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Carry-on for Kids with Odd Specifications

Hi all,

I am looking for some outside the box thinking.. Currently, when we travel with our kids (ages 3 and 5) we use the Delsey Opti-Max Wheeled Underseat (from Macy's). It works out great for week-long trips, with the occasional spillover into parental bags if we are packing a lot of extras (e.g. beach toys). The wheels and size make it perfect for the kids to haul around the airport themselves, but it also has a trolley sleeve so if there is a meltdown or we're hauling luggage over rough terrain we can combine it with our luggage. The only thing I don't like about the Delsey is that you do loose some space at the top/nose as it is not square, but a little tapered.

With that said, we are doing 12 nights in Europe this spring (will have access to a washer nights 5-9) and would really, really love to do carry-on only size luggage so I don't think the size of the Delsey is going to quite cut it with my husband and I both bringing along smaller luggage (Delsey dimensions: outside: 14.75" x 15" x 8.75", inside: 13.5" x 14.25" x 7.5"). I am having a hard time finding luggage that has both wheels AND a trolley sleeve that is much bigger than what we have now. I don't care if it's a backpack, duffel, or something similar to what we have now, I just want to be able to wheel it and I want to be able to combine it with our carry-on size bags (with the longer handle length I should have more room to play with in the height of the bag). I would like to avoid a strap and clip type system because I never feel like those are totally stable.

I did find that Ricardo seemed to have some options that seemed roomier, but it's always hard to judge based on online dimension. I am hoping that some of you might have some insight into an item or line that I am missing. And if I really can not find anything, what is the possibility of a seamstress (or even a shoe repair??) being able to use rivets or something like those lines to affix a trolley sleeve? This being luggage for kids that we'll probably use for a few years and move onto the next thing (one day they'll be old enough to reliably haul their own luggage around -- regardless of mood or terrain) I am not looking to break the bank. With that said, suggest anything that might fit the bill!

Posted by
3789 posts

There was discussion previously on this board about addition of sleeve, but ultimately it seemed too costly for a seamstress to do. Here is a link to the thread. May not be as relevant for you, but you might gleen the challenges of trying to add a sleeve.
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/packing/a-question-for-those-who-sew here are some Amazon items that might work for you however.
Here is one reliably recommended. Can't beat the Black Friday price.
https://www.amazon.com/Travelmax-Travel-Strap-Carry-Luggage/dp/B07HB7X51D/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543154832&sr=8-1&keywords=add+a+bag+trolley+strap

Posted by
4 posts

That link did not work, but I was thinking that adding a trolley sleeve would probably be a pipe dream so I guess that confirms it.

I have seen the luggage bungees, and I'm hesitant to try those as I wanted something simpler and more reliable (i.e. integral with the bag). There seem to be a decent amount of reviews that talk about them breaking and we would probably be testing them to their max. I guess we could always make room for some spare bungees in case one snapped.

I am a bit confused here. Sounds like you want a bigger underseat bag than your delsey. Plus, you have easy access to laundry washer.
1). Check with your specific airline about carry-on size. If you can take a 22"x14"x9" bag - then, all is good.
2). Get two rolling carry-ons and just one underseat bag (use your Delsey).
(Online search - underseat roller bag. They exist with trolley strap.)
Does your delsey have a trolley strap? Is that the issue?
3). Use Packing Cubes! Ebags.com - classic are my favorite. Bright colors.
4). Pack light for 5 days only. No extras!

Posted by
4 posts

You are correct -- I want to get something bigger than the Delsey, but still have a trolley strap and wheels. Which seems impossible based on what I have been able to find so far, but luggage options are endless so I was hoping I was missing something.. I travel frequently with the kids and know all the tricks, but with the varying climates during the time of year that we are going (Switzerland all the way to the southern Adriatic; mid-April) the Delsey is going to be very tight if we are going to attempt carry-on only.

Solution (just found it). Check out Ebags.com. Great Sale! Then, look up Samsonite Wheeled Underseater Large. Both wheels AND trolley strap and on sale. Hope this helps.

Posted by
68 posts

Our solution when our kids were young was similar to this Kids wheeled luggage

The bars on the outside of the bag made it possible to slip it horizontally over the handle of our rolling bags. The one we used was bigger than the one linked above and probably wouldn't fit under the seat. Check out TJ Maxx or similar stores.