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- Traveling with kids isn’t easy – especially when you’re lugging around a lot of heavy suitcases and bags.
- Having the right luggage can make it much easier to travel with kids, so we’ve rounded up the best carry-on bags for family travel.
- We like the Genius Pack G4 Carry On Spinner for its great interior organization, carry-on friendly size, and easy-to-maneuver spinner wheels.
Traveling with children is not for the faint of heart – especially if flying is part of your itinerary. You have no choice but to think of every single thing your kids might possibly require, then pack it where you can actually find it.
You also need space for snacks, entertainment devices, and materials to change your child’s bottom mid-air. And of course, you’ll need several extra outfits on hand and within reach during the trip – you know, just in case your kid vomits unexpectedly or spills chocolate milk at the worst possible time.
While family travel can seem overwhelming, experienced parents know that the success of a trip depends on how well you prepare. If you plan for every possible scenario under the sun and pack accordingly, chances are you’ll be okay. If you rush to the airport without so much as an extra pack of baby wipes or a tablet loaded with “Caillou,” on the other hand, your hatred for yourself will only be surpassed by that of your seatmates.
Making your journey even more perilous is the fact you need all your supplies and tools well within reach. After all, all the baby gear in the world won’t help you if you pack it in your checked bag and send it under the plane.
The best thing you can do as a parent traveling with kids is start your trip with the right carry-on bag.
Here is the best carry-on luggage for family travel:
- Best carry-on luggage for organization: Genius Pack G4 Carry On Spinner
- Best carry-on luggage for saving space: Biaggi ZipSak Boost
- Best carry-on luggage for families with infants: Timbuk2 Quest Rolling Duffel
- Best carry-on luggage for little legs: JetKids by Stokke RideBox
- Best carry-on luggage for short trips: TLS Mother Lode Rolling Weekender from eBags
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best carry-on luggage for organization
- Genius Pack
Why you’ll love it: The Genius Park G4 Carry On Spinner has numerous compartments for everything you’ll need, including a dirty luggage compartment accessible from the outside and a hidden umbrella compartment.
If you’re looking for a carry-on that has a compartment for everything, look no further than the Genius Pack G4 Carry On Spinner.
This sleek, light-weight carry-on bag runs $238 on sale with free shipping, yet it will take the guesswork out of figuring out what goes where. Extra compartments you can use to stay organized include a hidden interior lining pocket perfect for shoes, a removable laundry compartment, and separate spaces for chargers, socks, underwear, and more.
The Genius Pack G4 Carry On Spinner also features a handy packing list that can help remind hurried parents of essentials to bring along.
A retractable jacket strap secures your outerwear in the airport, while frame-injected wheels make the ride as smooth as butter. Obviously, this bag is also expandable! If you wind up needing extra room on the ride home, a simple pull of a zipper will garner a 20% increase in space.
Pros: A separate compartment for everything
Cons: Fewer exterior compartments than some bags on this list
The best carry-on luggage for saving space
- Biaggi Luggage
Why you’ll love it: One of the biggest struggles is where to store bulky luggage at home, but that’s not a problem with the Biaggi ZipSak Boost, which folds down to the size of a shoebox.
Most families lack closet space anyway, but storing luggage only compounds that problem. Fortunately, the Biaggi ZipSak Boost folds down so small that it can easily fit under your bed or inside a drawer.
The Biaggi ZipSak Boost also features a flexible outer shell that makes packing in lots of stuff a breeze. Its exterior pockets are perfect for storing baby wipes, tablets, or snacks, and you can haul this bag in more than one way – either wheel it along like a regular carry on or use the side handle to carry it like a briefcase.
The Biaggi ZipSak Boost has another trick many families love – especially those who pick up souvenirs on their trips. This bag has a hidden zipper that lets it expand another six inches to become a checked bag for the ride home.
The best part is, Biaggi bags are extremely affordable. Thanks to frequent sales, you can usually get the Biaggi ZipSak Boost for less than $75.
Pros: Folds up neatly when not in use, so much space
Cons: This bag can be top-heavy and hard to haul when it’s extended to a checked bag
The best carry-on luggage for families with infants
Why you’ll love it: The Timbuk2 Quest Rolling Duffel has multiple exterior compartments perfect for diapers and wipes, bottles and formula, and extra onesies and sleepers.
Families with babies or small children in diapers tend to need more gear within arm’s reach. The Timbuk2 Quest Rolling Duffel is practically perfect for families with very small children.
Not only does it roll like a spinner, but you can throw it on your back like a backpack if you need to free your hands. Extra exterior storage compartments are ideal for everything you’ll need for your baby in the air, and this bag is still appropriately sized as a carry on.
The interior of this bag is also ideal for families with lots of stuff. An internal mesh wall pocket is perfect for storing travel documents and other small items.
The exterior of the bag is also made of water-resistant material that is easy to clean. In short, puking babies are no match for this bag.
Pros: Multiple exterior compartments and easy to clean, can be carried on your back in a pinch
Cons: Starting at around $175, this bag is pricey for a duffel
The best carry-on luggage for little legs
Why you’ll love it: The JetKids by Stokke RideBox solves a very specific problem for parents with children in tow; it allows kids to ride on top and rest their little legs.
It’s hard to imagine a list of family-friendly carry-on bags without the BedBox by JetKids on it. This bag may not have a ton of features, but it’s pure magic for families who need help getting around the airport.
Thanks to its hard exterior and intelligent design, children ages 3 to 7 can ride around on it and save their tired feet. If your kid constantly cries in airports because their “legs hurt,” you’ll want to check this out.
The JetKids by Stokke RideBox doesn’t have a lot of interior features, but it does offer plenty of space inside. The best part is, the top of the bag converts into a leg rest that makes it easy for kids to nap and play mid-air.
While the BedBox isn’t cheap (it starts at $200), it solves a few tricky travel problems for parents while functioning as airport transportation and a nap station to boot. These features make it a smart option for parents with toddlers especially, but kids up to age 7 can also benefit.
Pros: Kids can ride on top of the bag then turn it into a leg rest when they’re ready to nap
Cons: Very few compartments for storage and not suitable for babies
The best carry-on luggage for short trips
Why you’ll love it: The TLS Mother Lode Rolling Weekender from eBags has a ton of storage compartments for everything from snack bags to wipes.
The TLS Mother Lode Rolling Weekender from eBags may not be big in size, but it does offer something for everyone. Snazzy outer compartments make storing baby supplies, tablets, headphones, and other essentials a breeze while the roomy interior allows you to pack in everything you’ll need for a long weekend trip.
We love the fact that you can pull the TLS Mother Lode Rolling Weekender from eBags on wheels like a regular carry on or release its back straps to turn it into a backpack if required.
If you’re not using it as a backpack, however, you can easily zip that part away. A snap-out zippered mini-pocket makes it easy to keep small items together where you can access them easily, and this bag expands if you need extra space.
Pros: Lots of compartments, converts into a backpack with ease
Cons: Not as much space as a full-size carry-on