Small bookbags or suitcases for kids..yes or no and which one?

My kids are 8, 6, and 3 and our first trip to WDW is coming up in October! I was all about planning around this time last year and then Covid happened and all planning stopped. We just decided we are still going and now I’m a little panicky trying to figure out how we should pack. I love the idea of them having their own little luggage rolling bag but the practical side of me hates to spend money on a small bag or suitcase they’ll quickly outgrow!! But then again they’re only little once and it’s been a heck of a year so maybe I should splurge? What did you guys do?

I’m waffling between just cramming the adults stuff all together in the carry-on and having the three kids stuff in one large suitcase to check. Less to keep up with!! But the organized part of me loves the idea of having their things separated (and having more room in my bag for things we don’t want to by down there like stuffies, mouse ears, princess dresses). And the sappy part of me just wants to see how excited they get about their own suitcase and going to WDW and take pics of them packing who knows what and then have to repack it for them of course. But should I just get a small backpack they will use more and do the same thing but for less $$ ?

So… what do I do? Pack it all like a grownup? Give the kids their own litlle luggage? And if so, any bookbag for the plane vs kids rolling luggage suggestions??

Definitely splurge and get little suitcases!!! How often are you going to get to do that??
I’m squealing at how cute and fun having them pack their own suitcase sounds!!
Do it now!!


I let my kids pack their own from around 7 or 8 and up. I made them a packing list. When they were younger, it stated specifically what clothes they needed to find, x amout of undies, x amount of night clothes, and 2 personal items. When they were older it was just generic like tshirt and shorts, dinner clothes, etc. They looked forward to getting the packing list and would request it up to a week or so in advance (even at 16 and 18, lol!) They were so into it and it made it s little easier on me (even of I snuck in the room at night and counted and repacked!)


Get something like this - and then you have both :slight_smile:


This is a situation where my ideal would not match reality.

While I’d think my kids would be excited about their own bags and would be adorable and definitely pull their own luggage, the reality is that they don’t care about having their own bag, packing cubes work great for separating clothes when sharing luggage, and a bunch of small bags is way more obnoxious to manage than a few larger bags.

I’d rather spend the money on something I’m more confident will be enjoyed than luggage.


My experience is that if you’re ok with them getting tired of wheeling them 5 minutes into the airport and having to do it yourself, go for it.
Seriously, most kids will think it’s cool for a little bit and then want you to do it. If that’s a problem, you might want to do the one suitcase for all the kids.

For our surprise trip last year I got all 3 kiddos (7, 4, and 2) rolly bags. I had them packed with their personalized shirts, ears, and magic bands. When I rolled them into the room they thought the bags themselves were the surprise. It was so fun to have them open the bags to reveal their “Disney Bound” mouse eared airplane shirts (also first flight for the 2 youngest, and the oldest hadn’t flown since he was 2)! I say go for it!

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Or depending on the kids, run into people with them, especially their siblings.

This was only an issue with DD2. And that was mostly because we found it easier to throw her up in the carrier on our backs than to wait for her slow little pace!!

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They also had their small backpacks packed with snacks and plane activities.

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I was going to say the same thing— only bring as many as you want to carry! :joy:

Mom of two littles too— and the fun mom in me says yes! Everyone should have there own how fun!! Then DH brings me down to we will be carrying them.

So, they usually have there own back packs when we go places and use packing cubes For clothes.


My kids have always carried a little back pack on vacations with snacks, drinks, tissue, money, etc. since they were 2 years old. They never complained.

I love the idea of cute suitcases for each kid to drag through the airport with their own stuff. But can they actually fit all of their own stuff in the kiddie suitcases and will they be strong enough to drag them once they are fully packed? And would it be a hassle to juggle the small kids and all their carry ons? And if you are renting a car on the other end, can you fit all that luggage into the car?

We are a packing cube family. There are 4 of us and we each have a set of different colored cube (DH - black, DD - purple, DS - blue, me - pink) from ebags. The cubes keep stuff organized and compressed. Everyone packs their own cubes. A few years ago, I added a large pack-it-flat toiletry bag for each person in their respective color. Once at the hotel, the cubes are easier to manage than to keep the suitcases open by kid. We typically take the cubes and put them directly into the drawers and the suitcases are put away.

If you want suitcases, I remember seeing Mickey and Minnie sets of suitcases last year at Costco. They were adorable! This is what they have now:

Maybe you can buy two sets. Have the two younger ones roll the under the seat ones. The oldest one and an adult can roll the regular sized carry ons.

But you know your kids best!

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You know your kids best. The kids we traveled with usually had both - backpack for personal stuff (mostly toys at 3, books at 8) and a rolling suitcase for clothes.

We’d have packing day when each would pack their own suitcase.
Me: bring me 5 sox and 5 unders. (Sound of herd of elephants as only a few kids run to their dressers).
Me: now bring 5 shirts.

Don’t recall any untoward interaction with fellow passengers.

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Back in 2016, we invested in JanSport “wheeled backpacks” for all 4 of our kids. (Kids are now DD19, DS16, and DS10 twins.). We haven’t had to use it, but I’ve heard they completely stand by their lifetime guarantee on their bags, so we bought in basic solid colors so our kids wouldn’t outgrow them.

(Side note…we are now transitioning to JanSport for school backpacks as well instead of buying new ones every year once we realized their guarantee policy. The two pieces together have been great for DD19 when she travels.)

I still pack the kids clothes and toiletries in our big suitcase as I just find that easier (control freak?), but anything else they want to bring goes in what we call their “pilot’s bag” (and they are supposed to leave it half empty outbound for souvenirs).

The ones we got just barely fit under a standard airline seat. That way, the kids have everything they need at hand. (They each keep a freebie string backpack in the bottom of it just in case we end up on an unusually small plane and they need to downsize and gate check unexpectedly.)

They have never balked at pulling them themselves in airports, but some coaching on consideration of others was required.

If it were me, I’d go that route for the older two, but get one of the very small, cheap ones for the youngest to feel included (and bring a carabiner clip so you can just clip it to your bag if needed).


I’d love to do that!


Besides my Disney obsession I’m pretty cheap and gladly buy most kids items second hand knowing that they will outgrow whatever it is in short order. They both have their own little Disney themed roller suitcases. I picked up one of the suitcases at Goodwill a couple years ago and the other (matching suitcase, different picture) at one of those big seasonal kids consignment sales (the ones around here are called “Just Between Friends”).

Is my son particularly into skateboarding? No…but he doesn’t care because he is 3–it has Mickey on it and he packs stuff in it and drags it around the house all the time. My daughter’s is Nemo.


Do it! We had 2 small suitcases for the kids. If they didnt want to roll it we put the sideways on top of our 2 and they fit fine. Just bring some straps, lol!

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True but they are very independent do it myself types. My gut says theyll be stoked to do it without help. But even if they get tired, non stop flight so no layover and my mom and sister will be there to help too!

Oh I LOVE this! Do you have a link to the shirts? It’s all of their first flights too!

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:joy::joy::joy: and I’m the mom that would cut that short unless it’s a sibling then I might take a video first haha