Kids Plane Packing List: Best Things to Bring for Babies and Toddlers (2023)

Need a kids plane packing list? I’ve been on countless flights with my sons and have mastered the art of packing for flights. I’ve compiled my list and want to share it with you! 

 

Traveling with kids doesn’t mean you have to squeeze the whole nursery into your diaper bag.  I say that because when I first flew with my son, everything seemed SO important and I just had to add it to the baby bag.

 

Boy, was I wrong!

 

The key to flying with babies and toddlers is being strategic with your packing and planning. You should only bring what you’ll actually need for you and the kids.

 

There’s nothing cute about lugging around a 10-pound backpack with a 10-pound baby in your carrier! (Not like I would know anything about that… )

 

After many flights with my kids, I learned exactly what I need to bring to get through the flight smoothly. And I’ve documented it for you below so you don’t have to go through the trial and error that I did!

 

I cut out all the extra, unneeded stuff and put together a list of necessities that will get you through the plane ride and won’t break your back.

Key Takeaways

  • Flying with kids doesn’t mean you need to bring loads of stuff on the plane – they key is to only bring the items you’ll actually use.
  • A few of the most important items to bring on a flight are diapers/wipes, bottles and/or snacks, toys and entertainment, and an extra outfit. 
  • There are options of how you carry everything around the airport. You can put everything in a backpack the parent carries, you can give the kids their own backpack, or you can bring a carry-on roller.  

Table of Contents

Kids Plane Packing List

Separate bags: Compartmentalize as much as you can. Get clear or mesh bags and put like items together for easy grabbing during the flight. I buy large Ziplock bags and add diapers and wipes in one bag, snacks in another, toys in another, etc. That way I didn’t have to fish through the whole bag in the cramped space.

Bottles of milk/formula: You are allowed to bring breast milk or formula on your carry-on, but they will be tested in Security. If you’re using bottles, bring a least one extra just in case of a delay.

Diapers and wipes: These take up a lot of room so just bring one diaper for every 1-2 hours of travel (not just the flight) and a travel pack of wipes. Don’t forget the mat too.

Pacifier if they use one, for takeoff and landing: Clip it on them or bring an extra just in case.  

Extra outfits and socks: One extra outfit for each kid (one-piece outfits if you can), and an extra shirt for you just in case.

Snacks for kids AND you: Some favorites are goldfish, string cheese, cut up fruit, and apple sauce pouches. Lollipops are good for a treat.  Water and juice ARE allowed in carry-on baggage—but it will get tested in Security.

Toys: Bring a couple of their favorite toys and 1 or 2 new toys for excitement. Window stickers, a busy board, fidget poppers, and small cars are my kids favorites. 

Tablet, headphones, and charger: Load up the tablet with movies/tv shows and charge it beforehand. Download the airlines app on it too – most of the major airlines have free entertainment on them while on the flight.

Travel pillow/blanket: A familiar blanket for the kids will make the plane more comfortable for them and throw in your travel pillow as well—especially if you’ll have baby sleeping on you.

Medicine bag: Add in whatever you will actually use. Mine included Tylenol/Motrin, diaper rash ointment, nasal aspirator, saline drops, antibiotic cream, gas relief drops, and bandages. And wouldn’t hurt to put in adult pain relievers in case of a sudden headache.

This one is optional, but I always felt better knowing I had these things with me.

 

…and don’t forget your stuff

Wallet: ID, cash, credit cards, insurance cards, travel insurance, etc.

Cell phone and charger: Download the airlines app so you can get flight info and entertainment, and your charger—a lot of the newer planes have charging outlets at the seats.

Empty water bottle: There are plenty of water stations all throughout airports now. Don’t buy the expensive water and just fill up your own water bottle after Security.

Headphones: When the kids are napping or being quiet, I listen to music or watch a movie on the airline’s app.  

Travel Bag Options

Parents Backpack

Up until my older son was about 4 and a half, I carried everything we needed in the baby backpack. Most kids don’t want to carry or pull something for too long. And I felt more in control having everything with me. I also didn’t have to worry about getting overhead space, which was one less thing to worry about.

So, one option is to bring everything in the parents backpack(s).

Carry-on Roller 

Another option is to have a small carry-on luggage. You can bring more stuff and you don’t have to actually carry it. There are also cool ones that kids can ride on too. The only issue is having to rely on overhead space. Also, unless you take everything out of the carry-on and put it in the seat pockets, you’ll have to continually go into the overhead space to get items.

Everyone Has Backpacks

Last option is to have kids bring their own backpacks or carry-on. All of their stuff would go in their own backpacks. Again, if they’re about 4-5 that can probably work. But many kids might get tired of holding it, or even worse forget it somewhere. But for the older toddlers, this might work. A plus is that your bag will be much lighter!

Fun Plane Toys / Activities

For Babies:

a fidget popper is a great addition to a kids plane packing list

PUSH POP BUBBLE FIDGET TOY

Bubble wrap, the toddler version. These come in different colors and shapes and are rows of tiny bubbles to pop. My kid told me he loves this toy 20 times while he played with it the first time!

whirly-squigz

WHIRLY SQUIGZ

Spinners with suctions to attach to the back of the tray table. This keeps a kid’s attention for a while.

innybin

INNYBIN

Bright and great for motor development, it comes with shapes of different textures that kids can pull in and out of the bin. Using it as a rattle is also a hit!

lift-a-flap-books

LIFT-A-FLAP BOOKS​

Extra thick and the perfect size for little hands, these books have cute rhymes and bright colors. My 1-year-old gets so excited to lift the flaps himself.

For Toddlers:

one of the best travel toys for toddlers and babies are gel window stickers

WINDOW STICKERS

Large gel stickers that come in all kinds of different shapes. Stick them on the window or on the tray table. You can use them a few times before they lose their stickiness.

push-pop

FIDGET POPPER​

Like popping bubble wrap in a baby version. You push on a bubble and it pops back. Every kid that sees this wants to play with it. Major crowd pleaser.

one of the best travel toys we have is a busy board

BUSY BOARD

A Montessori inspired sensory board, it has a wide range of levels from Velcro to buttons and buckles.

water-wow-book

WATER WOW BOOKS

Perfect for kids that are still learning how to color. These are reusable coloring pads that show color when they are wet. Kids just use the water pen to make the colors appear.

wikki-stix

WIKKI STIX

Pipe cleaners for kids. They bend into all kinds of shapes on their own, plus the pack comes with a activity book to use as stencils, and a connect-the-dots play packs.

⚠️ Want to see the full list of travel toys? 
Check it out here! 

Plane Snacks for Kids

I usually put snacks in their own small ziplock bags and then put them all in one big bag. I try not to bring anything too messy or smelly.

I also just bring snacks. We eat a full meal before and after our traveling.

If you’d like to bring a meal, you can fill up a meal container or Bento box with actual food. Just remember that these take up a lot of room though. This is our favorite Bento box.

 

My kid’s favorite snacks:

  • Goldfish
  • Veggie straws
  • Chips
  • String cheese
  • Granola bars
  • Beef jerky
  • Cut up fruit or veggies
  • Apple sauce pouches
  • Freeze-dried yogurt snacks
  • Baby biscuits
  • Cheerios
  • Treats like lollipops, gummy bears, cookies

FAQs: Kids Plane Packing List

What do you need to bring for kids flying?

If you’re flying with a lap infant, bring a copy of the baby’s birth certificate. Some airlines ask for it, and it doesn’t hurt to bring it just in case. Other than that, nothing is needed ID wise for the flight.

However, I would highly recommend bringing food and drinks, toys, and diapers and wipes at the minimum.

 

What keeps kids busy on a plane?

To put it simply, snacks, toys, and tablets keep kids busy on a plane. New toys work even better since they haven’t seen them before.

Busy boards, coloring books, puzzles, or other toys that require concentration are great at keeping kids busy too.

 

Do I need my child’s birth certificate to fly?

If you are flying with a lap infant, some airlines will ask to see a copy of their birth certificate. Some airlines ask, while others don’t, but it’s best to be safe and bring it.

Wrapping Up: Kids Plane Packing List

And most of all, bring your patience! 

Plan as much as you can and go with it. Eventually the plane will land and it’ll all be over!

 

Good luck on your flight!

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MEET BESA

Your Go-To Girl for Beach Travel

Hi! I’m Besa. I’ve always been a travel-loving beach bum… and then I had kids. Two boys, born 19 months apart. But I didn’t let that stop me. I still travel, even with a couple little boys in tow – and I want to help other parents like you do the same!

I’ll be sharing all my travel tips, beach hacks, and guides for some of my favorite family vacation beach spots.

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Besa has been a frequent traveler for almost 20 years, and the last five years of her travels have included her two toddler boys, 19 months apart.
Years of flying and beach bumming with her kids has given her plenty of hard-earned experience in the travel world.

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