- These 13 Travel Bags Make Vacation Packing & Organizing Simpler
- The Best Duffle Bag for Families:
- The Best Big Suitcase:
- Best Weekend or Carry-On Bag:
- Pair Every Travel Bag With Packing Cubes
- The Best Travel Organizer for Families That Fly
- The Best Airplane Organizer for Moms & Dads
- The Best Laptop+ bag for Moms:
- Best All-Purpose Travel Backpack
- Best Large Crossbody Bag:
- Best Small Crossbody Bag:
- Best Toiletry Bag for Adults:
- Best Toiletry Bag for Kids:
- Best Travel Bag for a Toddler:
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Staying organized and packing efficiently is one of the biggest challenges to traveling with kids. The best travel bags for moms and kids are durable, well-designed and washable. They make it easy to pack and stay organized during your trip.
No one needs all the suitcases, carry-on luggage, totes and organizers I have here. But you’ll probably want at least one.
I chose luggage and bags that my readers love, that are a good value and that are designed to both be practical and look good. If none of these bags suit you, their best features can help you know what to look for in your own choices.
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These 13 Travel Bags Make Vacation Packing & Organizing Simpler
The Best Duffle Bag for Families:
I really like this Bago weekender duffle and it’s been very popular with my readers since I posted it here. It’s roomy, waterproof and folds up flat for storage.
It comes in a dozen colors. And it has a side zipper compartment that’s meant for shoes. But it can also keep dirty baby and toddler clothes separate from your clean ones if you are at that stage of parenting.
Two zippered pockets keep small items handy.
You can choose from 40, 60 or 80-liter sizes. The smallest one is a great mini-weekender when you’re going away without the kids.
The 60-liter works for a family weekend getaway. The largest one is ideal for longer getaways and ski trips where you’re packing for yourself and one or more kids in a single bag.
The Best Big Suitcase:
One of my resourceful readers turned me onto the very clever Thule Subterra dual duffle Bag that’s 2 bags in one.
The bottom is a large structured duffle on wheels with a telescoping handle. Then you add an unstructured duffle on top and secure it with compression straps to minimize the space it takes up.
You can use either one on its own; both are water-resistant. And it comes with a strap that you can use to attach a backpack, laptop bag or diaper bag to as you’re schlepping through the airport.
Use the top bag for shoes and gear or to separate your kids stuff from yours, or for your dirty laundry. There are so many ways to organize better with this.
Best Weekend or Carry-On Bag:
I usually run the other way when I see luggage sets for sale. But a few of my readers are choosing these weekenders and I can totally see the appeal of this Ibfun matching three-piece set.
The deep and wide tote has a separate shoe compartment on the bottom and a small outside pocket. There are faux-leather handles and a shoulder strap.
But the really fun part is that it comes with a matching purse that is the exact size of cross-body bag that I like when I’m traveling. And having my suitcase and purse match makes me feel very cosmopolitan.
There’s a second smaller bag that can serve as an evening wristlet or a make-up bag. Choose between nine solid colors and patterns.
Pair Every Travel Bag With Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are handy no matter how long your trip is. Regardless of the size bag you’re packing, they allow you to fit more and keep you organized. So you aren’t always searching the bottom of the bag for the thing you want.
They also keep your shoes away from your clothes if you don’t have an outside shoe pocket.
I gave my daughter a set of packing cubes to use when she did a summer-abroad trip. I thought for sure they would come back empty, with the clothes in a heap on top of them. But no! They kept her organized throughout the trip. And she had the smallest suitcase in the group!
The Best Travel Organizer for Families That Fly
I love anything that keeps me organized without taking up a lot of space or being complicated to use. Like this Valante Premium Family Travel Document Wallet, that a few of my readers have recommended.
It has space for your several passports, plane tickets, reservations and receipts. And it lets you keep some cash, a credit card, pens and your phone in one place. It seems like it would be while you’re going through the airport.
The Best Airplane Organizer for Moms & Dads
I hate putting things in the seat-back pocket on airplanes because I worry I’m going to leave something behind when I deplane. But I often wind up doing it anyway because I can’t hold everything I (or my kid) might need during the flight in my lap.
So I feel like this SoMine Commuter Essentials Organizer was made for me.
It has a stiff back that tucks into the seat-back pocket on an airplane (or car or train), providing an organized dashboard for all those small items you might want.
It has seven pockets for a book or eReader, glasses, phone, charger, snack, ear buds, maybe stickers, colored pencils and small activity books for young kids. Plus, it has two loops where you can keep cords organized and even hang headphones.
When you get where you’re going the whole kit is slim enough to pop into a tote bag or carry-on suitcase.
The Best Laptop+ bag for Moms:
Readers have also been buying this Borealis Laptop Tote from Northface to use as a carry-on because it’s as practical and made well as you would expect from the North Face.
It also folds flat when it’s empty and becomes a backpack in a cinch.
It’s water-repellent, zips closed on top, stays upright, and has a padded pouch for your laptop.
An external zippered pocket keeps phone and money easy to reach. There’s a deep water-bottle pocket and has plenty of room inside for “mom” stuff like sunhats, snacks, a small diaper-changing kit, sunscreen, extra jackets and a small toy or two.
There are rip cords for attaching a windbreaker or hat that you want to keep handy, or for items that are too bulky, sandy or wet to put inside.
Use it for the beach, picnics or even a roomy shoulder bag around town.
Best All-Purpose Travel Backpack
While shopping for a new travel backpack, I noticed a lot of so-called “laptop backpacks” don’t have a separate, padded pocket for a laptop, which seems essential if you actually travel with one.
So I’m in love with this Thule Crossover backpack, which does indeed have a protective laptop pocket.
It also has a small zippered front pocket for sunglasses, a larger one with organizing inner pockets for passport, phone and more.
There’s also a side zippered pocket, which is idea for keeping your wallet both secure and handy.
The deep main pocket can hold a water bottle, headphones, a book and a hoody.
If you’re traveling with a very little one, it can fit diapering essentials, a change of baby clothes, a snack trap and any items you might need, too.
It’s not inexpensive, but it’s the sort of backpack you could easily keep for ten years; and it costs less than replacing a laptop damaged in transit.
Best Large Crossbody Bag:
I generally don’t like large crossbody bags; it’s too easy to throw too much stuff in and weigh myself down with them. But I can appreciate why my readers like them, especially when traveling.
This Travelon Anti-theft messenger-style bag is my favorite of the ones they’re buying these days.
In addition to a deep main pocket, it has a magnetic fold-over front pocket and a discreet zippered pocket on the back. Plus snug side pockets for a slim water bottle and sunglasses.
Better still, it’s designed with anti-theft RFID blockers for extra security away from home.
Best Small Crossbody Bag:
I feel like I’m constantly searching for that bag that’s compact but still holds all the basic items I need to get through my day. My closet is filled with my failed attempts.
This Bostanton faux-leather purse could be a winner though. The broad, patterned adjustable strap is unique and makes the purse stand out a bit.
It has two external zippered pockets for easy access to phone and keys, an inside zippered pocket to keep my sunglasses from getting scratched and a small pocket that keeps lipstick handy.
The deep main pocket hold a wallet and the other small random things I seem to carry around (doesn’t everyone carry a reusable straw these days?).
It comes in 17 colors, including some nice two-tones. And the price is great for the quality.
Best Toiletry Bag for Adults:
My readers seem to love toiletry organizer bags that they can hang. This bag from Venture 4th is only one of several they’ve been snatching up lately.
It’s large, which makes it ideal for women who like to carry toiletries and make-up in one bag but don’t necessarily want them jumbled together.
You’ll find room for sunscreen, medication and vitamins, too.
All nine pockets are mesh or clear, which means you can see everything you packed. There’s no fumbling for those small items that always fall to the bottom.
The hook swivels, allowing you to hang it whoever you want, which is a nice touch. It comes in fun patterns as well as the practical solid colors.
Best Toiletry Bag for Kids:
When your kids start packing for themselves — which they can do around age 7 or so with some guidance — don’t forget to give them their own wash bag.
This hanging toiletry organizer is deep and has plenty of pockets for sunscreen, toothbrush and toothpaste, plus the retainer case and face-wash they might need as middle school rolls around.
There’s room for any other small items they might travel with, too, like vitamins or medication, a flashlight or even small pieces of jewelry.
It comes in dinosaurs, fairies and unicorns, too, but I think most kids will get the most mileage out of the sea creatures. It’s the least little-kiddish and I think it will take them longer to outgrow it.
Best Travel Bag for a Toddler:
We never had a Trunki, but I’ve always coveted these bright-colored cases when I spot one at the airport.
Preschoolers love pulling it along on their own. When they get tired, or you need to move along quickly, you can sit them on top and pull both together; this is quite handy when you don’t want to bring a stroller.
The company sells it as a carry-on but parents use it as a weekender suitcase, too.
For a carry-on you might put a soft bag inside it with the things your child will want on the plane. Then you can stash it up above and let them put the small bag under their seat.
Bonus: When kids hit school-age it’s handy for sleepovers.