Travelling with kids – whether it’s through airports, on day trips to the beach or just to the grandparents’ – can have its moments.

So help make the journey easier for everyone with our roundup of wheelies, ride-ons and backpacks designed for the smalls in our life.

Included here are products suited for all ages and sizes, from toddlers and young kids (dinky backpacks from Grass + Air and Fjällräven; rolling cases from SkipHop; and ride-on cases from Trunki and Samsonite) to pre-teens (the super-smart wheelie from Away, and Goodordering’s practical monochrome roll-top backpack), as well as a couple of more maverick options – Mountain Buggy’s bagrider and Trunki’s boostapak.

This luggage selection is playful, durable and fun and, short of inventing a teleportation device, will help make getting from A to B with kids less stressful and more straightforward.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Trunki trunkisaurus rex: £32.95, Precious Little One

There’s a simple reason why you see so many Trunki’s at airports and train stations – they’re an incredibly well-designed and fun piece of kit that both kids and parents love. Our three-year-old tester loved sitting astride her trunkisaurus rex, holding on to the horns and riding around on it, as well as being pulled along on it and occasionally even pulling it herself too. The stickers supplied with the trunkisaurus rex to personalise it are a nice touch, and inside you’ll find an elastic strap to keep teddy secure, an elasticated pocket and an 18l capacity.

The catches to close it are chunky but tricky to open with little fingers, and are locked with the key attached to the pull-along strap. Size-wise, it’s small enough to take on board most airlines but is a bit of a squeeze to fit under the seat in front. It weighs a very light 1.7kg and the maximum ride-on weight is 50kg. Our only challenge with this was getting our child to stop riding around on it once we’d reached our destination.

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Away kids’ carry-on: £195, Away

A really smart grown-up option for older kids and young teens, the kids’ carry-on from Away is a proper wheelie, just scaled down. It’s extremely well made and a joy to pull along; the four 360 degree spinner wheels make negotiating even the busiest platforms a breeze.

For tech-loving kids, its best feature is the built-in battery pack to charge your phone, compactly done so the 31l capacity case weighs a respectable 2.7kg; for grown-ups, the slick secure locking system is very satisfying. Inside, there’s a hidden laundry bag, a built-in tablet case, compression straps and natty geometric lining. The tough polycarbonate shell measures 45cm high, and the handle extends to 60cm and 80cm. It’s available in a range of stylish matte colours. Yes, it’s the most expensive here but it’s also got the potential to be used the most and last the longest.

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Fjällräven kånken rainbow mini: £70, Fjällräven

A must for any Swedish school child, the Fjällräven kånken has been around since 1978 and its clean design is now seen on the backs of adults and kids everywhere.

This is the kånken mini, a scaled-down version of the kånken (29cm x 38cm) and is made from Vinylon F fabric – a water repellent, dirt-resistant material with a waxed cotton feel to it. There’s a main compartment with a slip pocket on the back, plus a zipped pocket on the front and two flat side pockets. It also comes with a PE foam cushion seat that slots in the back.

A great size for our three-year-old, Fjällräven says the straps are adjustable so kids and adults can both comfortably wear it. However, we found adjusting them more than a little challenging and had to watch a YouTube video to figure it out. We assume the high price tag is justified because it’s built to last, and while it may look cool there’s no guarantee your child will appreciate it being three times the price of most other kids backpacks.

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Flyte Chloe the unicorn midi scooter suitcase: £59.99, ZincFlyte 

Kids will love this wheelie case because hidden in its base and revealed at the press of a button, is a scooter deck. Fold it down, extend the handlebars and you’re off. It’s stiff and a little fiddly to lock in place – but that’s a good thing, you don’t want this to feel flimsy – the scooter base plate will hold a child weighing up to 50kg.

The suitcase has a capacity of 25l, is small enough to take on board an aeroplane and is a solid enough case to protect what’s inside yet squishy enough to resist impact. Our young tester loved scooting her belongings around, the only snag is finding space to pack the helmet when not being worn. We tested the midi for kids aged four to eight, a mini is also available for kids aged two to four (max weight 20kg). There are 12 midi characters available, two mini.

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Good Ordering monochrome rolltop backpack mini: £65, Good Ordering

A proper grown-up backpack sized to suit anyone from about six years old and up, Good Ordering’s rolltop backpack is a mini version of its adult model, yet doesn’t look too small on adults or too large on kids. Disregarding the fact kids typically want a new backpack every year, this will fit them for years.

Made from a coated waterproof nylon that’s smooth to the touch, it has lots of pockets and compartments, including a padded laptop pocket that just fits a 15” laptop, and a separate drawstring lining bag for muddy shoes or wet kit. It’s available in three monochromatic colours – black, red and yellow.

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Grass & Air kids backpack: £20, Grass & Air 

We love Grass & Air’s stomper suits so were really pleased to see the brand has a kids backpack too, made in the same pared-back style as its waterproof all-in-ones. A straightforward design, it has a couple of slip pockets in the main compartment plus a large Velcro-fastening front pocket. It’s an ideal size for our three-year-old tester and will last her for a few years yet.

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JetKids by Stokke bedbox: £129, Baby Nest London

For families who regularly take long flights or train journeys, this is a must. A sleek and sturdy ride-on wheelie case, once onboard simply flip up the top of the case, lengthen the lid then roll out its mini-mattress to cover the seat and case, and you’ve got an extended seat for your child, with just about enough room for them to lie flat out on (if a little curled up).

The bedbox is available without the mattress but, while it does take up a third of the 23l capacity of the suitcase, it’s a very welcome addition – providing you’ll make the most of it. Compared to the Trunki or the Samsonite, it’s a high ride-on case and is designed to be ridden on by kids aged three to seven (up to 35kg). Their feet need to reach the ground, and it’s 36cm high. However, the bed function can be used from two years. Pulling this case along is a dream – it glides with confidence, and our tester particularly loved the two sheets of stickers it comes with.

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Mountain Buggy bagrider: £96.60, Hello Baby Direct

Not strictly luggage for kids but a fantastic idea nonetheless for making travelling with small tots more enjoyable, the bagrider also saves you lugging around both a buggy and a carry-on. On first impression, the bagrider is a fairly bog-standard wheelie case, but unlock the extra set of wheels in its back, extend the handle, slot on the cushioned seat liner, and it becomes a four-wheeled travel seat for toddlers weighing up to 15kg. The transformation to clever child carrier takes 90 seconds, tops.

For our young tester, the novelty of riding on mummy’s case was incredible and garnered plenty of waves from and to other passengers. Inside there are 35l of capacity with compression straps on one side and a zipped cover on the other. However, the bagrider is let down by its weight – that extra set of wheels may be small but the frame is (necessarily) hefty and the bag weighs 5kg. It’d also be nice if some of that heft extended to the handle – we wouldn’t want to be using this with a child at the top of the weight range as it felt a little wobbly.

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Olli Ella see-ya suitcase: £65, Kidly

One of the cuter designs here, this vintage-inspired wheelie case looks as good storing favourite toys in a bedroom as it does being wheeled along the platform (or just around the garden). While it may not have the fun element that some of the others have, it wins on style and thoughtful design – on the outside are two elastic straps for bringing a favourite teddy along for the journey, and inside there’s a zipped pocket as well as further elastic straps for holding clothes in place (easily unbuckled by our three-year-old tester).

Designed for kids aged two to six, it’s dinky (40cm x 67cm high with the handle extended) and weighs a child-pleasingly light 1.6kg. It’s available in rust, mustard, mint and rose.

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Samsonite dream rider spinner: £43.17, Bags Direct

As you’d expect from Samsonite, one of the world’s leading brands of luggage, the dream rider case is a sleek bit of kit (for instance, the two side clasps are smooth to use, every time). Kids can ride on it, or be pulled along with the detachable strap (that also works as a shoulder carry strap and a strap to secure the case if checking it in). However, the webbing straps at the front – that your child holds on to if riding it – double as the handle for grown-ups to pick it up, which we found a bit awkward (there isn’t a lot of space to get your hand in). Inside the 28l capacity case, there are no separate pockets, just one set of compression straps. You can pick from a range of Disney characters, or four cute animals.

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Samsonite happy sammies backpack S: £25.12, Bags Direct

An adorable design, there are five animal characters available in the happy sammies range from Samosonite. The smallest backpack here, it’s extremely light and very comfortable to wear. Just two compartments, it handily also has a chest strap, which is useful for keeping shoulder straps on little shoulders.

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SkipHop kids rolling luggage: £35, Precious Little One

If your kids are fans of SkipHop’s zoo characters (perhaps they’ve already got the plate, the bib or the backpack), they’ll be very happy bringing along their favourite animal character on your next trip. Our three-year-old tester loved the unicorn wheelie, with its 3D horn and ears, and rainbow zip pulls. It weighs under 1kg and is straightforward – there is a large compartment and a smaller zipped pocket on the front, plus a mesh bottle pocket on the side, and the polyester-canvas material is fuss-free and durable. Available in seven different character designs.

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Trunki boostapak: £39.99, Halfords

This backpack is a blessing for anyone who’s lugged an awkward car seat through an airport or train station because it doubles up as a booster seat for kids aged from four to 12. Incredibly easy to convert, the fold-out seat belt guides simply click into place, and the seat belt adjuster quickly clips on, so you can change the height of the seat belt to fit your child.

It meets EU safety standards for children under 135cm weighing between 15kg and 36kg, and is an ECE 44.04-approved car seat for group 2 & 3. The base of the booster seat unzips to store plenty of books and toys, and it has a wipe-clean removable cover. At just under 2kg, it’s a little on the heavy side to expect a four-year-old to carry it as a backpack, but for an adult, compared to struggling with a full car seat, it’s a breeze.

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The verdict: Children’s luggage

For young kids, it’s hard to beat the ride-on Trunki. It’s so thoughtfully designed, we’re yet to meet a kid who doesn’t love this fun creation and it’s rightly deserving of being best. For slightly older kids, the Away case is a great investment that’ll last for many miles of travel. Our three-year-old tester also made a beeline for SkipHop’s bright unicorn wheelie. It may not have the best features or be made from the most high-tech material, but it gets her vote.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.