Your travelling teen will look stylish and practical with these teen luggage ideas
Your teen wants to be independent, but style and looks are equally (if not more!) important to them than all the practical features frequent travellers know you need in good luggage. Steer them in the right direction by getting them their own luggage that you know will achieve both!
There’s not always a one size fits all solution to teen luggage – what they might need for a weekend camping with friends is very different from taking a spring break trip to Europe! We’ll cover our favourite teen suitcases in detail but also provide some practical suggestions on perfectly sized totes for teens and accessories to make travel easier.
This post is part of our best family travel products series – we have you covered, from camping trips to the ultimate family vacation checklist
TL;DR – Summary of the Best Luggage For Teens
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|Product||Brand||Material||Wheels / Carrying||Carry on?|
|American Tourister Moonlight Hardside Suitcase||Hard ABS/PC||4 independent spinner wheels||No - 24" (comes in other sizes)|
|Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Spinner Wheel Luggage||Soft sided nylon fabric||4 independent spinner wheels||Yes - 21" (comes in other sizes)|
|Heys America Spinner Suitcase Set||Lightweight Polycarbonate||4 independent spinner wheels||Yes - 21" option in set|
|Steve Madden Luggage Set||Soft sided fabric||4 independent spinner wheels||Yes - 20" option in set|
|Jetstream Hardside Carry On Luggage Set||Hard Polycarbonate||4 independent spinner wheels||Yes - 20.25" option|
|Urecity Vintage Carry-On Trunk Suitcase||Leather||Shoulder carry strap||Yes - 16"|
|Rockland Fashion Softside Luggage Set||Soft sided nylon||2 wheels + tote with carry strap||Yes 19"
|Lily Bloom Luggage For Woman||Fabric from reycled bottles||4 independent spinner wheels||No - 28" (comes in other sizes)|
|Regent Square Travel Luggage Set||Hard shell||4 independent spinner wheels||Yes - 20.5" option in set|
|U.S. Traveler Rio Rugged Fabric Luggage Set||Soft sided nylon||2 wheels + tote with carry strap||Yes - 21"|
|Foldable Travel Duffle Bag for Women Girls Large Cute Floral Weekender||Water resistant nylon fabric||Shoulder carry strap||Yes - 21"
|Jadyn 19” Barrel Womens Weekender Bag||Polyester||Shoulder carry strap + 13" handles||Yes - 19"
|Original Floral Water Resistant Duffel||Soft high quality||Shoulder carry strap + handles||Yes - 21"
|BLUBOON Canvas Overnight Bag Travel Duffel||Canvas+PU Leather||Shoulder carry strap + trolly handles||Yes - 16"|
Types of Teen Luggage
Finding the right sort of teenager luggage can certainly be a challenge; the trade-off between pretty patterns and durable materials; lightweight enough so they can independently carry it and left it, vs being large enough to fit all the essentials for a big trip.
Your teen’s suitcase needs to fit not just clothing but accessories, shoes (how many shoes!) and all their personal items – electronics, chargers, toiletries – it’s much more complex than packing for your younger kids!
There are different types of luggage for teens that you can try:
- Hardshell Suitcase – This is a bag with a hard ABS plastic or polycarbonate frame. It is waterproof and durable – and can handle stress and scratches – though lacks some flexibility and can be a little heavier than other soft luggage. Cheap brands are also prone to cracking and damage from mishandling or hitting the conveyor belt too hard.
- Softside Suitcase – This type of luggage is made from durable fabric such as nylon. It has more ‘give’ and flexibility, and usually, external pockets and expander zips for more optionality.
- Rucksack – A flexible luggage, usually without a frame. A rucksack is worn over both shoulders and can vary greatly in size and capacity. These are best for outdoor adventures without smooth surfaces for wheeled luggage.
- Duffel Bag – A wide, cylindrical luggage with a top opening, a duffel bag is flexible and heavy-duty. It can carry bulky products easily but must be kept light enough it can still be carried over the shoulder (though some larger duffels also come with wheels).
- Travel Tote – This luggage, with straps for a single shoulder, is larger than regular totes. They are ideal for a few clothes and other essentials, though not great for long periods of carrying, best for short trips.
- Backpack – A smaller luggage with straps to be carried on both shoulders. A backpack is smaller and generally less durable than a rucksack but good for a few items. Ideal to be used as a carry-on or for short trips where extensive carrying may be necessary, it’s more practical than a tote.
- Carry-On Luggage – Suitcases, rucksacks, duffels, totes: anything that can fit in the overhead compartments of an airplane is considered carry-on luggage (actual carry-on rules vary by airline – aim for under 22″ long by 14″ wide to be sure).
- Wheeled Luggage – All types of luggage can have wheels, even carry-on luggage and duffels. There are either one-directional wheels (usual 2-wheeled) or rotational wheels (4-wheeled). 4 independent spinner wheels are by far the most practical, but this can add to the cost and weight of the bag.
- Scooter Luggage – although not common, we’re throwing this one into the mix as a fun alternative to wheeled luggage. A carry-on-sized suitcase that attaches to a scooter!
Choosing the best teen suitcases depends on the kind of trip your teenage kid is planning. While totes and backpacks are great for weekend trips, rucksacks are best for hiking trips.
Hardshell suitcases provide better protection during international travels or if the luggage might be tossed around. But soft bags and duffels fit into small storage spaces in buses, cars, etc and give your teen the most flexibility in their packing.
There may not be a one-size-fits-all solution for your teens travel needs which is where luggage sets with multiple options can come in handy. Look for those that have checked luggage as well as a carry-on-sized case and a tote.
What to Look for in a Quality Suitcase for Teens
Your teen can stuff a small world inside a suitcase so it’s important to think practically about what they really need. And remember, if the point is for them to be using the suitcase independently, the most important thing is how they will lift it, carry it and transport it from A to B. These are the essential features that we look for:
Hard/Soft Suitcase – Soft suitcases allow more flexibility as the sides can bend. However, hard suitcases are better at protecting the contents inside. Given the material hard suitcases are now made from, they are much the same in total weight, but do we conscious of how much the suitcase itself weighs before you have anything in it!
Checked/Cabin Suitcase – When traveling by plane your teen can keep the cabin suitcase under the seat or in overhead lockers. A checked suitcase is too large to fit on the plane (generally, the height limit is 21″) so needs to sit underneath in the cargo hold and be collected after the journey.
Carrying – Will your teen be pulling the luggage on wheels or lugging a bag on their shoulders? This will depend entirely on where your teen will be taking the case. For long haul journey’s and anywhere that involves going through airports and train stations, you will almost certainly want wheels; anywhere you’ll be without smooth flat surfaces, two shoulder straps or a sturdy over shoulder luggage strap is essential.
Durability – Your teen’s luggage will no doubt go through a lot of manhandling over the years. Getting shoved and pulled goes hand in hand with being forced to carry stuff they can’t hold. Plus, there’s rain, rough terrain, and drops. So pick suitcases made of durable materials that will last your teen several years – ideally, you want them to last into the early years of adulthood.
Size – Determine the size of the suitcase based on the distance and duration of the trip and the modes of transportation. Most teens hate bulky suitcases that are too heavy to lift, look on larger checked suitcases for adequate grab handles on the top and sides so you’re not tugging too hard on the pulling handle which can snap with misuse – remember even wheeled cases still need to be picked up in and out of cars or up and down stairs. The biggest mistake we’ve seen parents make with teen luggage is assuming wheels means they can take a heavier case.
Flexibility – When choosing a suitcase, whether hard-sided or soft-sided, look whether there is an option to expand the case if additional space is needed. Remember additional internal size will add to weight, and may make a previously carry-on complaint case too wide once expanded.
Security – You’ve no doubt heard horror stories of items being slipped into suitcases unawares to the owner. For any flight or international travel, we highly recommend you lock the zips together so this does not happen to your teen. If the suitcase does not come with a padlock, get them a TSA approved combination lock for their safety and peace of mind (TSA approved locks can be opened by airport security staff for any checking requirements without damaging the bag).
Style – Companies create different types of suitcases with sleek designs and stylish patterns and colors to stay up with the latest trends. Check with your teen and see what kind of a suitcase they are comfortable with – neutrals may be a little boring but can still work best if your teen suddenly can’t stand florals, leopard print, or bright colors.
Make sure to consult your opinionated teen kid. Offer your perspective, but don’t ignore their point of view while browsing through the best suitcases for teenagers.
Top 10 Suitcases for Teenagers
Now you are aware of what to look for in teen luggage, here are our detailed recommendations for the best suitcases for teenagers to choose from; we look at a variety of carry-ons, checked luggage, and luggage sets that give your teen multiple matching options to choose from (we will cover rucksacks and backpacks for teens in a separate review).
Best all-rounder teen suitcase: American Tourister Moonlight Hardside Suitcase
A hardside suitcase by one of the world’s favorite travel bag manufacturers, the American Tourister Moonlight, is trusted teen luggage that you simply can’t go wrong with as your teen’s first hardsided suitcase. Available in various colors and sizes, this suitcase can be bought individually or in sets. Your teenager will love one of the many designs!
What we love:
- Multiple colors and patterns to match the varied tastes of teens
- Mesh divider and cross straps to keep content well-arranged inside
- Four wheels that rotate in different directions for easy movement
- Single suitcases available in both carry-on and checked designs
- Available in sets of 2 or 3 suitcases of different sizes – from 21″ to 28″
Best teen carry on suitcase Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Spinner Wheel Luggage
The Travelpro Maxlite 5 is specially designed as an ultra-lightweight suitcase with soft sides. There’s something for each type of traveler, with different colors, sizes, and sets of multiple suitcases. It has numerous pockets and exterior compartments for easy access to small items, a great choice to use as a carry-on suitcase.
What we love:
- Available in a vast range of colors for teenage boys and girls
- Available in sets of 2 or 3 suitcases of different sizes
- Single suitcases in both carry-on and checked luggage of various sizes
- Water and stain-resistant Duraguard coating
- Comes with handles on 3 sides and 360-degree wheels for excellent manouverability
- The sturdy Powerscope handle extends to 38″, ideal for taller teens
- Expandable by 2″ with a tapering design to prevent tipping over
Best hard-sided luggage set for teens: Heys America Spinner Suitcase Set
A matching 3-piece suitcase set with a rigid body, the Heys America Astro Iridescent Spinner Luggage set is a sound investment for young adults who want a complete luggage set that will last them for many years to come.
Investing in their travel future, you get three different-sized cases, so you have the right-sized case from carry-on to larger checked suitcases to cover every travel occasion. The iridescent colors make them easy to spot on the carousel, with several colors appealing to teenage boys and girls.
What we love:
- Lightweight polycarbonate material that’s impact absorbent
- Spinner wheels allow 360-rotation and easy motion for a smooth pull on all sorts of terrain
- Brightly colored for a teen with a personal preference to stand out from the crowd.
- Dividers and straps inside the cases to keep clothing organised
Best soft-sided luggage set for teens: Steve Madden Luggage Set
If your young-adult traveler is looking for something sophisticated that will last, look at the Steve Madden 4-piece luggage set. From long haul journeys to overnight trips, the choice of 3 suitcases with 360-degree spinner wheels and a tote will have them covered no matter the occasion.
Fashionable and practical, if you want to invest in teen luggage that will last them into their adult years, this is the one
What we love:
- Will cover all of your teen’s travel needs in one stylish matching set
- Choice of 4 different colors/prints
- Soft-sided cases give more flexibility in your packing; the expander zips can add up to 20% of capacity
Best suitcase for teen girls: Jetstream Hardside Carry On Luggage Set
A piece of two-piece luggage set in colours ranging from rose gold to cobalt to black, the Jetstream Hardside Carry On Luggage Set will capture your teen’s imagination. It’s light and easy to carry or haul around. Plus, the suitcases are designed to hold more stuff – in an organized way.
What we love:
- Available in a range of glamorous colours
- Available with an edgy chevron surface design
- Zippered divider and straps inside for better storage
- ABS material that’s resistant to scratches and shocks
- Rotational wheels and two handles on two sides for better portability
Also consider: Urecity Vintage Carry-On Trunk Suitcase
Urecity Vintage Carry-On Trunk Suitcase offers a range of trunks with retro looks! The metal rivets not only make this bag sturdy but also add to the vintage look. This is complemented by the leather cover, borders, and corners.
It’s light, compact, easy to carry – and attractive! It may be relatively small but super cute suitcases are exactly what many teen girls will love to use as a simple weekend travel bag.
What we love:
- Retro trunk with a leather finish and rivets on metal
- Comes with both shoulder strap and handle
- Combination lock system for better security
- Available in 2 different sizes for light trips
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Comes in several other colour and size choices if you’re seeking more retro options
- Also comes with a larger retro-look matching 26″ check suitcase
Most Stylish Teen Luggage: Rockland Fashion Softside Luggage Set
The Rockland Fashion Softside Luggage comes in a surprising range of stunning suitcases. There are bright solid shades and fabulous patterns like polka dots, animal prints, camouflage, etc. With lots of space and straps inside, packing and accessing content is really easy!
What we love:
- Wide range of colours and patterns perfect for both a boy and a teenage girl
- Comes in sets of 2 and 4 bags
- Long-lasting unidirectional wheels for easy hauling
- Zippered sections on the inside and outside
- Top and side handles for better portability
Also worth considering: Lily Bloom Luggage For Woman
If your teenage kid has an eye for all things cute, the Lily Bloom Luggage is one of the best suitcases for teenagers. Equally, a mini work of art as a practical way to lug around your gear, this suitcase made from recycled bottles comes in various feminine designs with floral and animal patterns in different colour combos. The teen luggage with a soft case is heavy-duty and spacious, too.
What we love:
- Wide range of stunning feminine patterns
- Ergonomic handles and four wheels for better portability
- Several internal and external pockets for tidy packing
- Carry-on cabin luggage with a lightweight and compact design
- Wide structure for greater stability to prevent falling
- Approx 100L capacity with extra 12L using expansion zip
- 28″ checked luggage size
- Carry-on and tote options are also available
Best Suitcases for teen boys: Regent Square Travel Luggage Set
A piece of luggage set with a rugged look – the Regent Square Travel Luggage Set is perfect for teens, especially boys. An exciting feature of this luggage is the ultra-durable Goodyear wheels. The hardside case is made of durable and scratch-proof material that can withstand some pretty tough handling.
What we love:
- High-quality Goodyear wheels for smoothness and durability
- Available in sets of 3 suitcases of different sizes, including carry on
- 3 handles, including a push-button handle for a trolley system
- Zippered sections and straps inside for convenient content arrangement
- A lightweight suitcase that’s easy to carry and store
Best Value Teen Luggage: U.S. Traveler Rio Rugged Fabric Luggage Set
U.S. Traveler Rio Rugged Fabric Luggage is one of the best luggage sets for teenagers who love to travel. The luggage is made of soft and flexible polyester material, allowing it to be manoeuvred into small spaces. It is also expandable to increase the carrying capacity. At a very reasonable price, you get both a carry-on bag and a smaller carry tote.
What we love:
- Available in various unisex colours
- Comes in a set of two bags with a suitcase and a tote
- 3 handles and 2 wheels on the suitcase for better portability
- Polyester material for better flexibility with durability
- Straps inside and pockets inside and outside to keep everything in place
Best Tote Teen Luggage
We’d also like to give you a few tote options for your teens. These smaller bags are ideal for short weekenders where you don’t need a huge amount of luggage space, and you can easily sling a bag over your shoulder (think festivals, beach trips or glamping trips where a wheeled suitcase simply won’t be practical).
We love that this tote can fold down and fit inside your luggage, perfect for when you know you’ll be coming back with more than you started with!
Available in a huge variety of colourful and playful designs, it’s the ideal emergency bag that even has a pocket to slip over your suitcase handle. Ultralight material but a carrying capacity of up to 150lbs (though given your teen probably can’t carry the groceries without moaning, watch how much you pack!)
This super cute and inexpensive barrel bag is the ideal weekend for your stylish teen who wants to keep their luggage light. It has a 13″ drop handle for easy over-shoulder carrying, plus you can add an adjustable shoulder strap. A handy exterior phone pocket available in 6 colourful and playful designs to choose from = sleepover weekends sorted!
A lovely stylish option for your teen boy, you can fit in an impressive 52L, but it’s still classified as carry-on compliant. It comes with a large adjustable shoulder strap perfect for your larger lads, made from durable canvas and leather. An excellent travel piece that they can treasure well into their college years.
Travel Accessories For Teen Luggage
Let’s be honest; it’s all about the accessories! Don’t forget some wonderful personalized finishing touches to go with your teen’s luggage; you could also include:
- Luggage tag – it goes without saying, make sure everything is labelled inside and out (tags can easily be ripped off, so always have a backup system with their contact details inside the suitcase too)
- Stylish passport holder – is your young adult ready to handle their own passport? Give them an attractive case to keep this essential personal item protected
- Packing Cubes – an invaluable packing tool to introduce your teens to, sort your outfits, keep your clean underwear separated and your stinky trainers away from the rest of your clothes!
- Toiletry Bag – so many to choose from! We prefer a hanging toiletry bag if room permits in checked luggage, or if flying carry-on only, something small and see-through is ideal for those security checks.
- Jewellery box – ideal to fit inside any type of teen luggage to keep jewellery from getting tangled
- Cord Organisers – your teen’s travel arsenal no doubt involves multiple electronic devices, this should help keep them at least a little organized!
- Portable Bra Storage- you teen girls will soon see the value in keeping their precious undergarments protected when they travel to maintain shape
- Combination Locks – trust us, keys get lost! Give your teen a combination lock as an essential safety extra, especially if they will be separated from their luggage at any time.
What Should Teens Be Packing?
Don’t forget about what your teens should actually be packing! We have a detailed guide here on helping teens to pack, including how to assist them in making wise choices and preventing the over-pack. Don’t forget those all-important plugs and toiletry items they’re probably used to parents packing for them!
You can jump straight to the printable packing list when you sign up to our mailing list here.
More Teen Travel Reviews & Inspiration
- These are the best headphones and earbuds for travelling teens in 2023
- Think the kids have outgrown theme parks? Think again with these fabulous Disney Parks and rides perfect for teens and tweens
- Are you looking for some epic adventure vacation ideas for your teens, or how about the perfect destination to celebrate your child’s 18th birthday? We have you covered with all the destination inspiration you need to help them make great use of their new teen luggage sets!
- Wanting to get your teen a gift before they travel? Be inspired by our list of 25+ Travel gifts perfect for teenagers
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