With a number of stylish print options and larger dimensions (55.9 x 31.8 x 26.7cm), this is a good travel bag for kids heading towards their awkward teenage years. It has a rigid frame at the base to allow for being used as a trolley suitcase, but the top is soft enough to be squeezed into tight spaces in the overhead lockers. This makes it less robust than some of the other models out there and there is a lack of separate compartments or pockets to prevent stuff being jumbled about in transit, but it’s certainly roomy for a kid’s suitcase.
Paddington fans will love this sweet suitcase for kids (and any adults who remember the old cartoon), modelled on the Peruvian bear’s own suitcase, complete with travel stickers. A simple 18 litre design with a hard shell, it’s a decent option for a toddler’s first travel bag or for packing baby clothes, although there are no individual pockets inside.
It’s hard to resist this all-rounder kid’s suitcase from Cabin Max. There’s a generous 41 litres of storage but it only weighs just over a kilo and there are easy-to-reach side pockets and a mesh pouch for drinks. The best bit? Not only can they take a much-loved soft toy along for the ride, the adjustable harness at the back doubles as a pair of ‘pants’ for Teddy. Hours of fun. If you’re looking for something adult-sized, the Cabin Max cabin bag made our tried-and-tested list of best hand luggage bags.
Both funky and functional, this suitcase/scooter is as handy for parents as it is fun for kids. Seat them on top of your hand luggage and the airport’s suddenly transformed into a giant playground. When it’s time to board, the frame, wheels and luggage compartment fold down so you can stow them away if needed. At £150, it’s not cheap, but it’s pretty versatile – you can leave the buggy behind and take it shopping once you’re back home.
When it comes to kitting them out completely, kid’s luggage sets can be good value and this one is gives you four bags in one. The Thomas the Tank Engine print successfully disguises the ever-so-practical wipe-clean fabric, and you get a soft-sided wheeled suitcase, rucksack, wallet and drawstring bag for storing muddy clothes or trainers (great for school trips). The bags aren’t huge so are best for just a few days away, but they can be compacted neatly into one, Russian doll-style.
Kids will love the novelty of this smart backpack, designed to open out as a tray that they can use for eating, playing and organising their stuff when travelling. Working just as well in the car as on a plane, the set contains a passport holder, travel journal and luggage tags, so it’s a good gift for younger explorers. At 35.6 x 29.4 x 12.2cm, it’s too small to be their main luggage, but works well as small, light cabin bag if they’ve checked a larger suitcase into the hold.
Want more tips on travelling with kids? We’ve got you covered:
Consumer champion Sarah Willingham explains why she loves travelling with her kids and how she copes on flights.
We had the helpful Gourlay family review the nifty product known as BedBox, created to help little ones get all the rest they need on a flight to keep any tired tears at bay.
If you’re looking for budget family holiday ideas, here are 10 cheap, child-friendly destinations that will make for a fantastic family trip.