As with all acquisitions related to children, buying the best luggage for kids will inevitably be a push-pull exercise between their desire for Paw Patrol anything and everything, and your desire to maintain some aesthetic sanity. Traveling is a frazzled enough experience before you add the visual affront of Adventure Bay.
As I’ve written about before, I’m not one to shy away from long haul trips with kids (suffering builds character, and how else are you going to see the world), but when I found myself confronting the prospect of air travel this summer after a pandemic-induced hiatus, I felt a little rusty. What do they need? Where would it go? And were they capable, perhaps, after an unanticipated 18-month break, of doing some of the toting from security to departure gate themselves? A mom can dream.
Now, let me pause to say that children under the age of 12 do not qualify, at this time, for the COVID vaccine, and any parent’s decision to travel with kids should be informed by their own comfort level, official guidelines, and their pediatrician’s advice. If you plan to travel with unvaccinated children, the CDC recommends a number of safety precautions—all familiar by now—including masking, maintaining distance, and frequently washing your hands. But if you’ve determined that the risks associated with travel are feasible for your family—or you plan to take some relatively low-risk outings this summer, such as a road trip without many pit stops—you’ll need to pack for it.
A secret: kids, sometimes, if you’re lucky, don’t mind doing their own schlepping. Or at least that’s been my experience when I’ve flown with my three boys. Of course, you’re going to be ultimately responsible for the bags, but I’ve found that once they hit three, my kids will happily push or pull their packs, as long as they are appropriately scaled down to their size and they feel some ownership over their possessions. That doesn’t mean you have to let them pack themselves, though kudos to you if you’re willing to make that gamble. But it may mean you want to let them have a say on which suitcase you pick out when refreshing their carry-on this season. Strength, fellow parent, the Paw Patrol phase doesn’t last forever.
Some more design-friendly cases and options for the best luggage for kids, below.
$103.00, POTTERY BARN TEEN
$115.00, LIBERTY LONDON
$199.00, MARK & GRAHAM
$195.00, STATE BAGS
$100.00, THE TOT
Originally Appeared on Vogue