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There’s no one trick to making flying with a family easy, but there is a network of tips, tricks, and strategies that work together to make it as smooth as possible. One strategy we have used for years, and that seems to have really paid off, is to get our little ones pulling their own bags as early as possible.
We occasionally get some strange looks as our little toddlers haul their own bags around the airport, but the sooner they take ownership in that part of the process, the better. It may slow everyone down at first thanks to their tiny legs and arms, but the temporary slowdown is just that, temporary. While our strategy may not have translated well if we had several really little kids at once, we prefer to get our little travelers out of the stroller and responsible for their own things sooner rather than later.
Not only is this better for them in the long run, but it is also so much better for us as we can transition from serving as the family pack mule to instead just serving as the shepherd guiding our crew through the busy airport. Well, at least until they get old enough to help with that, too.
We have started our kiddos off with their own bags as early as two-years-old. I think that a newly turned two-year-old may not always be ready for bag duty, but by the time they are two-and-a-half, they can absolutely take a turn pulling their own little bag towards the next flight.
The keys to success are to not be in a hurry, be sure their bag is appropriately sized, and make it a fun privilege that they are now big enough to do for themselves. If you are running to the next gate or they are exhausted on a particular day, then be ready to take care of the bag yourself.
For our toddlers, we have used a couple of different versions of the Travel Buddies line by Trendy Kid as their first rolling bags. Our first daughter used the Percy Penguin for many years before the handle unceremoniously died on a train platform in London after about four years of use. It was actually legitimately sad throwing that much-loved suitcase away after the trip ended. Our second daughter had the Popo Parrot version of the same bag. Both are around 16 inches in length and are the perfect size for a preschooler from about two to six years old.
The light-weight six-pound roller bags have a polyester lined divider so you can zip wet or dirty items away from your clean items. The outer shell will scuff with use, and it will scuff in a hot hurry if your little one starts pulling it wrong-side-up without the use of the wheels. You can see some of our penguin’s tummy damage in the photo above.
If you think that Travel Buddies is the right luggage for your kiddo to start pulling around the world, you can find Travel Buddies Luggage on Amazon or directly on their Trendy Kid website. After we lost our first piece of Travel Buddies luggage thanks to the train platform incident of 2015, we have found that a backpack was a good next primary piece of travel luggage for an elementary-aged kid. It is big enough to hold clothes for a warm-weather trip or serve as a supplement to a larger bag on a longer or colder trip. I think our older daughter’s next luggage transition will be to a four-wheeled spinner bag in the next year or two as her packing needs grow.
For us, 2.5 years old has been the right age for our daughters to start pulling their own bags in the airport. It may make for a slower walk to the gate, but before long they have the hang of it and are on their way to becoming full-fledged travelers.
When did your little ones start pulling their own bags and what type of bag is your favorite for traveling kids?
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