Types of Luggage for Kids

When your children travel, it's essential that you have the right type of kids' luggage for the trip. It needs to be durable and easy to tote between the car, the plane and the hotel, and it has to be reliably sturdy to stand up to rough treatment. In order to make the best possible choice for your child's luggage, you need to know what's available - that way, you can pick one piece or a set that meets your travel needs.

Like adult luggage, there are several types of luggage for kids. Some of the most common (and the most popular) luggage for children are duffle bags, spinner luggage, and hard- and soft-sided suitcases.

Duffle Bags

Kid-sized duffle bags are a great choice for older children who can carry a little weight. Kids can choose their favorite prints and styles, and you can rest easy knowing that your child's carry-on is equipped with:

  • Spill-resistant polyester that repels water and other liquids
  • Rugged handles made from durable synthetic webbing
  • Adjustable and detachable shoulder straps that make it easy to tote from Point A to Point B

Mackenzie Navy Skateboard Camo Sports Duffle Bag

Spinner Luggage

Spinner luggage, which is a great match for kids of all sizes, is available in soft-sided and hard-sided styles. Because spinner luggage comes with swiveling wheels, it's ideal for use on relatively smooth surfaces. Kids' spinner luggage features:

  • Kid-friendly, durable and adjustable handles that are made for little hands
  • Nylon zippers that can stand up to rough use and the occasional over-stuffing fiasco
  • Easy-access compartments, including front pockets and interior pockets, that help kids keep suitcases organized

Hard-Sided Luggage vs. Soft-Sided Luggage

Many parents choose hard-sided luggage when kids are responsible for carrying their own toiletries, tablets and other items that need a little extra protection. The best hard-sided luggage features a hard, plastic shell outside that's easy to clean with a damp cloth, as well as adjustable handles that grow with kids so transporting each piece is a breeze.

Other features to look for in a piece of hard-sided luggage include:

  • Personalization. Children love personalized luggage, and they're proud to carry it - and that leaves you free to focus on other things.
  • Easy-to-organize interior compartments. Look for luggage that features zippered pockets and those that are secured by stretchy elastic bands.
  • In-line wheels. Luggage with four in-line wheels move smoothly and they're easy for kids to manage.

Soft-sided luggage is the right choice when you're dealing only with clothes, stuffed animals and other soft items that a few bumps, dings or even drops won't damage. If you choose soft-sided luggage for your child, such as a duffle bag, a backpack or a roller suitcase, look for:

  • An adjustable carrying strap or handles. Duffle bags that come with two hand-carrying straps and an adjustable shoulder strap are best, as are soft-shelled suitcases with an adjustable pull handle.
  • Reinforced stitching. Soft-sided luggage needs sturdy seams and reinforced stitching at all stress points so it can hold up under pressure.
  • Rolling wheels made to last. Rolling luggage is easier to move, and it's essential that your child is able to navigate with his or her suitcase in tow.

Mackenzie Navy/Orange Gingham Hard Sided Spinner Luggage

How to Choose the Right Luggage for Your Kids

When you're choosing luggage for children, keep in mind that the amount your kids can comfortably carry is usually proportional to their size and weight. Use these figures as a guideline:

  • Age 2: 2.5 to 4.2 pounds
  • Age 3: 3.3 to 4.9 pounds
  • Age 4: 3.6 to 5.4 pounds
  • Age 5: 4.2 to 6.3 pounds
  • Age 6: 4.6 to 6.9 pounds
  • Age 7: 5 to 7.5 pounds
  • Age 8: 5.7 to 8.5 pounds
  • Age 9: 6.1 to 9.1 pounds
  • Age 10: 7 to 10.5 pounds
  • If you're choosing a suitcase with rollers, the amount your child can pull will most likely increase. However, remember that if you choose something too big, your child may become discouraged, and you'll end up carrying or pulling it.

    It's also important to choose kids' luggage made from high-quality, high-denier fabrics that will stand up to over-packing and rough treatment. Tough materials are generally good at resisting spills and stains, too, which means you win on both fronts.

    Finding the right luggage for kids doesn't have to be a trial-and-error experiment. As long as you know what to look for, you'll be able to get exactly what your child needs for a quick beach getaway, a weekend at grandma's or a summer overseas.

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