The Best Backpacks For Traveling With Toddlers
Traveling with toddlers isn’t always a walk in the park, so finding the right backpack to bring along can make your day go a little smoother. The best backpacks for traveling with toddlers features plenty of pockets to fit your parenting needs, and you can even snag one that adds a touch of style to your look. If your toddlers are anything like mine, the right mom backpack has to have enough room to stash their essential items, like toys, coloring supplies, tablets, changes of clothes, blankets, and snacks. So many snacks. It should also have enough room to hold your essentials — like phone, sunnies, lip balm, wallet, and hand sanitizer, too.
Now, if you’re going to get yourself a stylish new mom backpack, you better believe that your toddler is going to want a backpack of their very own, which ends up being a pretty convenient way to take some of the load off your shoulders (literally and figuratively speaking).
For your shopping convenience, this list includes both backpacks for you to wear, as well as ones for your child to carry — don’t worry, we’ve got you covered from all angles.
What To Consider When Shopping For The Best Backpacks For Traveling With Toddlers
Like your favorite dress, it’s absolutely the pockets that make certain backpacks essential companions for traveling with toddlers; generally, the more pockets, the better, and you’ll want a mix of both internal pockets for organization and external pockets for easy access. Extra features you may appreciate while trekking through an airport include a luggage strap or trolley sleeve for sliding the backpack onto your rolling suitcase, insulated pockets for snacks, or a laptop sleeve for working on the go.
No matter what, you’ll want a backpack that feels lightweight and easy to carry. But for air travel, you’ll want to keep in mind carry-on bag requirements. Size restrictions vary by airline but know that if you’re toting a backpack as your personal item in addition to a carry-on, the most limiting restriction (on United Airlines) says it can’t be bigger than 17 inches long by 10 inches wide by 9 inches high; most domestic airlines offer an 18-inch-long limit.
As for the travel backpack your toddler will carry on their own, size matters too. If the bag is too large and too heavy when it’s packed to the brim, your kiddo might topple over, which is not an ideal scenario when moving through your travel day. If the bag is too small, however, there might not be enough room to hold the important items, like that one favorite lovey. Your best bet is to purchase a medium-sized backpack that your kid will be excited to wear (like our picks below) — and maybe even let them help pick out their favorite color or design to really seal the deal.
Scroll ahead for the best backpacks for traveling with toddlers — both for you and LO.
In a hurry? Here are our top picks for the best backpacks for traveling with toddlers.
1. The Fan-Favorite Travel Backpack: YOREPEK Travel Backpack
2. The Chic, Splurge-Worthy Backpack: Petunia Pickle Bottom Axis Backpack
3. The Cult-Fave Toddler Backpack: VASCHY Kids Backpack
4. The Coolest Toddler Backpack: White Dolphin Toys Busy Board Toddler Backpack
5. The Most Durable Toddler Backpack: Osprey Tempest Hiking Backpack
The Best Travel Backpack For Parents
A Faux Leather Backpack For A Classic Look
Who says mom backpacks can’t be super stylish? This faux leather backpack has a timeless look and plenty of practical pockets, both inside the bag and on the outside; it fits a 14-inch laptop in the main compartment and features four interior pockets and a zippered pocket while the exterior offers two side pockets (think water bottles) and four zippered pockets, including one on the backside. The bag is lightweight and practical for travel and for everyday use, and the dual-zippered main opening makes accessing your stuff easy. It also comes with a shoulder strap to change up how you carry it. Plus, it’s conveniently waterproof, so it’ll look good trip after trip.
Helpful Review: “Great quality, fabulous space and SUPER CUTE!!! Gonna be perfect for traveling! Love all the pockets!”
Available Sizes: Medium: 12.5 x 5.5 x 14 inches (L x W x H); Also available in Small | Available Colors: 27
A Boxy Backpack With So Many Smart Travel Features
If you prefer the option of a bag that can open like a backpack or a suitcase, this one is going to bring you lots of joy. The pockets and roomy interior make this carry-on backpack a great choice for traveling with little kiddos. Not only is there ample space for carrying clothes, toys, and more, the bag also has a built-in compartment that fits up to 14-inch laptops, along with a USB port that allows you to use your own power bank to charge your phone. The backpack is waterproof, which is a must when you’re traveling simultaneously with toddlers and expensive devices. And you’ll also appreciate the built-in wet bag pocket for containing messes as well as the shoe storage pocket. A trolley sleeve on the back of the bag lets you attach it to the handle of a suitcase for hands-free transport. The bag comes in medium, large and extra-large, and even the largest version is airline approved.
Helpful Review: “I travel often along with my two toddlers. This bag has been perfect, as it holds SO MUCH, has so many compartments, is comfortable, durable, and travels easily. It has been great for long plane rides and running all around Europe.”
Available Sizes: Large: 11.81 x 7.87 x 16.93 inches (L x W x H); Also available in medium, extra-large | Available Colors: 20
Writer’s Choice: This Roomy Backpack With Over 31,000 5-Star Ratings
I have this travel backpack and use it when I’m flying with my kids. It’s perfect for when I’m checking a bag that may or may not be over the weight limit and I get that universal feeling of “Oh sh*t, now I need to take stuff out and shove it somewhere else.” Over 20 pockets allow for more than enough space in this backpack to shove all the extra things. Luggage straps on the back make it convenient to place over the handle of a suitcase, and a 17-inch laptop holder, USB port, and a hole for earphones makes it a great choice for traveling with your tech. This water-resistant pick may not be the most stylish backpack on the list, but you guys, it totally makes traveling with toddlers less stressful (if that’s even possible). Other nice features: a keychain and a hook for sunglasses or pens.
Helpful Review: “We bought two of these — one for my husband to use daily at work and one for me to take when I travel with our toddler. We’ve both been extremely happy with them. They’re strong, have lots of pockets, and are really useful. Would definitely buy again.”
Available Sizes: 18 x 6.5 x 13.5 inches (L x W x H); Also available in a larger size | Available Colors: 7
This Chic Backpack Worth The Splurge For Travel & Everyday Life
Not only is this chic backpack one that you can take to a work meeting, lunch date, or shopping trip without looking like you just walked out of a Gymboree class, it is also spacious enough to carry toddler essentials for on-the-go parents — whether you’re traveling or just heading out for the day. A separate, insulated bottom compartment can hold food, beverages, etc. You can opt to purchase the Inter-Mix system separately to keep things extra organized (it fits in the bottom compartment), especially if your toddler is wearing diapers. Parents love this backpack as an everyday diaper bag, too, and it comes with a washable changing pad. The straps are cushioned and won’t dig into your shoulders, and the water-resistant backpack has multiple carrying options. It’s easy to clean out, and it wipes down beautifully, which is imperative for life with toddlers. You know how it goes. Another perk of this bag: it has D-rings on top for attaching to a stroller, which will come in handy wherever your travels take you.
Helpful Review: “I cannot praise this diaper bag enough! It’s awesome for trips and perfect for life with a toddler. The intermix system is a must with this bag. It’s easy to organize and keep organized, and the straps are very comfortable.”
Available Sizes: 14 x 6 x 12 inches (L x W x H) | Available Colors: 4
A Tech-Friendly Backpack With An Anti-Theft Password Lock
This travel backpack has a spot for you to charge your phone or a tablet with your own power bank, ensuring that your device will never be dead when you need to pull it out to entertain the kids. (No shame, we’ve all been there.) It can impressively hold up to a 15.6-inch laptop, tablets, an umbrella, activities for the kids, clothes, snacks, water bottles on the sides, and so much more. To protect your things, the bag has a fixed password lock on an anti-theft pocket that’ll hopefully prevent someone from sneaking inside while you’re preoccupied. And by “someone,” I mean your adorable little child who’s ready for screen time before you are.
Helpful Review: “I purchased this backpack for a trip to Disney. I love it. It has lots of pockets to hold all my essentials for the trip.”
Available Sizes: 12 x 7.5 x 16 inches (L x W x H) | Available Colors: 16
The Best Toddler Backpacks For Traveling
An Excellent Starter Backpack For Traveling Toddlers
This mini backpack with a friendly dino design is a no-brainer for a traveling toddler. The zippered main compartment stows their favorite toys, and the mesh side pocket holds a matching water bottle or juice box. The detachable tether is an option for making sure your kiddo doesn’t get lost in a crowd, and the stay-put straps across the chest help your toddler keep the backpack securely on. There’s a spot on the inside to write your toddler’s name, too.
Helpful Review: “This was perfect for traveling with a toddler. Allowed him to carry a few things and allowed him to be able to walk in the airport and I could still keep him close without the struggle of holding his hand. The size was perfect and he enjoyed having some independence.”
Available Sizes: 9 x 3.25 x 7.5 inches (L x W x H); Also available in larger version for older toddlers | Available Designs: Butterfly; Dog; Unicorn; Fox
A Larger Cult-Fave Backpack That Can Be Used For School & Travel
This larger backpack is a great option if you need your toddler to actually carry some of their essentials, not just toys, or you want to use the backpack for school or longer trips. It comes in several fun designs that transition well from toddlerhood to preschool — from dinos to flamingos to pineapples to abstract designs — and it’s a perennial fave with shoppers, maintaining an impressive near-perfect rating after 9,000 Amazon reviews. A main compartment and a front pocket both have extra long pullers on the zippers, making them easy to open for little fingers. A side pocket can hold a water bottle, and it has a stitched-in name tag.
Helpful Review: “This is the perfect size backpack for toddlers and daycare. I think it’s a little small for elementary school, but it fits my 2 year old perfectly with extra clothes and her lunchbox for daycare. I love the interior pocket, the outside drink pockets, and the outside zipper pocket. It holds quite a bit of stuff for being able to still fit on a toddler’s back!”
Available Sizes: 11 x 4.3 x 14.5 inches (L x W x H); Also available in a larger size | Available Designs: 13
This Kid-Friendly Backpack That Comes In Several Design Options
If you have a toddler who is obsessed with cars, dinosaurs, construction trucks, animals, space, or sports (you know, classic toddler hobbies), this is the backpack to get. It has an insulated front pouch that can hold a small ice pack and a snack pack, which is perfect if you don’t want to add more weight with a lunch box; a side pouch for a water bottle; and a large interior compartment.
Helpful Review: “This back pack was the perfect size for my 3-year-old. The insulated pocket on the front is a nice touch, and the straps adjust easily. There is a large tag inside the bag for child’s name, which I love.”
Available Sizes: 12 x 7.5 x 10.5 inches (L x W x H) | Available Designs: 17
A Unique Busy Board Backpack
This busy board backpack builds the travel toys right into the backpack. Yep, it takes your kiddo’s favorite busy board concept and applies it to the outside of this mini backpack while allowing them to carry other stuff inside the bag. Playing with those sensory toys, including buttons and buckles, will engage your toddler’s fine motor skills and, well, keep them busy while you deal with the details of traveling. The shoulder straps are decorated with attractive numbers and shapes, and inside the zippered main compartment you can fit a water bottle, books, snacks, and other toys. Nearly 2,000 shoppers give this pick a perfect five stars.
Helpful Review: “This bag is the perfect size. Bought this for the airplane for our 18 month old. Big enough to hold her tablet and headphones plus a few books and other small toys. Not only is it cute, but the bag itself is useful and a toy. Everything kept her distracted and contented throughout a 12 hour travel day. Held up well, super cute. Price was perfect. Highly recommend.”
Available Sizes: 9 x 3.9 x 11 inches (L x W x H) | Available Designs: 2
A Sportier Backpack To Invest In For Years Of Use
Whether your child needs a backpack for airplane rides, weekend trips, or to simply carry their toys when you go out to dinner, this travel backpack made of durable ripstop nylon is a great option to invest in for the years to come. It has an internal padded compartment for a laptop or tablet and plenty of room inside for your toddler’s favorite things. The shoulder straps are padded with optional buckles to keep the bag in place, which can be a huge help if backpacks tend to fall off your kiddo’s shoulders. If you plan on using it for outdoor adventures as well as travel, the bag has a bike helmet attachment and an attachment for a small light. A water bottle fits right into the side pocket.
Helpful Review: “This bag has a lot of great space to put tablets, change of clothes, crayons, and coloring books, along with water and snacks. Worked perfectly for my 3.5 old on a recent international trip. She was able to carry her day bag through the airport, and it tucked under the airplane seat easily.”
Available Sizes: 6.69 x 9.84 x 15.35 inches (L x W x H) | Available Colors: 2
Great To Have: This Machine Washable 3-In-1 Ergonomic Carrier
This toddler carrier isn’t technically a backpack, but if your toddler often refuses to walk (or life is just easier when they take a break from walking), it’s a must-have for traveling, especially if you want to ditch the stroller. It features adjustable shoulder straps as well as adjustable side panels for comfortable hip positioning. This carrier is the perfect size for toddlers who have outgrown a baby carrier.
Helpful Review: “Exactly what we needed. My only regret is not buying it sooner! This was great for running around the airport with my 3-year-old son and for taking him on hikes. My kiddo loves to ride in it and was comfy enough to nap in it while we were on the trails.”
Weight limit: Up to 60 pounds | Available Designs: 7