Best Luggage For Teens 2024: Top Picks from a Travel-Planning Expert

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Hardshell luggage in trendy teen colors and patterns against a light blue wall. Three suitcases are offset from each other, one is teal with wide vertical lines, one is navy with a horizontal line pattern and one is fuscia with a diamond pattern. All have wheels and extended handles

A guide to the best luggage for teens from a travel-planning expert and mom of teenagers. We know that having the right luggage (especially when teenagers are involved) can make a world of difference. We narrowed the choices to our favorite hard-sided, soft-sided, duffle and carry-on options. Plus, tips on what to consider before buying.

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Our tweens and teens are traveling! Whether it’s an 8th grade road trip to Washington D.C., a Disney World visit with their marching band, or a family trip to the beach, they are on the move and they need the right suitcase.

They may think having the perfect luggage is lame, but we parents know having great gear is really important.

And who knows? They may be more excited about their own bag than you think!

Who better than a professional travel planner to give us luggage advice? We asked Jennifer Kunz, a travel planner who specializes in Disney Destination vacations, for help! (More about her at the bottom of this post.)

We looked for style, luggage that lasts and special features. We even share different sizes that are easy to cart around during those long trips.

I travel a lot with my husband and teenagers. Thanks to countless road trips and flights, I know what luggage works best for teens and what doesn’t.

Jennifer Kunz, travel planner & mom of teens

Questions To Ask Before You Buy Luggage For Teenagers

Before you start shopping, ask yourself a few important questions. Your answers will determine what type of luggage you should buy. You’ll also get a better sense of how much money you want to invest.

What Kind of traveling will they be doing?

Long family road trips require bags that are more pliable to help maximize trunk space.

Weekend trips for competitions may require specific types of bags for sports gear, instruments, dance, robotics or whatever they’re into. They’ll still need a duffle bag or small suitcase for everything else.

Do they stay overnight with friends pretty often? Or spend a week at summer camp? If your teens are hard on things, you’ll want to pay attention to durability and quality so you’re not buying new bags all the time.

Lots of air travel? Look for luggage that fits airline baggage requirements and is easy to carry or pull in the airport. Pay attention to the wheels.

If they have an international flight booked, they’ll need something lightweight with lots of space that fits the airline’s baggage allowance. Check out the carry-on section for bags that fit in airline overhead compartments and have really cool features.

READ MORE >>> Tips for an Amazing Road Trip With Tweens

How will you store The Luggage?

Keep in mind that whatever you buy, you’ll need to store. Also consider that suitcases can be the perfect size to store off-season clothes and linens. They’re also Kristie’s go-to hiding spot for Christmas gifts.

Hard-sided sets can usually be stored inside one another and stacked which helps in smaller spaces.

Does it need to fit in their closet? Duffel bags or soft-sided luggage can fit in those tighter spots.

How Long Do You Want The Luggage To Last?

Are you making a purchase for an immediate need? Or do you want luggage that will stand the test of time? If it’s the latter, we recommend buying high-quality, durable luggage. It’s an investment, especially if your family or your teenager loves to travel.

What Matters to your Teen When It Comes To Luggage?

Keep in mind that they’ll be using this luggage and not you. If you’re buying luggage as a surprise gift, you’ll have to do some stealth questioning. Otherwise, just ask them!

  • Do they want something stylish?
  • Do they have favorite name brands?
  • Do they prefer classic or trendy designs?
  • Do they care about how easy it is to carry?
  • Do they prefer to be organized and have a space for everything?
  • Or do they just shove their stuff in minutes before you walk out the door like Kristie’s teen?

Seriously, don’t spend a lot of money on luggage if they’re just going to grab the closest duffel bag. If that’s their personal preference, it’s probably not worth fighting about.

Teen Luggage: Hard-Sided Options

Hard-sided luggage is waterproof, leaving your stuff inside well-protected. But my favorite part? They’re so easy to clean. My family of 2 teenage girls has hard-sided luggage and I love that I can wipe it down once we get home from a trip.

Top Pick
  • Pros:
    • Trusted brand with 10-year warranty
    • 14 bold colors
    • TSA lock
    • Very lightweight
    • 1.5 inch expansion
Best for Overpackers
  • Pros:
    • Trustworthy name brand with 10-year warranty
    • 1.5 inch expansion
    • Fun pattern
Best Deal
  • Pros:
    • Great value
    • Large 30-inch option
    • Expands up to 15% more space
Top Pick
Pros:
  • Trusted brand with 10-year warranty
  • 14 bold colors
  • TSA lock
  • Very lightweight
  • 1.5 inch expansion
Best for Overpackers
Pros:
  • Trustworthy name brand with 10-year warranty
  • 1.5 inch expansion
  • Fun pattern
Best Deal
Pros:
  • Great value
  • Large 30-inch option
  • Expands up to 15% more space

I also love the durability of hardside suitcases. When my very-practical daughter was 7 she asked for purple hard-sided luggage for Christmas.

That luggage has been used for trips to Disney World, Universal, Hilton Head, Holden Beach and Washington DC. It’s still in great condition!

Teens probably won’t appreciate “easy to clean” or “really durable,” but you might get them with “perfect for stickers.”

Purple Samsonite hardside luggage with stickers from tween and teen travels
My daughter’s beloved Samsonite Winfield suitcase

My daughter’s souvenir of choice from every trip is a sticker to add to the outside of her luggage. Our whole family is on the hunt to help her find the perfect sticker to add to her collection.

When it’s time for another trip, we get her luggage out of storage and the stickers remind her of all the places we’ve been. That purple suitcase is now part of our family memories!

Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Expandable Luggage

Love this subtle pattern from an iconic travel brand! It comes in 14 colors, from tangerine and rose gold to cactus green and teal. And the classic black of course.

Buy from Amazon.com

This is the suitcase we’ve had for over 5 years, and we’d choose it again. It’s a great idea for teen girls and boys who want various colors but aren’t crazy about patterns.

Pros of Samsonite Winfield

  • Trusted brand with 10-year warranty
  • Offered in various sizes (20, 24 and 28 inches)
  • 4 Multi-directional double spinner wheels for easy mobility
  • Available in 14 bold colors
  • TSA lock
  • Very lightweight
  • Expandable

Cons of Samsonite Winfield

  • More expensive than other brands
American Tourister Moonlight Hardside Expandable Luggage

American Tourister is a household name in luggage and this piece gets great reviews!

Buy from Amazon.com

I really love the marble pattern because it’s not something they will outgrow. A good luggage choice from tweens to young adults.

Pros of American Tourister Moonlight

  • Trustworthy name brand
  • Offered in various sizes (21, 24 and 28 inches)
  • 4 multi-directional spinner wheels for easy mobility
  • 1.5 inch expansion allows you to pack more (great for the overpackers in our lives!)
  • Fun pattern
  • 10-year warranty

Cons of American Tourister Moonlight

  • This model is sold separately and not available as a set
  • No TSA lock
Amazon Basics Spinner

A great suitcase at an even better price! Available in 3 sizes, sold individually or as a set.

Buy from Amazon.com

Kristie’s family has an Amazon Basics carryon and they’ve been very happy with it. Her only complaint is that the attached short handle is on the top and not the side of the suitcase. It’s a little harder to lift when it’s full.

Otherwise, this is one of the best choices for affordable luggage sets.  It also offers larger suitcases as part of the set.

Pros of Amazon Basics Suitcase

  • Great value
  • Available in several colors (black, blue, navy blue, orange)
  • 4 double spinner wheels and a telescoping handle
  • Offered in various sizes (21, 26 and 30 inches)
  • Expands up to 15% more space

Cons of amazon basics suitcase

  • Zippers may get stuck
  • A little harder to lift when it’s full because of where handle is located
  • The 30-inch spinner exceeds the maximum checked luggage size for some airlines

Soft-Sided Luggage for Teenagers

Soft-sided luggage is typically more lightweight than hardshell luggage.

One important consideration for teens is easy access to their tech, snacks and books thanks to exterior pockets.

Top Pick
  • Pros:
    • DuraGuard coating is water and stain resistant
    • 13 colors
    • Carry-on expands up to 2 inches
    • 5 sizes, including 3 carry-on options
    • Limited lifetime warranty
Best Deal
  • Pros:
    • Available in 2 and 4 piece sets
    • 38 print or color options
    • 4 different sizes, including a 14-inch tote bag
Most Durable
  • Pros:
    • Trusted brand with 10-year limited warranty
    • Extremely durable
    • Carry-on has a USB port (charger not included)
    • 3/4-inch expansion
    • Privacy ID tag
Top Pick
Pros:
  • DuraGuard coating is water and stain resistant
  • 13 colors
  • Carry-on expands up to 2 inches
  • 5 sizes, including 3 carry-on options
  • Limited lifetime warranty
Best Deal
Pros:
  • Available in 2 and 4 piece sets
  • 38 print or color options
  • 4 different sizes, including a 14-inch tote bag
Most Durable
Pros:
  • Trusted brand with 10-year limited warranty
  • Extremely durable
  • Carry-on has a USB port (charger not included)
  • 3/4-inch expansion
  • Privacy ID tag

Another benefit of soft-sided luggage is that it can also squeeze into tight spaces more easily. It’s easier to lift and fit into overhead bins and has more give in a packed trunk than hard-sided options.

But a word of caution from this mom: Keep in mind it can be tougher to clean. We started out with soft sided luggage but switched up to hardshell suitcases set for that reason.

Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage

Originally created by a pilot, Travelpro luggage is extremely well-designed. Choose from 13 different colors!

Buy from Amazon.com

This Travelpro luggage is available in so many great options, you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect size for your teen. Choose from 3 carry-on sizes and 2 checked sizes. You can also buy the luggage in a few 2-piece or 3-piece combinations.

Pros of Travelpro Softside Luggage

  • Sold individually or as a 2-piece and 3-piece set (see above)
  • DuraGuard coating is water and stain resistant 
  • 360-degree spinner wheels
  • 13 different colors
  • Carry-on expands up to 2 inches to maximize packing
  • Offered in 5 different sizes (19, 20, 21, 25 and 29 inches)
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Cons of travelpro softside luggage

  • No TSA lock
  • Some reviews say the 21-inch carry-on is a little larger than what airlines allow, so make sure you’re mindful of the carry-on size you choose
Rockland Softside Luggage Set

If you want suitcases with a personality, Rockland luggage is the perfect choice. Choose from 38 colors and patterns!

Buy from Amazon.com

Teenagers who want luggage in a fun pattern or color will love all the options from Rockland! And you’ll love the price! Especially if you’re not sure how long they’ll actually be in love with that fun pattern or color.

Pros for Rockland Softside Luggage

  • Available in 2 and 4 piece sets
  • Each set offers a 14-inch tote bag 
  • Inline skate wheels
  • 38 fun print or single color options
  • Offered in 4 different sizes (14, 19, 24 and 28 inches)
  • Best bang for your buck

Cons for rockland softside luggage

  • No TSA lock
  • The smaller bag is nice but not sure teens will be able to fit all their stuff inside
  • Only 2 wheels instead of 4
Samsonite Solyte DLX Softside Expandable Luggage

A 100% polyester weave means this an incredibly durable softside option. The set includes a 20-inch carry-on, a perfect size for nearly all airlines.

Buy from Amazon.com

Samsonite has been around forever and their luggage lasts just about as long. Kristie inherited a few Samsonite bags from her dad who traveled a lot for years. Her family uses them all the time!

Pros of the Samsonite Solyte DLX

  • Trusted brand with 10-year limited warranty
  • Extremely durable
  • Available in 3 sizes (20, 25 and 29 inches)
  • Carry-on has a USB port (charger not included)
  • 4 multidirectional spinner wheels for smooth handling
  • 3/4-inch expansion
  • Privacy ID tag

Cons of the samsonite solyte DLX

  • More expensive than other brands
  • Not available as a 3-piece set (does offer a 2-piece set)
  • Only 5 color options

Duffle Bags For Traveling Teens

If your teen wants something more casual, a duffle bag is a great choice. It also fits in weird packing spaces like an overstuffed car or an overhead bin that doesn’t have enough room for a suitcase.

Top Pick
  • Pros:
    • Water repellant
    • 32 colors and patterns
    • 4 sizes
    • Machine washable
    • Separate shoe compartment
Best Value
  • Pros:
    • 34 colors and patterns
    • 4 sizes, including a large 40-inch option
    • Extra large wheels
    • Four zippered front pockets
    • Internal retractable handle
Best for Organization
  • Pros:
    • 11 patterns
    • 3 interior mesh pockets
    • 1 interior zipper pocket
    • Adjustable strap
    • Separate shoe compartment
Top Pick
Pros:
  • Water repellant
  • 32 colors and patterns
  • 4 sizes
  • Machine washable
  • Separate shoe compartment
Best Value
Pros:
  • 34 colors and patterns
  • 4 sizes, including a large 40-inch option
  • Extra large wheels
  • Four zippered front pockets
  • Internal retractable handle
Best for Organization
Pros:
  • 11 patterns
  • 3 interior mesh pockets
  • 1 interior zipper pocket
  • Adjustable strap
  • Separate shoe compartment

Keep in mind that teens will have to wrangle the shoulder strap on and off when checking it and grabbing it from baggage claim. Been there, done that and it can be added stress you don’t need.

Under Armour 5.0 Duffle Bag

Kristie's teenage boys have had these bags for almost 10 years. She washes them after every trip and they're still going strong!

Buy from Amazon.com

Teens can use this Under Armour duffle for all kinds of travel from flights and road trips to quick overnights. It’s an excellent choice when traveling by car because it’s easy for teens to put at their feet.

Pros of under armour duffle

  • Water repellant
  • 32 different color choices
  • Shoulder straps are easily removable for when they’re flying 
  • Machine washable
  • Very roomy
  • Front zippered pocket
  • Separate shoe compartment

Cons of Under Armour Duffle

  • No TSA lock
  • Doesn’t hold as much as a traditional suitcase
  • No interior pockets
Rockland Rolling Duffel Bag

A Rockland duffle is our top pick for unbeatable price. They also have a huge variety of colors, patterns and sizes.

Buy from Amazon.com

If your teen would like something with a little more style, check out this rolling duffel bag from Rockland. It’s great for road trips and comes in so many colors and sizes!

My parents bought me a rolling duffle bag when I was in high school. I used it all the way through college but I definitely found it difficult to move around.

Pros of Rockland Rolling Duffel

  • 34 color and pattern choices including cute polka dots
  • Available in 4 sizes (22, 30, 36 and 40 inches)
  • Extra large wheels
  • Four zippered front pockets
  • Internal retractable handle
  • A great value

Cons of Rockland Rolling Duffel

  • No TSA lock
  • Rolling duffle bags can be cumbersome when navigating airport crowds
  • Zippers could be stronger
  • Not as durable for checked luggage
Jadyn 22" Women's Large Duffel, Weekender Bag with Shoe Pocket, Travel Bag (Blooming Daisy)

This duffle bag is best for shorter trips but it's a great way to show off her personal style.

Buy from Amazon.com

If your teen likes matching accessories, this is the brand for her. She can get a Jadyn duffel in 3 sizes along with a tote, a makeup cinch and a curling iron case.

Pros of Jadyn Duffel

  • 11 patterns to choose from
  • 3 interior mesh pockets for organization
  • 1 interior zipper pocket for storage
  • Adjustable strap
  • Separate shoe compartment which keeps their shoes from touching their clothes

Cons of Jadyn Duffel

  • No wheels
  • Doesn’t hold enough for a weeklong vacation

READ MORE >>> Our Best Gift Guides

Cool Carry-Ons for Teenagers

Time to talk about the best carry-on suitcases! If your tween or teen travels light they may just need a carry-on for their next flight.

As a reminder, airlines require carry-ons to be 22″ x 14″ x 9″ and that includes the handles and wheels.

Top Pick
Great Deal
Best Value
Hardside with Exterior Pocket
Most Color Choices
Best for Organization
Top Pick
Pros:
  • Trusted brand with 10-year warranty
  • Incredibly durable and scratch-resistant
  • Double TSA locks
  • 14 bold colors
Great Deal
Pros:
  • USB port with phone holder
  • Cup holder
  • Multi-directional spinner wheels
  • 8 colors
Best Value
Pros:
  • Fits under airline seats
  • 2 inline wheels and fully retractable handle
  • 3 colors
Hardside with Exterior Pocket
Pros:
  • Easy access front compartment
  • Double TSA locks
  • 6 colors
Most Color Choices
Pros:
  • Sustainable brand with 5-year warranty
  • Fits in most overhead compartments
  • 17 colorful patterns
Best for Organization
Pros:
  • Trusted brand with 3-year warranty
  • Fits under airline seats
  • Multiple interior and exterior pockets
  • USB port
  • 3 colors

We found 6 carry-ons that are really cool! Great colors, easy to navigate and fantastic features you just know will be a hit. Honestly, these carry-ons might just inspire me to pack a little lighter.

Samsonite Omni PC Hardside 20" Carry-On

Mary has gifted this carry-on to several high school grads. Made from polycarbonate, Omni is Samsonite's most scratch-resistant and durable line. Perfect for teens!

Buy from Amazon.com

Pros of Samsonite Omni PC Carry-On

  • Trusted brand with 10-year warranty
  • Incredibly durable and scratch-resistant
  • 14 bold colors
  • TSA locks
  • 4 oversized multidirectional spinner wheels
  • Lightweight
  • Expandable

Cons of Samsonite Omni PC Carry-On

  • Not as sleek as other hardshell options
  • Some colors only available as a 2-piece or 3-piece set
Wrangler 20" Hardside Carry-On

Who doesn't stop at Starbucks on their way to their flight? Light and compact, this carry-on will carry their coffee or small water bottle AND charge their phone!

Buy from Amazon.com

I’m kind of in love with this one. Traveling alone with a cup of coffee and need to use the bathroom? No problem. Standing in line forever and tired of holding a drink? Problem solved. No free outlets to charge your dying phone? Consider it handled.

Pros of Wrangler Hardside Carry-On

  • 8 colors
  • USB port with phone holder
  • Cup holder
  • Multi-directional spinner wheels
  • Lightweight
  • Expandable

Cons of Wrangler Hardside Carry-On

  • Some colors only available in a 2-piece or 3-piece set
  • Wheels could be better
American Tourister 18" Softside Underseater

American Tourister has this great underseater option that's slightly smaller than typical carry-ons.

Buy from Amazon.com

Pros of American Tourister Softside Underseater

  • Fits under airline seats, including Spirit and Frontier
  • Trusted brand
  • Lightweight
  • 3 colors: black/gray, teal, pink
  • Inline wheels and completely retractable handle

Cons of American Tourister Softside Underseater

  • Only 2 wheels
Coolife 20" Hardside Carry On

My family really likes Coolife luggage. I love the extra compartment on the front of this hardshell spinner!

Buy from Amazon.com

Pros of Coolife Hardside Spinner

  • Double TSA lock
  • 6 colors
  • Sold separately or as a set of 2
  • Easy access front compartment

Cons of Coolife Hardside Spinner

  • Handle sometimes jams
  • Carry-on is 20 inches, smaller than other carry-on options
Lily Bloom 22" Wheeled Duffel Carry On

Have an environmentally-conscious teen? This Lily Bloom bag is made from recycled plastic bottles. And it's a rolling duffle that doubles as a carry-on!

Buy from Amazon.com

Pros of Lily Bloom Wheeled Duffel

  • Sustainable, eco-friendly brand with 5-year warranty
  • 17 colorful patterns
  • High quality
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Fits in most overhead compartments

Cons of Lily Bloom Wheeled Duffel

  • More expensive than other duffels
  • Zipper won’t close if bag is overstuffed
Samsonite 17" Underseat Carry-On

A softside underseater from Samsonite, a trusted brand, that includes a built-in USB port.

Buy from Amazon.com

Pros of Samsonite Underseat Spinner

  • Fits under most airline seats
  • Sleeve on back slides over handles of upright luggage
  • Multiple interior and exterior pockets
  • USB port (charger not included)
  • Ergonomic handle
  • 360 degree spinner wheels
  • 3 colors

Cons of Samsonite Underseat Spinner

  • May not fit under all airline seats
  • No bright color options

READ MORE >>> 43 Best Cute Backpacks for College Students

Jennifer Kunz with her family at their favorite vacation spot

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