Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.
- 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
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
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 eyeshadow brushes you can buy
- The best instant coffee you can buy online
- The best accessories for beer drinkers