3 Best Kids Luggage Choices This Year

Luggage for Kids

3 Best Kids Luggage Choices This Year

The best kids luggage has to do a lot of things. First, it needs to be sufficiently light not to add even more pounds to the weight your tot is pulling. Second, it needs to be hardy—young ones often have even less respect for luggage than grown-ups do, which is saying something. Third, it has to be easy to drive, because you don’t want to see your kid going every which way with a wild bag come time for the airport. And finally, it has to be attractive—according to your kid’s sensibilities, anyway.

The 3 products we put together below are ones that make the grade for most kids and their parents. They score well in all of the criteria above and also happen to have reasonable price tags that won’t cause mom and dad to have a fit.

American Tourister Disney 18-inch Upright Hard Side

American Tourister’s 18-inch Disney series offers the animation film company’s most popular characters in a hard-shell, kid-friendly upright design. You can get this bag with Minnie, Cars, several fairytale princess, the sisters of Frozen, R2D2, Sofia, and even Darth Vader.

This bag is a 2-wheeler, with interesting clear plastic wheels, and is made out of 100% ABS for a combination of strength and lightness. It comes in at 18 by 9 by 13 inches and a weight of 5lbs, so most kids should be able to roll it after them easily. It boasts a zippered closure and the interior is nylon-lined.

Branding for American Tourister can be found on the rear panel, while Disney-branded zips are found on all closures. The interior boasts a mesh compartment and garment restraints, and the handle is a single-tubed item with a grip piece that is color-matched to the rest of the bag.

Pros

  • Beautiful designs and colors
  • Very hardy
  • Large zippers are easy to move

Cons

  • Scratches easily

This is a great hard-shell case for very young children—even toddlers can pull it after themselves easily (and very likely with great enjoyment, considering how attractive it is). The color and theme options on this bag are superb: Disney always sells well with the little ones, so it’s little surprise that it would rate well in the attractiveness department.

It’s also quite well-made too, with tough and light ABS for the sides along with large and easy-to-move zippers for the closure. It does scratch, but most luggage does, even the ones for adults. It’s just a little on the small side, so bigger kids will probably want something bigger already.

American Tourister Disney 18-inch Upright Soft Side

This soft-sided upright comes in much the same theme and color options as the hard-shelled upright we just discussed, adding other options like a Stormtrooper-themed bag and a Mickey Mouse tourist’s bag. Made of 100% polyester, it is lined with nylon inside and fitted with a mesh compartment within the lid, along with elastic criss-cross straps.

It measures 18 by 12 by 7 inches and weighs a very light 4lbs. It also has a zippered closure (with American Tourister-branded zipper pulls), side-mounted skate wheels (2, so this is a roller bag), a branded handle, and screen-printed designs.

Pros

  • Quite sturdy-feeling for a soft-sided unit, thanks to the firm frame edges
  • Good material for the price (this costs less than $50!)
  • Spacious interior for its dimensions
  • Very light and easy to roll

Cons

  • Could be a bit tougher if you want something that will last through a lot of trips

American Tourister’s Disney collaboration produces yet another great kid’s bag in this model, which is more or less the rectangular, soft-shelled version of the one we talked about before it. It’s still a great bag, with even less weight than the other unit if every ounce counts in your situation, and it’s made of pretty good materials for a kid’s travel case.

It’s not designed for check-in situations, though, as we think the soft sides would be even more prone to damage than the hard-shelled bag. Fortunately, it’s decidedly small enough to make every airline’s carry-on limits, so there need be no worry about being forced to check in this unit.

Olympia Kids 19-inch Carry-on Luggage

This is a super-light 19-inch carry-on with a weight of only 3.6lbs and measurements of 19 by 12 by 7.5 inches. Its soft sides are seated on a rigid frame and are made of pure polyester. It has a retractable handle that is entirely (from tube to grip) color-matched to the pattern and theme you select—and there are 4 themes from which you can choose, with pink, blue, black, and white backgrounds for the patterns. It has two wheels at the base that are also color-matched, and the interiors are lined and accessed through zippered closures.

Pros

  • Extremely light
  • Nice and sturdy for the cost
  • Has a large extra pocket in front

Cons

  • Handle feels a little weak
  • Could use more compartments/straps

This is another great bag for the little ones, and while it might not be Disney-themed, it’s still pretty attractive, with a good array of design selections. The pink version will very likely appeal to little girls and has a lovely violet lining for the interior. The sports version is on a rich blue background and consists of a lot of sports paraphernalia (goalposts, footballs, basketballs, etc.) scattered at random. The hand version is a white, violet-trimmed piece with multicolored handprints as the pattern.

Finally, there’s a red-trimmed black version with skeleton line drawings of things like rockets all over it. It’s a sturdy, good-looking bag, on the whole, although it could use more compartments. The front pocket helps to make up for that, although the lack of straps on the inside isn’t a great feature.

Conclusion

While you may ultimately want to ask your little one which of these he would prefer, we’d advise choosing the hard-shelled bag in the line-up if you have to make the choice yourself. The soft-sided units aren’t flimsy and they look great besides being lighter, but we still think the hard-shell has a better chance of making it through worst-case scenarios involving luggage abuse—and it’s very attractive too.

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