If you have ever traveled with children, you know that there is a lot to do because of having to pack for the whole family. Recently, a friend of mine asked if I would go out shopping with him. He and his wife are planning a trip for Christmas and they needed luggage for their children, three year old twin boys, and a four year old girl.
This will be the first time they go anywhere without using the car to transport their belongings. They will be flying so things have to be the right size and completely practical. Hopefully, the idea is that the kids can pull their own suitcases, leaving the parents to contend with everything else. As we were looking around, we saw backpacks, hand style bags, and good old fashioned suitcases.
But nothing seemed to be right. The biggest problem was the load was too heavy for small children to carry no matter what option we chose. Then one of the other parents in the store mentioned that kids rolling carry on luggage is what her family bought for their children.
She said they could pick out their own unique designs and be in charge of their own suitcases and belongings. Another positive outcome was, because they each had their own, the squabbling had stopped since they couldn’t say the bag was someone else’s junk.
Such a simple solution, but we didn’t even think of it wandering all around looking at everything. When she showed us the massive selection, we were in awe!
Having completed our task of finding and buying three age appropriate cases on wheels for my friend’s family, we wrote down our recommendations.
What you should look for when buying your kids baggage.
- Personal preference is important. It doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that you need a boy’s color for the males and a girl’s color for the females, unless of course, the kids want it that way, but you should think about what they like. For example, you might pay a little more for a licensed bag with a favorite character. Likewise, if the child enjoys animals, try to find one with a cute picture. The more the child is invested in the bag, the likelier she will tote her own things.
- Be careful of gimmicks and features you don’t need. A ride on version is adorable, but remember that it might not work in an airport setting. There are thousands of people scrambling to get to their flight gates, and you don’t want the little one managing on the floor alone. Plus, ride ons are more for very young children, particularly toddlers.
- Feeling grown up is a great incentive for the kids to worry about their own baggage.
- If you are going to carry the bag onboard, make sure the sizing meets the restrictions chart for things that are allowed in the overhead compartment.
- Construction is top priority. Are the wheels stable? Does the outer shell have the right thickness to prevent tears and rips? You can also choose between soft and hard shell exteriors. The hard shells are usually water resistant and are much easier to wipe down if dirty.
- Make sure you also get one with an extendable handle. The wheels and handle will make it more comfortable for pulling, putting less pressure on the body from the weight.
We ended up buying the 2 piece set with mini suitcase and wheeled hard case for my friend’s daughter. When he got it home, she squealed with delight and his wife was impressed with the choice, too.
For the twin boys, they needed two different designs. This way the boys wouldn’t get mixed up and they would feel all grown up and independent. One got something with an elephant in the picture and the other got superhero.
My buddy also thought that since the family wouldn’t be traveling a lot in the next year, they could use the kids rolling carry on luggage for school, and also, when they went to the grandparents’ house for an overnight visit.