Kids Trolley Bags, Carry-ons and ride-on suitcases

A comprehensive guide to help you get the right bags for you and your kids.

Children’s luggage can be so much more then somewhere to keep their clothes. They are designed as much with fun in mind as practicality and almost all of them come with wheels. But how do you know which kids trolley bag is best for your little ones and more importantly your family travel adventures? To help with this question we put together this comprehensive guide to buying kids trolley bags.

The best selling kids trolley bags, carry-on and ride-on suitcases

Name Image Style Price Rating
Trunki Ride-On Pink Ride On 4.5 Stars
MiniMAX Kids Cabin Luggage Pull Case 4.5 Stars
Disney Marvel Wheeled Case Pull case 4 Stars
Gruffalo Trunki Ride On 5 Stars
Paw Petrol Trolley Bag Pull case 4.5 Stars

Where to start in your search for a trolley bag

So where do you start when thinking about a suitable trolley bag for your little, or maybe not so little, ones? The answer is to think about everything you want your kid's bag to do for you. Take a piece of paper and make a simple check list to compare against each bag you look at to see if it will deliver on the functionality you require. Don’t worry if you can’t think of anything right now, that’s what the rest of the article will help with as it covers the key points to take into consideration when buying kids trolly bags. We also have a summary list at the end of the article you can use as you browse for bags.

Age of the child

The first thing to consider with your choice of bag is your child’s age. After all your 11-year-old probably won’t feel too happy about being pulled along on a Trunki (or maybe they will!!!_. But your four-year-old will love it, ours do. Unfortunately, bags don’t come with an upper age range but think about your child and what they would like or in some cases like to be seen with. Also, while your child might still like the idea of a ride on suitcase they might just be too big for one.

How easy it is to pull or push

One of our key criteria for choosing a trolley bag for your children is how easy it will be for them to push or pull. Take a close look at how this is designed to work. Is it a pull out handle or pull rope, or even a push system? If it is a pull out handle like the one below then look at the height of the handle when fully extended. Will your child be able to hold it easily and walk along?

Also, you will want a nice wide handle with two poles under the handle to ensure the bag doesn’t tilt and flip over when being pulled.

If you child is older you might also want to think about a trolley bag that can also be a ruck sack as they may want the choice to carry it this way and in fact this may be very handy when running for a plane.

Weight of the bag

Have a look at the empty weight of the bag. You really don’t want something too heavy before you even start piling it full of toys, tablets and snacks. After all they have to pull or carry it, but also highly likely you will have to pull or carry it at the same time as carrying your own hand luggage. Canvas bags will typically be less than 1kg but hard cases can go up as high as 2.5 kg.

Also your airline will have weight restrictions for carry on and this includes your children’s bags. As an example take a look at this statement taken from Thomson’s luggage allowance page where it talks about taking a Trunki as hand luggage but that it must weigh less than 5 kg.

You can take 1 piece of hand luggage weighing up to 5kg and with maximum dimensions of 55x40x20cm on a Thomson Airways flight. On some holidays you’re allowed 7kg – this will be clearly shown whilst you’re booking if it applies. Things like laptops, handbags and items bought at the airport must fit within your 1 piece of hand luggage. You must be able to lift your hand luggage into the overhead storage compartments yourself. You can bring a Trunki case as hand luggage, as long as it weighs less than 5kg.

Do you want a ride on bag for your children?

What could be better than a bag that also provides entertainment. This was the big sell with Trunkis when they started out and while the Dragons Den team may have missed this the traveling public did not and this brand is now the number one choice for ride on suitcases for kids. If you think your little one will enjoy being pulled around or pushing themselves around the airport then give them a look.

But there are also some alternatives to Trunki in the market place now that you may want to consider and we have included some of them below.

This fun looking range from Skoot has one advantage over the traditional Trunki with a handle for the children to hold on to when pushing along, but does come at a hefty 2.5 kg in weight.

While there is no such thing as a Disney Trunki this hasn't stopped Disney producing a range of ride on suitcases adorned with our favourite Disney characters.

If your kids are bit passed ride on trolleys, then you might want to look at these fascinating scooter case combinations. They start from items like this aimed at primary school children.

But range up to the following from Micro for bigger kids and teenagers. This one also includes built in Bluetooth speakers so once you arrive at your destination they can listen to their favourite music.

Characters, branding and the fun factor

Will your kids take more to using and enjoying their trolley bag if it is covered in their favourite characters? For instance, for the younger children you can get bags with Peppa Pig, Paw Petrol, Frozen and many more in both canvas and hard cover form, including ride on trolleys.

For the older kids there are bags with Monster High, Marvel Characters and even Star Wars such as this clever Darth Vadar trolley bag.

Getting a fun children’s trolley bag may help that flight and time in the airport go that bit quicker.

Dimensions and airline restrictions

While we have already talked about looking at the weight of the trolley case it is also important to look at the dimensions of the case before you buy. Ideally, the case should list whether it is suitable for most overhead lockers. Now, the important point to really think about here is most. What they really mean is flights on more traditional airlines such as BA, Virgin etc where they are more generous on bag space. What they are reluctant to commit to are the no frills type airlines and if you happen to travel a lot with EasyJet or Ryan Air you may want to check their websites for cabin restrictions and then check against the trolley bags. For instance a quick google search for “can you use a Trunki on Easy Jet” gets you to a policy paper from Easy Jet that states…

We want to be fair in our approach so we’re happy to accept the standard size Trunki (46 x 20.5 x 31 cm) as a guaranteed size cabin bag, even though the depth slightly exceeds our guaranteed size depth of 20cm.

Give some thought to how you travel and what restrictions the airline may put on cabin baggage.

Storage and easy access

Think about everything you are going to pack into your kids trolley bag and whether it is better to have it all in one space such as with a Trunki or other ride-ons, or perhaps better to have it in sections with books and devices away from pens, cars, dolls and other toys. Separating the items inside the case can make it easier and quicker to grab things as and when they need it.

Trolley bag accessories

One more thing to consider when choosing a cabin bag for kids is to look at the accessories and add-on’s available for the range that might just help make your journey easier. For instance, one of the big draws for us with Trunkis was the internal and detachable bag but other brands are also doing similar accessories or even sets of bags such as these from Disney and Marvel.

Carrying food and drink

Do you want to carry food and drink such as a child’s water bottle? If so you want to make sure the bag has easily accessible storage for these items but also keeps them well away from everything else such as tablets, books and their favourite cuddly toy.

Personalised luggage

To really get them to take ownership and have something a bit more individual to everyone else you can opt for personalised roller luggage for your kids as per this example.

What we have bought in the past

While it is a bit on the heavy side we have Trunkis for both our two (a Dinosaur and a Gruffalo). The ability for them to ride along while carrying a large collection of toys was a big bonus for us plus it gave them somewhere to sit while we all queued at US immigration. Additionally, the inner bags are a big bonus as a way to contain a lot of their entertainment and easily clip onto the airline seats in front meaning the Trunki can then be safely stowed away from the majority of the flight. As Poppet gets older we may have to change but for now she still loves her Gruffalo Trunki.

Buying a kids trolley bag

In summary take your time with the decision and follow the advice above to get the right trolley bag for your kids.

Here is a summary list of the things to consider when buying kids trolley bags.

  1. The age of the child
  2. How easy it is to pull or push?
  3. The weight of the bag
  4. Do you want a ride on bag for your Children?
  5. What about Characters, branding and the fun factor?
  6. What are its dimensions and what are the airline restrictions?
  7. What is the storage and access like?
  8. Does it have many accessories?
  9. Does it allow you to carry food and drink?
  10. Do you want Personalised luggage?

Useful links

Flying with kids

If just the thought of flying with kids feels daunting and stressful then take a look at our guide to flying with kids to help make your journey easier.

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