Last updated: August 29, 2021

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Getting kids ready for a family vacation (even just up to the cottage, or to a relative's place across town, can be a lot of work. In addition to clothing and shoes, kids also need their favourite toys, snacks, toiletries and other things. To make packing and travelling easier, you are going to need a kid's suitcase for them.

Luggage specially designed for kids are basically the same as adult-sized ones, but they are made for smaller everything. They also need to be highly durable because they tend to get scraped and bumped a lot. They come with fun designs that kids like, and can often even be sat on and ridden. The below guide will make choosing a child's suitcase simpler and help you find the best one for you and your kid.




Summary

  • Children's luggage is the same as adult luggage in its function, but it is specially made to be attractive to children's sensibilities. They are sturdy and stand up to rough wear and tear that kids are likely to put them through. They often come in both soft or rigid materials and can be made of polyurethane and polyester materials.
  • Before going out to buy a suitcase for your child, consider the dimensions. This depends on how old and how tall the child is, as well as the kind of trip. Some of the best on the market include "Trunki Suitcase Riders" or "Metz Trolley for children for cabin luggage".
  • Getting your child their own suitcase also helps them develop a sense of independence and will allow them to help carry their own belongings when you travel.

The best kid's suitcases: Our Picks

Below we have curated a list of the best-selling and most popular kids' suitcases on the market. Getting the right suitcase depends on the kind of trip you're going on and your little one's needs. You should also factor age into the decision.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about kid's suitcases

You should keep a number of important factors in mind when getting a suitcase for your child to make sure you have a great trip. There is a wide range of different models out there, but they can generally be categorized into two distinct groups. To better understand how to go about selecting one, it is beneficial to learn more about both the luggage market, as well as the needs of children while travelling.

Two brother boys going on vacations trip at airport

Whether hard or soft case, a kid's suitcase needs to be able to stand up to the punishment kids are likely to put it through (Source: Irina Schmidt: 27510989/ 123rf.com)

What types of kids’ suitcases are there on the market?

There are a  large number of models and variants of children’s suitcases, but they can in general be divided into two groups: Those categorized by wheel type, and those by the materials they are manufactured with. They below table goes into more detail on both:

According to form According to material
Suitcase with four wheels: These feature four wheel on the base, making them easier to move around and able to carry more weight/volume. Hard suitcases:More shock-resistant and more durable, but less flexible.
Suitcase with two wheels: Lighter and designed to carry less weight by can be carried on their sides. Semi-hard suitcases: Semi-hard suitcases are hard, but with a coating of fabric, so it combines resistance with flexibility.
Soft suitcases: Soft suitcases are made of fabric or leather and are lighter but not as durable, and tend to break and rip easier.

Kids’ suitcases can also be divided according to their use:

  • Travel backpacks: Designed for shorter vacations and since they are smaller and lighter they are made to be worn like a backpack.
  • Suitcases: These tend to be bigger and sturdier and can be pushed, pulled, and even ridden on by children.

What size suitcase does a child need?

The answer to this question largely depends on where you're going and for how long. You will need different sorts of luggage for different trips. The weather and your child's personality also factor in. Always make sure to get something that is suited for their height.

You need to carefully consider the duration of the trip. Going away for the weekend requires less packing and fewer items than going away for a couple of weeks or a month. If your kids like to get out and get messy, you will need to bring extra changes of clothing too.

Young family at the airport

A la hora de emprender un viaje hay que organizar una multitud de cosas, pero sin duda la que más es el equipaje. (Fuente: Deklofenak: 45036276/ 123rf.com)

Going on a trip requires planning a lot of things, but getting your luggage ready is definitely one of the main tasks. (Source: Deklofenak: 45036276/ 123rf.com)A weekend getaway will likely only require a backpack. If you don't know what the weather will be like, a small 15-20 litre suitcase will likely do the trick. Longer trips require suitcases of around 30 litres.

What are the advantages of buying a child's suitcase for my child?

There are a lot of reasons to get a kid's suitcase. It creates additional space you can take advantage of. It makes a kid feel more like their things are their own and helps them be more independent. They also feature images and designs that kids love.

Children also get to carry their own luggage, because they are made for children's height and strength limitations. They are also more robust and survive drops and scrapes better. Letting your child take control of their own suitcase will help them feel more grown up.

Caroline CostelloTravel blogger
"Choosing the right luggage can help prevent these minor tragedies, in addition to other inconveniences like pesky baggage fees".

Modern kids' suitcases are designed to be fun and entertaining, and some even allow your child to ride on top of them.

What materials are used to manufacture kids' suitcases?

As mentioned, kids’ suitcases come in different shapes and material. It is a good idea to take your child's personality, age, and the nature of the trip into account before selecting a suitcase. You should also get feedback from your child before making a purchase as it will be theirs for years to come.

Rigid and solid suitcases tend to be made of ABS, which is an impact-resistant plastic; or polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is not as heavy but it's costlier. Most traditional suitcases are made from polypropylene, but these can be heavy for young kids. They are durable and tough.

Susan FeinsteinConsumer blogger
"In a recent survey of more than 52,000 Consumer Reports members, 23 per cent of respondents chose hard-sided luggage for their medium- and large-sized suitcases and 15 per cent chose it for their carry-on suitcases.

Soft suitcases are manufactured with polyester. This material is heat-resistant and difficult to scratch; nylon is another great lightweight and robust fabric. Some luggage is even made with polyurethane, a plastic compound that is sometimes used as a gap filler in insulation.

How are children's suitcases used?

Packing for children doesn’t have to be exhausting.  Ask your children to help. This will include them in the planning of the trip and give you peace of mind. Below is a packing list to help make it easy:

  • First, tell your child that you are now going to pack their suitcase. Put it on a flat surface and leave it open.
  • Second, decide what clothing you're brining. Once you've decided on underwear, put it in the small pockets inside for easy access. Fold the rest of the clothing as small as possible to conserve space.
  • Finally, pack other personal effects like toiletries, books, toys, etc.
  • Close the suitcase once you are certain you have included everything and then securely fasten it with the zippers and locking mechanisms to keep it safe during travel.

What can I carry in a kid's suitcase?

Before deciding which suitcase to buy for your child, first consider what needs to be packed in it, and also how much they can realistically carry. A kid's suitcase shouldn't be that heavy. The below list includes the most frequently included things in a child's suitcase when going on vacation:

  • Clothing: Take more clothing that you plan to wear each day to account for unexpected events, weather, and in case some get dirty or ripped. Make sure to have sufficient bed-time clothes.
  • Footwear: When travelling with kids carrying extra shoes is always smart, and in the summer, water shoes.
  • Documentation: Make sure you have all the essential documents necessary for travel before going anywhere.
  • Toiletries: Apart from the basics like soap and toothbrushes, take anything else (including medications, bug spray etc.) that you will need.
  • First aid: Always pack basic first aid, including bandaids, gauze, disinfectant, eye drops etc.
  • Personal objects: Your child will likely want to include several things of their own when travelling (books, games, toys, blankets etc.).

Shopping criteria

You are now quite informed on the world of kids' suitcases, so it is time to start getting ready to purchase one before the big vacation. It is essential to know some of the necessary criteria so you can make the best purchase decision possible, and one that stands up to travelling with children.

Appropriate size

We have touched on size already, but now we will focus more on the appropriate size for individual children. If you don't want a suitcase to be a hassle for you and your child, you need to get one that is suitable for their age, size, and unique requirements. It should be suited for their height, a well as being light enough to effectively push, pull, and carry around. If their suitcase will be unmanageable once packed full, help them out by packing some things in your own luggage.

Space

To make sure that you include all of the necessary things while still giving your child the opportunity to make some decisions, you will need to economize on space well. Making sure a suitcase has separate pockets and comparments for storage is key. You can even use such compartments to put dirty clothes and keep them separate from the clean stuff. More pockets tend to mean better organization.

Closures

When travelling, with any suitcase it is essential that you have secure and strong closures, especially when you travel by plane or in situations where the luggage will go in a car boot.  Most luggage tends to have a range of closing and locking mechanisms, and some are tailored for kid's luggage.

Zippers are the easiest for kids. Zippers are the easiest, but they are not the most secure, so adding to the security with a padlock is recommended. The airport security locks are the best, but they are hard for children to operate.

Kid´s-suitcases

Regardless of whether it's a kid's suitcase or an adult one, the locks and securing mechanisms should be reliable..
(Source: steven thompson: 259080/ unsplashPhoto.com)

Design

If the child doesn’t like the way the suitcase looks, it might be difficult to convince them to carry their own luggage. This can result in great inconvenience when travelling. There are suitcases that feature superheroes, animals, cartoons, and even ones - like the Trunki - that are made to look like cars, scooters and horses and can, indeed, be ridden.

Wheels

Suitcases come in three, four, and two-wheel variants. This makes it easier to move them around. Most kids' suitcases have four or two wheels, but you can find ones that have three. Get a suitcase with well-made wheels that roll easily in any direction. Getting suitcases that can be wheeled around is not obligatory when travelling with children, but it makes it easier for them and you.

Summary

Getting everything in order for a vacation takes a lot of organizing, but one of the most important things to get right is the luggage. This is especially the case when travelling with kids because they aren't as strong or experienced. You need to find something right for them that incorporates great design, material, space, closing mechanisms, and features to entertain them while on the go. You can find a wide range of different products, some with two, three, even four wheels. Materials can be rigid, soft, and semi-rigid. Most kids' suitcases are manufactured from polyester and hard plastic.

If you liked the above guide to kids' suitcases and found it useful, share it with friends and family on social media. Additionally, you can drop us a comment in the below section and let us know what you think.

(Source of the featured image: Yarruta: 38259947/ 123rf.com)

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