I’ve been meaning to write an article about the best kids luggage for airplane travel for a long time. However, before making conclusions and offering suggestions to your children, Thea and I had to test them ourselves. Now that we’ve seen which ones worked well for us, and which ones did not, I am happy to review and recommend the below kids’ luggage for airplane travel in 2023 and beyond.
What type of luggage is the best for your child?
I’d say it mostly depends on their age and preferences. Until Thea turned two, I carried everything in our large diaper bag backpack. However, shortly after her second birthday, she developed an interest in packing, and in having her own bag to carry the toy reindeer in.
At first, I used to let Thea take her pre-school backpack. She used to pack some toys, and items totally inappropriate for the destination. e.g. we go on a holiday to a tropical island, she packs her little winter boots…
We started with a Trunki ride-on suitcase which has been designed for ages 3 to 5. When she turned 4 we switched to Trunki BoostApak. It’s a backpack that doubles as a car booster seat which is very convenient while traveling. Now she has a scooter suitcase which she adores. You no longer sit and wait to be pulled along. Instead, you get to ride on a scooter. How cool is that? I wish I had one like that when I was a kid.
Top children luggage picks at a glance
If you don’t have the time to read a detailed review, here are our top picks at a glance:
The Best Kids Ride On Luggage: Trunki ride-on suitcase
The Best Travel Backpack that converts to a Car Booster Seat: Trunki BoostApak
Favourite Kids scooter luggage: Kiddietotes
The Best Kids Rolling Luggage: Stephen Joseph
Cutest Toddler Backpack: Skip Hop Zoo
The Best Kids Backpack: Wildkin
Let’s review the best kids’ luggage for airplane travel in more detail.
Trunki ride-on suitcase
When Thea turned three, we got her the first Trunki ride-on luggage. As the name suggests, it’s a suitcase that kids can ride on. This is a lifesaver for traveling long airport corridors with toddlers, especially if you are not taking the stroller with you.
This ride on luggage is recommended for kids aged 3-5, is sturdy, roomy, secure, and can hold a maximum weight of 50 kg. As far as riding on it, I find it is rather small and a child over 44″ (around 112 cm) would be too big for it.
The ride on luggage is big enough to pack all the necessities to take onboard and small enough to fit under most airlines’ seats.
Thea loved packing her Trunki. There are straps and a pouch inside the little suitcase that help to organize things.
Obviously, you will have to pack all the clothes and other travel necessities for your child in another bag. Trunki is a fun addition to the airport experience and holds enough items inside to keep your handbag clutter-free.
One thing to note is that the wheels of Trunki only go straight. It moves very well and maneuvers easily but they don’t turn left or right. We did not have any problem with that, although I read some reviews of people complaining about it.
If you get Trunki ride-on suitcase, be careful when pulling it with your child on it. If you pull the string too hard and suddenly the child can fly backward off the suitcase.
Another thing to note is that some airlines (I assume low cost) have changed their hand luggage regulations. The dimensions have been reduced, thus making the Trunki too big for hand baggage. You can check it in, or pay an extra baggage fee. Make sure to double-check with the airline before you fly.
Personally, we had no issues with our Trunki ride-on suitcase and recommend it to your children.
Airwheel SQ3 Kids Electric Luggage for airplane travel
Airwheel SQ electric luggage ride-on suitcase takes it a step (and price) further. While children ride on the luggage just like with Trunki ride-on, they are no longer pulled. They ‘drive’ it. It’s spacious with 15L Large-capacity storage for toys and all the other travel essentials, a music control menu, lights, and a telescoping handle, and aimed at kids aged 3 to 6.
We did not own it, so I can’t recommend it or not. It definitely sounds and looks cool, so I’m sharing the link above should you want to learn more.
Travel Backpack & Child Car Booster Seat
Since we loved the Trunki Ride-on suitcase, we stayed with the brand and opted for Trunki BoostApak. when she was too tall to ride on the Trunki Ride-on suitcase anymore.
Now the good thing about Trunki BoostApak is that it doubles as a car booster seat and is comfortable to sit on. It transforms quickly and is easy to install in a car. It goes without saying that it is convenient when you take taxis to/from airports and use them for sightseeing at your destination.
The major downside for us was that it becomes quite heavy when packed, and once the child is strapped safely in the car, you can’t access the inside of the bag. So, before the seatbelts are on you have to decide which items you will need during the ride because you won’t have access to them.
We also started using an airport pick-up service that comes with cars equipped with boosters and baby seats. They operate in many countries worldwide. I recommend checking if the service is available in your destination, and if so, book it. Super convenient, and highly recommended.
We did not stay long with Trunki BoostApak however it is definitely worth a try. Maybe it will suit your family’s needs better than ours, especially if you travel with your own baby/toddler car seats. They add a lot of extra weight and additional items that need carrying, so Trunki BoostApak is a great alternative.
I’ve found a review about Trunki BoostApak online which says that thanks to this booster suit, the little boy was the only uninjured passenger during a car accident.
Kids Scooter Luggage
I’d definitely like to pat the person who invented kids’ scooter luggage on the back. It adds so much fun to traveling those long airport corridors. Thea loves riding scooters, thus traveling with one is so exciting for her.
Kiddietotes 3-D Hardshell Ride-On Suitcase Scooter
We got her a ride on a suitcase stroller by Kiddietotes. They come in many designs including unicorns. She loves unicorns and still expects to see them at zoos. Unfortunately, that’s off the table, so at least she gets to enjoy a unicorn scooter ride.
I am happy about the quality and functionality. It’s lightweight but sturdy. Slip-proof standing deck ensures safe scooting. And it turned out to be especially useful when we are in rush and have to walk fast. With the scooter, she can keep up easily.
It has been approved by TSA and IATA. Folds easily and can be stored in overhead compartments, even on small regional planes. They come with a 1-year warranty, however, we had no issues with it and definitely recommend it to other little travelers ages 4 plus.
Currently, Thea is so content with her scooter luggage that any other type of luggage has difficulty competing with it.
However, on shorter trips to destinations with small airports, we take a rolling suitcase instead of the scooter luggage. It is nice for a change, and Thea likes to feel like a big girl with her own rolling bag.
Stephen Joseph Kids Classic Rolling Luggage
We got her rolling luggage by Stephen Joseph. Again, unicorn design. There are plenty of designs to choose from.
From flowers to dinosaurs there is something even for the pickiest of travelers.
What do we like about this children’s luggage?
They are cheap but of ok quality for child’s travel essentials. Small enough to count as a personal item on the plane. Thea loves the pockets where she can fit everything but the kitchen sink.
The telescoping handle is comfortable and easy to wheel around the airport.
Areas for improvement:
A bit floppy when it is empty as nothing is keeping the sides sturdy. It is not an issue for us though. Once it’s packed, it’s sturdy enough. While empty it does look a bit like a backpack on wheels, though.
Overall, if you are looking for something cheap for occasional travel or sleepovers at grandma’s & grandpa’s it is a good option.
Kids & Toddlers Backpacks for Airplane Travel
When it comes to kids’ travel backpacks, I find that any preschool/school type of backpack will be fine. As long as it is lightweight and has some outside pockets for easy access it’s good enough.
We still use the backpack that she got as part of her preschool uniform when we lived in Singapore. However, if you happen to be looking for some specific designs click here to explore the options!
What’s your favorite type of kids’ luggage?
By the way, if you are traveling with a baby and need a diaper bag backpack, read our ultimate guide to diaper bag backpacks here. Everything you need to know about diaper bag backpacks in one place.
If you are planning a trip that involves a long haul flight alone with a toddler, read our guide on how to survive a long haul flight alone with a toddler!
And if you are planning a trip, here are our favourite travel resources that will help you plan an amazing experience!