Having the right luggage unquestionably makes travel easier — and that isn’t any less true for children than for adults. Travel gets easier as kids become more in charge of their own stuff, and having the right bag helps that process along nicely.
Along those lines, we recently tried out a “bag” I’ve seen in airports countless times. The adorable Trunki suitcase is not only a super cute piece of luggage designed just for kids, but your little kids can even sit on it and be pulled through the airport.
What’s not to love about this multi-purpose piece of travel gear made just for kids? Well, for us, a few things.
First, the good elements of the Trunki. Besides being cute (there are 22 existing designs or you can even create your own), the Trunki is also good at holding a fair amount of kid clothing and toys. You could certainly pack in here for a long weekend, and potentially longer than that assuming you didn’t need to pack bulky winter clothes. I particularly liked the little pouch on the inside for small items. The suitcase is durable and has a five-year warranty in case something goes wrong.
Despite being durable, the Trunki is small and lightweight, which makes it eligible as a carry-on for most airlines. The Trunki weighs around 4 lbs and is 11.4 x 17 x 8 inches in size. For reference, the free Spirit Airlines personal item size is 18 x 14 x 8 inches.
The latches on each side that shut the Trunki are easy to use, but very yet secure — which is key when riding, so it doesn’t open up and subsequently fall flat. In fact, there is a key of sorts on the leash that “locks” the Trunki from opening.
The Trunki didn’t fully fit under the JetBlue seat when we tried, but it came close and was blocked by the design of this specific seat. It may fit fully under other airline seats and it easily fit in the overhead bin.
As for the kids — they loved the look of the Trunki and had a blast pulling it around the airport, at least for a while. While kids are getting used to the concept of being in charge of their own stuff on trips, it can be very helpful for the bags to have a bright and happy look that the kids love. The Trunki excels in that department.
The Not So Good
Kids are kids, and eventually, they may stop pulling the Trunki, and it becomes your job. I found pulling a suitcase behind me with a leash to be much more cumbersome than one with regular a handle. A potential solution is to take the “leash” and attach it to both top connection points and then throw the Trunki over your shoulder. This isn’t going to be a sleek look, but it will get the job done.
However, pulling it without a kid or throwing it over your shoulder wasn’t the real problem. My kids loved riding on the Trunki, but there were issues with this seemingly top-billing feature. First, my then 8-year-old was really already much too large for the Trunki, which of course made her most displeased when her younger sister got more turns going for a ride. That may not help the travel day if you have multiple kids.
But even when the appropriately sized 3-year-old got a turn, things didn’t go that well. If you are on a straight-away without other people around it is okay, but don’t expect the Trunki to turn well with someone on top, or always stay in a perfectly straight line. Perhaps my daughter wasn’t properly leaning into the horn grips that are said to help with steering and stability, but we weren’t graceful to say the least.
The way my child rode it also resulted in severely scuffed shoes as the tops of them drug along the ground in the airport with no solid place to put her feet. Again — maybe that’s our fault, but it was an issue. As fun as the Trunki may have been to ride on and look at, it made my travel day as the parent harder.
The Trunki is super cute, kids will likely love it, and it is undeniably well-made. If you only have one little kid and don’t mind some extra potential work for you in the airport and beyond, it might be a winner for your family. However, I don’t need anything “extra” to deal with on a travel day. Pulling a child riding on a suitcase or pulling a bag rolling behind us on a leash when my kids are too tired to do it themselves just isn’t going to work. As much as I wanted to love it, sadly, the Trunki was a flunki.
That said — I know many families love their Trunki, so feel free to vehemently disagree with our assessment in the comments. If you want one for yourself, you can usually pick one up on Amazon for around $50.
All photos by author except where indicated. Featured image by Ben Zucker/The Points Guy.