Please sign in to post.

Best carry on luggages for senior and kids

We will be traveling to Italy. One week land tour on our own and one week cruise. Mom is 73, kids are 11,9,7. I am hoping to do carry on luggages only but I have not see posts in luggage recommendation for kids and seniors. Mom can't carry backpack luggage. Maybe my husband and I can split her stuff in our packs and the kids carry their own? Or is there a good light weight one for seniors that is easy to work with? How about kids luggages? What do you recommend?

Posted by
3860 posts

Our multigenerational family of 6 spent 1 month in several countries this summer. We each had a wheeled 21" piece of luggage (one 4 wheeled spinner, the rest 2 wheeled). All of our luggage was different, name brand, lightweight and worked great for our travel, mostly by plane and train. The youngest two, ages 10 and 13, managed their own luggage but need some help lifting it up into overhead bins.

Posted by
22982 posts

My wife at 73 is still carrying her own backpack style. Although she probably will shift to a wheeled bag soon. Maybe next trip if we can find a wheeled bag we like. Is your mother capable of pulling a rolling bag and lifting it up and down stairs? That is the major determination.

Our sons at that ages always had their own backpacks - generally book bag size or little bigger. Carried their own clothes. Easy to do since their clothing was small and light weight. And they mostly wore the same thing day to day.

I have a two wheel carry on size bag that we use when we do a cruise to carry the addition cruise related clothing. It works well because the two wheels are large and roll well over rough cobblestones, pavement, etc. My wife has a spinner that we use in the states but find that it does not do well with rough surfaces. We would not take that to Europe because of the small swivel type of wheels that will catch in every crack and bump in the street. We are currently looking for new, two wheel bags without a lot of success. Have seen a couple of very high end bags but they are not worth the money.

Posted by
13210 posts

I'm in the middle of a 5+ week trip. I'm 66 and last year used the RS convertible backpack. I found it was fine once it was on my back but for weeks had multiple bruises on my arms from slinging it around into position.

This year I'm using the RS 20 inch roller and it is great. I have not had trouble lifting it in to the overhead on the plane or Eurostar nor in carrying up several flights of stairs. No bruises on my arms either!

The downside is that it weighs 6# to start with.

If your trip is next year, watch the RS store for sales on luggage.

Posted by
2766 posts

There is no reason not to do a wheeled bag, in carry on size. Just keep it small (20'' or less, and not too heavy). My 2 kids (boys, 6 and 9) share one Rick Steves wheeled carry on. I also use a Rick Steves wheeled carry on.

Kids clothes are smaller, and we have ebags packing cubes - one kids clothes are in red cubes, the others are in blue. Sharing a bag works because if one is tired of rolling it, the other takes over. Sometimes both want to roll, and then one can roll my bag. Bonus! They both have their own small backpack (like a school backpack) for their on-plane items (books, snacks, etc). So my husband takes a backpack luggage, I have a rolling bag and a camera purse, and my kids have one roller between them and one small backpack each

The 11 year old may be able use a backpack, but the younger ones may prefer wheels. Same for a senior, I would think. Whatever bag you use, make sure they can roll it easily, and it's not too heavy to carry up stairs or lift into overhead bins. And that it fits into all carry on requirements for the airlines you will be using. I find spinner wheels to add too much weight and be hard to use on uneven surfaces. Just regular wheels are better in my experience.

Posted by
417 posts

We did 35 days in Europe (mom, Dad, 8 & 10 year old). And my sister was with us in Italy. Husband and I each had a 21 inch wheeled carry on and the kids shared a 21 inch wheeled carry on. We all shared an "under-the-seat" carry on for various iPods, iPads, headphones, cords, food, etc. so we had a complete total of 4 bags. 10 year old pulled a 21 inch carry and 8 year old usually pulled the "under-the-seat" carry on.

In previous trips I experimented with the kids having their own little backpack of toys but found myself carrying both their little backpacks and mine. The small communal carry on works much better. Also, now that the kids are a bit older they can stand with the luggage. If a train station didn't have an escalator, my husband would carry 2 suitcases to the top of the stairs & the kids would watch them while he came back stairs where I was remaining with the other 2 bags and then carried those up. This happened a lot. But sometimes we did it in one trip--he carried two & I carried two.

Sister carried her own 20 in wheeled carry on plus a small combination backpack camera bag/purse. She was really glad I made her take a 20 inch to Europe. She said she had no problem with the trains and station when she had to travel by herself

Posted by
518 posts

I have yet to travel with my senior parents but if I did I would use a backpack for myself to keep my hands free to help them with their bags.

Posted by
18940 posts

I was 70 when I did my last trip. I used a convertible bag. I was there 21 nights. Packed, my bag weighed less than 12#.

My philosophy is that if your bag is so heavy that you need rollers, perhaps you're trying to take too much. Including what I wear on the plane, I take three seats of clothes (four shirts). It means I have to wash a little every night, but the weight savings is more than worth it.

Campmor's Essential Carryon bag weighs only 1¾# empty. It would be hard to find a lighter carryon bag of any size, and it is only a little smaller than regulation carryon size. Note: for the kids, the Civita Day Pack weighs only 9.6 oz, but it is only 850 ci.

And, to be honest, I don't do cruises. Do you really need more stuff on a cruise? Why?

Posted by
5158 posts


I've taken several trips with my mom who is now in her 80's & we each travel with a carry-on luggage.
Up until last year, she was able to roll her own suitcase & only needed help going up & down stairs & placing it on the overhead bin.
On our trip last year, I ended up lugging both of our carry-on roller suitcases but it wasn't a problem.

The most important thing is to travel light.
We pack for 5-6 days & plan to do laundry while traveling.

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
2788 posts

I am 70 and go to Europe every summer for 13 of the last 14 years taking a RS 21" two wheeled roller carry on bag. I have a physical problem that prevents me from putting a pack on my back. I have pulled three different RS roller bags all over Europe and over all kinds of surfaces with no problems. If you are still looking to purchase luggage keep track of RS luggage sales if you choose to get some of his luggage.

Posted by
4079 posts

By now you've probably realized that many of us are seniors, yet we use the same kinds of carry-on luggage as anyone else.

I'll be 70 on my next trip. I've been using a Lipault 21.5x14x8 spinner for the last 4 years. I don't seem to have the hassles others do with the spinner wheels. It weighs about 6 pounds. I can pack it for a 4+ week trip and keep the total weight down to 20 pounds.

I'm always looking for something lighter and somewhat smaller. Someone on the forum even measured his new RS bag for me and discovered that it was bigger than 20" from the floor up including the wheels and handle. And it weighs the same as my Lipault.

Lipault's measurements do include the wheels and handles. They make a 5-pound 2-wheeled bag (model # jpf-017) that is 19x13x6. I'm being very tempted. I certainly should be able to keep the weight down with that bag.

Whatever you consider, make sure the exterior measurements include wheels and handles. Otherwise it won't fit in the sizing box. Also pay attention to the weight. Some bags brag that they are light, but actually weigh 7+ pounds.

BTW, my "personal item" is a baggallini tote big enough to put my crossbody purse inside along with other flight essentials. It's the kind that has a pocket on one side with a top and bottom zipper. You open both zippers and slide it down over the extended handle on a wheeled bag. That makes for very stable stacking and less weight on the shoulder.

Posted by
38 posts

Thank you all for the recommendations and advise! They really help a lot. Now I just have to figure out how many sets of clothing to pack for the kids! :-) Trying to think how to dry clothing for traveling. Any advise on that?