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Carry on luggage for kids: The 10 best suitcases and backpacks

Carry on luggage for kids: The 10 best suitcases and backpacks

If you’re looking for carry on luggage for kids I’ve got 10 great suggestions to help make your flight as smooth and simple as possible.

Before choosing your kid’s carry on luggage, make sure you check the size allowance for the airline you’re flying with. It varies significantly from airline to airline and you don’t want to arrive at the airport, realise your carry on luggage is too big and have to pay for it to go in the hold of the plane!

Other things to think about:

  • Will your child want a backpack, wheeled case or a hybrid of the two?
  • Will your child carry their own bag or are you going to be carrying it along with your own stuff?
  • Does your child also have checked luggage? (Is their carry on luggage for their fun plane things or will they have clothes in there too?)
  • Is it important for them to easily access things in their bag during the flight? (avoid a hard shell suitcase with no exterior pockets if it is)
  • Are you a fun parent and will you let them scoot about the airport on a scooter suitcase? (Just for the record – I am not! My three kids would cause chaos!)
  • Will you also have a pushchair and therefore need your hands free or something you can easily wheel beside the pushchair?

10 best carry on luggage options for kids

Carry on luggage for kids

1. What my kids use

Cabin Max Travel Hack Travel Bags for Women | Ryanair Cabin Bags 40x20x25 | Laptop Backpack - Black
  • A fashionable and space-saving womens Travel Backpack cabin size which fits under the seat. It can hold laptops up to 13", serving as a convenient option for weekend trips too.
  • Features an easy access top pocket for purses, sun glasses, phones and travel documents.
  • Fits the Ryanair 40x20x25cm' free' underseat hand luggage rules. Flies for free on all other known airlines. Lightweight design weighs just 0.6kg.

My kids use The Travel Hack Backpack. It’s an affordable option, comes in different colours and can be used as a day bag when we arrive on holiday. It’s easy to carry, has plenty of pockets for organisation and a padded laptop pocket at the back that’s great for quick access to gadgets. It also fits neatly under the plane seat, meaning you won’t need to put it into the overhead lockers and be constantly jumping up and down to get things out.

2. Best for young children

Cabin Max Underseat Children's Bear Bag 30L 45x36x20cm Trolley Backpack with Removable Bag (Blue)
  • DESIGNED TO FIT - 45x36x20cm design offers 30 litres of interior space whilst also being able to fit under the seat in front. Avoids extra hand luggage fees on EasyJet.
  • FUN - Take your teddy or doll along for your trip with this handy child-sized suitcase. Lightweight, easy to pull design is perfect for kids. (TEDDY NOT INCLUDED)
  • CONVENIENT - Detachable bag is perfect for keeping your child’s travel essentials close to hand on board the aircraft without having to root around in the main bag.

This carry on luggage for kids by Cabin Max is just too cute. It comes in blue or pink and has a harness to attach a teddy bear or doll.

It’s a hybrid bag so can be used as a backpack or a rolling suitcase and has a convenient detachable bags for anything your child will want frequent access to during the flight.

3. Best for parent and baby

COOLIFE Suitcase Trolley Carry On Hand Cabin Luggage Set with TSA Lock, Hard Shell Lightweight...
  • 20 Inch Luggage Set: The 20 Inch Luggage Set is 3 piece set which include 1pcs 20 inch carry-on luggage(56x40x24cm),1pcs travel bag and 1pcs toiletry bag.
  • TSA LOCK:With build in combination lock, it’s easy and convenient to lock and unlock your suitcase during travel. The suitcase locks are Travel Sentry Approved, which means transport security...
  • BEST QUALITY ALSO BEST PRICE: Our suitcases are well made with quality materials and every suitcase goes through strict quality control test, like Drop loading test, Lifting test of handle, Wheel...

If you’re travelling with a baby I love this set which includes a cabin sized hard shell suitcase, a large tote bag that slips onto the suitcase and a small toiletry bag too. I’d keep all of your baby essentials in the tote bag under the seat in front of you and put all of your extras into the suitcase in the overhead locker.

Just be aware that the suitcase is too big for some budget airlines as cabin luggage. 

4. Best scooter suitcase

Flyte Scooter Suitcase Folding Kids Luggage - Percy The Penguin, Hardshell, Ride On with Wheels,...
  • The Flyte scooter suitcase come with 3 easy-glide PU skate wheels for extra stability and safety.
  • The Lean 'n' steer mechanism on the Flyte scooter suitcase lets develop their balance and motor skills safely whilst having fun.
  • The Flyte kids scooter suitcase is perfect as both a ride on lean ‘n’ steer scooter and as a pull along suitcase.

What child doesn’t want to be zooming through the airport on a scooter attached to their suitcase!? These are so much fun, keep kids entertained during those long airport waits and can be really handy when you’ve got a long walk through the airport.

They’re probably not suitable for all children (I mean my children who would go WILD on these) but if you’ve got a calm, sensible kid then I think they’re a fun option.  

5. Best practical all-rounder for kids carry on luggage

Cabin Max Ryanair Cabin Bags 40x20x25 Underseat Backpack for Travelling (Metz 20L Hand Luggage...
  • ✈️ RYANAIR CABIN BAGS 40x20x25 - Underseat Maximum capacity hand luggage, hybrid trolley backpack with wheels.
  • TRUSTED REPUTATION - UK designed products with full UK based customer support. With decades of experience, we specialize in creating durable hand luggage, tried and tested in the actual airline...
  • ORGANISED: Your Metz 20L cabin bag features a front pocket designed for seamless organization, complete with holders for travel accessories and documents. Enjoy added convenience with a side bottle...

It is fun to have funky colours, wheels and lights but if you’re looking for a practical carry on bag for kids then this hybrid backpack trolley is a great option. It has easy-access pockets and seamless transition from backpack to suitcase.

6. Best for teenagers

Cabin Max Anode Cabin Suitcase 55x40x20 Built in Lock, Lightweight, Hard Shell, 4 Wheels, Suitable...
  • CARRY ON SUITCASE - Sized at 55x40x20 cm and weighing just 2.5KG your ANODE cabin suitcase complies with the hand luggage limitations of most airlines both Domestically and Internationally.
  • Flight Approved for Ryanair flights as priority luggage and for EasyJet Extra as a cabin suitcase. Also ideally tailored to Air Asia, Air France, Delta, Lufthansa, TUI, Iberia, Wizz Air, Eurowings,...
  • Lightweight and Durable - The Anode travel suitcase is manufactured from durable and hard-wearing ABS material making the ANODE one of the best suitcases with wheels lightweight available. With high...

Sleek and practical, the Anode hard shell suitcase comes in lots of colours and different sized depending on who you’re flying with.

7. Best for Ryanair

Cabin Max Narvik 2.0 Stowaway 20L Trolley Case 40x20x25 cm for Ryanair Under Seat Cabin Bag...
  • Surprisingly spacious cabin luggage under seat suitcase with internal tablet storage.
  • Perfect for underseat carry on cabin bag 40x20x25. Dimensions including wheels. Lightweight at 1.6 kg.
  • Padded internal electronics tablet pocket. Internal compression system so you can pack to the max. Internal ‘3D’ organiser packing pocket.

Ryanair are infamous for their tiny cabin bags so make sure you’re within the size limits if you aren’t paying extra for carry on luggage. This little trolley bag is both adorable and practical, making it a great option for Ryanair. I love that you can pull it along as this is often a better option for children.

8. Best for easyJet

Cabin Max Greenwich 45x36x20 cm Hybrid Trolley Backpack 45 x 36 x 20 cm for Easyjet Underseat Hand...
  • Lightweight HYBRID carry on luggage that can be used as either a trolley bag or a cabin backpack. Switch easily between trolley and backpack depending upon your environment.
  • 45x36x20 cm dimensions and lightweight at 1.7kg. Perfect for complying with EasyJet’s new under seat hand luggage bag rules and avoiding extra fees.
  • The Greenwich features a lightweight telescopic handle, robust wheels and is made from showerproof 600D PU material.

easyJet give you a little more space in your carry on luggage so I’d suggest this simple hybrid option with easy access pockets.

9. Best wheeled backpack for kids

Kono Children Luggage Suitcase Luminous Music Kids Laptop Backpack Cabin Wheeled Travel Business...
  • Dimension:48x30x17 cm/ 18.9x11.8x6.7 inches,1.44KG - lightweight and spacious the Mini childrens pull along trolley is perfect for your little ones to wheel their luggage around an airport!
  • NIGHT LUMINOUS: Male and female generic luminous trolley laptop backpack, after absorbing light, the color of the music boy will change in the evening.
  • HEIGHT EXTENDABLE WALK ALONG HANDLE - A 2-height extendable walk along handle makes transport easy and suitable for children of varying ages and heights.

This is a fun, hybrid option for a child’s carry on luggage as it has a glow in the dark character that lights up. The backpack can be detached from the handle and wheels, making it a good option for when you arrive in your destination.

10. The one your kids actually want

iubest Scooter Luggage for Kids/Adult, 50L Ride On Scooter Suitcase Foldable Aluminum Trolley Case...
  • ★Steerable and Separable: iubest scooter luggage suitcase can hold riders up to 331 lbs and suitable for adult, teens and children age 6-12 . Our scooter suitcase can help you save time on the way....
  • ★Roomy: Capacity 50L & 5 compartments. The case body can organize your clothes, toys, and the mesk pocket for your books, laptop, and iPad. It is a good helper for your excursion, short busines trip...
  • ★Durable: The frame of this scooter luggage is made of high-quality aluminum-magnesium alloy. strong and stable. Very hard wearing, fall resistant and durable, Will bear all the slight rubs or...

And finally, the one all the kids actually want. It’s a high quality scooter suitcase suitable for both children and adults. It can hold any rider up to 150kg and the suitcase has a 50 litre capacity.

To Trunki or not to Trunki?

Before we go any further, let’s address the elephant in the room….Trunki’s. 

Personally, and somewhat controversially, I hate Trunki’s. I think they’re expensive, bulky, difficult to carry, they don’t actually hold a lot, awkward to pull a kid along on them, potentially dangerous when kids fall of them (because they will fall off), difficult to open on a plane and as soon as the novelty wears off your child won’t be bothered about it and you’ll wish you just brought a backpack.

So yea, it’s a no from me when it comes to Trunki’s!

But don’t worry because there are loads of other great options when it comes to carry on luggage for kids.

Do I need a ride on suitcase?

In a word – no.

If you think your child is going to get tired and will want to sit down then just take a pushchair.

It’s actually a great idea to take a pushchair to the airport because you’re more likely to get whisked into the family lanes and skip the queues.

If your child doesn’t sit in the pushchair then you can still use it as a trolley for all your luggage and other crap you’ll undoubtedly accumulate at the airport.

‘But my child is actually way too old to go in a pushchair and it’s embarrassing!’

Stop worrying about what other people think and just do whatever makes your life as easy as possible.

I have a Babyzen Yoyo which is a great travel pushchair and I will travel with this for as long as possible! It folds up small so you can take it on the plane with you but it’s also strong and sturdy enough to hold a child who probably is a bit too big to be in a pushchair!

Read more: What’s the best travel stroller?

What do you put in your kid’s carry on luggage?

I’ve got a whole blog post about what’s in my kid’s carry on luggage. You can read it here: Here’s what I pack in my kid’s hand luggage for a mid length flight


Wednesday 26th of July 2023

Hey Monica, I completely agree with you about checking the airline's size allowance first – there's nothing worse than reaching the airport and realizing your kid's luggage is too big to carry on!

I chuckled at the scooter suitcase idea. While it sounds fun, I'm with you on this one. I can already imagine my kids causing chaos, so I'll stick to a regular suitcase.

That said, I do have a question: Which age do you recommend kids have their own luggage, like a suitcase? My little ones are still quite young, and I wonder if it's too early to get them their own travel bags. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this!

Cheers, Femi.


Wednesday 2nd of August 2023

Mine have always had their own luggage to be honest. They don't always carry it themselves but they've always had it!


Monday 10th of July 2023

Loving the new colours for the Travel Hack Backpack!