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Best carry on for a 7 years old girl

Hi !

we will make a one monthe triop this summer (Dolomites, Croatia and Slovenia) and we jhave decide to go with carry on only. My wife and I each hav a Osprey farpoint 40 liters, my boy have a 20 inch roller suitcase. Now my girl. She is small and (obviously) not very strong.

Any good idea of something that would be suitable for her ?

Thanks !

Posted by
11532 posts

I suspect she could use whatever back pack she might use for school to carry a few items, but her main stash of clothes for the trip will have to be spread among the rest of the family's bags. Put her stuff in packing cubes so its easy to keep then separate and easy to find when needed.

Posted by
23472 posts

Her school book bag or one of the kids small rolling suitcase.

Posted by
3994 posts

Our granddaughters at the age of 8 were able to pull a 20” rolling suitcase that wasn’t packed full. One of the adults used a backpack for this trip instead of a suitcase in case they had to help with her suitcase but she managed it on the ground herself for the whole month and only needed help to lift it into overhead storage bins.

Posted by
1194 posts

Well first off, I’d decide on what she is carrying. I’d suggest that she carries clothes only with you and your spouse carrying the toiletries, gadgets, first aid kits etc. That will greatly lessen the weight of her pack.

At that point a book bag should be sufficient, especially if you help her plan a capsule wardrobe.

As others have said, a packing cube would keep her stuff contained. A large one should hold all her clothes. A small snuggle toy is good, especially if it has a clip on it so it can’t get lost.

I’ll recommend this link for traveling with kids:

Posted by
3263 posts

I'd suggest you get a wheeled underseat bag for her, as her suitcase. Then her book bag can have her entertainment, etc. If there is any overflow, which is doubtful considering her size, it could go in an adult's bag, but her clothes are small, so it shouldn't be a problem.

I can pack everything I need in an underseat wheeled bag for a 4 day trip, which means I could go any length of time if I wanted to do laundry, etc. all.the.time. However, I don't and I enjoy my luxuries, so my bag is larger, but so are my clothes. Sigh. If she is like my daughter, who tended to get dirty in the blink of an eye, she will need more changes than an adult, but with packing cubes you'd be surprised how much fits in those wheeled bags for a 7 year old, and it will be so easy for her to maneuver on her own so she'll learn how to watch and handle her own bags, and feel quite grown up. IMO

Posted by
1194 posts

I'd suggest you get a wheeled underseat bag for her,

I kind of like this idea. It’s a smaller roller bag. She can also put the bag on the floor during flight so her feet have something to rest on.

Posted by
347 posts

I suggest you ask her pediatrician how much load her little body can handle. Easily.

Posted by
4012 posts

I suggest you ask her pediatrician how much load her little body can
handle. Easily.


Your little girl is 7 years old. Don't make her responsible for a carry-on. There are long walks & long lines in airports. At best, she may want to have one of her dolls or stuffed animals with her. The rest should be carried by you.

Posted by
2768 posts

Most 7 year olds can ROLL a light, small carry on. We are talking 19 inches or smaller, packed with just clothes. Nothing heavy in the bag - if she has books or toys beyond stuffed animals, they should go in another bag. Look for kids luggage, and don’t expect her to lift it on stairs or anything. But rolling it should be fine. It’s a good time to learn an important travel skill

Source: I have 2 kids, The younger is 9 so I remember 7.

Posted by
2403 posts

I think it depends on how you’re traveling (by rental car or train?) and how much you’re willing to help her. She should have no problem with a lightweight 20” rolling carryon as long as she’s rolling it. Check out It Luggage. Airports and train stations are pretty smooth so she shouldn’t have problems there. Obviously she won’t be lifting it up into the overhead space! And I’d suggest an adult lift it onto the train, into the car, on and off escalators. Easy enough if you have a backpack yourself since you hands will be free. I’d suggest the same for any size rolling suitcase, so why bring a smaller version? Kids clothes at that age are so small that you won’t need to pack it full - that leaves room for souvenirs on the way home!

Posted by
11507 posts

I took my 11 yr old on one tour - 14 days on a Rick Steve’s tour - lots of walking - and walking to hotels with luggage .

On our tour there was one 7 yr old girl !! Normally the tours aim for at least 8 yr olds but they allowed her ! She was small also .

She pulled a small rolling bag - her parents only had to help her on hills or stairs ( in Venice those little canal bridges are not ramps but stairs !!) .

I think since you’ll have your hands free it would be best for her to have a rolling bag - I don’t think weight on her back is a good idea - and I would be sure to buy a GOOD quality bag .

I have traveled with a young daughter. I second all of Wray's advice. Packing cubes help a lot. She could probably handle the RS Mini Ravenna case as well. It's small. Let her pick out the color for her packing cubes. Don't let her load up on toys and such. A stuffed animal and/or favorite blanket. A thin book or two, coloring book/a few colored pencils is okay. Don't pack a toy store! Use minimal packing skills for the child, as well as yourself.

Posted by
79 posts

Be prepared just in case she cannot handle her luggage. One of our more memorable trips was to a remote field station with our then 6 year old. He had a small (18-19") rolling bag with some clothes, a few books, toys, and snacks. We had two huge rolling bags filled with plant presses, herbarium paper, snorkel gear, etc. One large duffel that slipped over the handle of one of the rolling bags. (These 3 bags all checked, of course.) Two backpacks. A pain to haul through the airport, but doable - until the return trip.

Our son came down with strep throat. High fever, fatigue, general misery. I ended up carrying a backpack AND a 6 year old through 4 airports. Luckily his rolling case had the handle/wheel apparatus on the outside, so we slipped it horizontally over the handle of one of the large rolling bags. Husband ended up hauling both large bags, duffel, son's rolling bag, and a backpack.

Posted by
6102 posts

Mom of four here. I like the idea of a book bag with things she may need for the flight. Pillow, blanket, stuffed animal, small toys and snacks, possibly a sweatshirt and sweatpants, perhaps back up socks and underwear. Then a small rolling suitcase with lighter weight items(her clothes). Even now, I try to pack things that are versatile and dry fast. I think a 7 year old is capable to pull a lightweight suitcase and carry a small backpack. We always from about age 4 on, had our kids carry their own stuff. It made them better packers!

Posted by
15716 posts

Go to any department store or big box store that sells luggage. They will have some designed just for kids decorated with their favorite dolls, action figures, etc. Take her along and have her pick one. Then let her walk around a bit with it to see if she can handle it. (If you can find a way to add a little weight it would help. )

The RS Mini Ravenna - has a trolley strap and could be stacked on parent's luggage if necessary. The plain colors may be boring for a child - but this is a suitcase that could "grow" with the child and be used into adulthood. You can always wrap a bright ribbon on it or attach a small stuffed animal on the handle to decorate it. Put function first.

Posted by
1229 posts

I have always had my kids wear backpacks (and we do as well) because then I dont have to account for a person and a piece of luggage in my eyeball check, you know? I can keep my kid[s] in front of me with their pack on in a crowd and I dont have to help them keep hold of their rolling bag and they dont have to struggle with it tipping or whatever. You will be surprised at how little the kids need to carry - a school backpack should be fine for a 7 yr old. My 9 yr old had a slightly larger backpack (one she had used for actual backpacking the preceding two years) but she ended up carrying two large stuffed dogs in it with the rest of her things. They were each the size of two footballs. So without them, yeah, a day pack would have been plenty. And then I dont think she even wore all her clothes. And that was a 5 week trip in Europe! ;p

Posted by
366 posts

A big thanks for all those answers and ideas !

I must say some things:

1) I think we can say we are experiences travellers, we have many many road trip with our kids since they are born. And we have take them (by plane !) in Germany, Austria, Portugal and Spain. So travelling is not something new for us or them.

2) On our last trip oversea we (my wife and i) havve accry each a large backpack. Since this time we have to pay to check luggage we have tjhing that the cost would be the same to buy cabin lugagge (it's the same ...more or less !) that could be us in other trips.

3) This time we will have a rented car for the whole trip.

4) We know that carrying too much on the back is bad for the kids, we are cautious parents, dont worry about that !

Posted by
347 posts

On this:

4) We know that carrying too much on the back is bad for the kids, we are cautious parents, dont worry about that !

Thank you. My work is done. :-)

Posted by
173 posts

When our DIL took our grandsons luggage shopping, they each chose a rolling case that was sturdy enough for them to sit on if they got tired of standing for long periods. I thought that was a great idea. One chose a small hardside and the other a small framed softside. Just a thought for your little one.

Posted by
4481 posts

I agree with Mira. Don't overload her but she needs to become accustomed to lugging her own stuff. Our daughter was rolling a small child's bag(much smaller than 19') and using the accompanying small backpack at the age of 4. I just checked with her and she agrees with that memory. Obviously, we handled it on steps and escalators.

A word of caution-fully loaded school book bags are notorious for causing back and other problems .