Traveling with children doesn’t mean you have to squeeze the whole nursery into your diaper bag. (Not like I have any experience doing that…) The key to flying with kids is being strategic with your packing and planning. You should bring just what you’ll need for you and baby. There’s nothing cute about lugging around a 10 pound backpack with a 10 pound baby in your carrier! (Again, not like I would know anything about that… )
Check out this list of necessities that will get you through the plane ride and won’t break your back.
And for tips on flying, read my 21 tips for flying with kids in 2021 post.
- Separate bags: Compartmentalize as much as you can. Get clear or mesh bags and put like items together for easy grabbing during the flight.
- Snacks for kids AND you: Try snacks like goldfish, popcorn, sliced banana, string cheese, grapes, cheerios, or granola bars for kids. Add sweets like lollipops and gummy bears for a treat. Milk and juice ARE allowed in carry-on baggage—but it will get tested in Security. Throw in some protein bars, trail mix, pretzels, or bananas for you.
- Bottles of milk/formula: You are allowed to bring breast milk or formula on your carry-on, but they will be tested in Security. Bring a least one extra bottle just in case of a delay.
- Pacifier if they use one, for takeoff and landing: Clip it on them or bring an extra just in case. Check these out if you’re looking for a great pacifier for the plane.
- 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.
- Extra outfits and socks: One extra outfit for each kid (one-piece outfits if you can), and an extra shirt for you.
- Toys: Bring a couple of their favorites and 1 or 2 new toys. Books, window stickers, busy boards, magnets, water wow or coloring books all work. Check out my list of the best toys to bring on the plane.
- Tablet, headphones, and charger: Load it up with movies/tv shows and charge it beforehand. Download the airlines app on it too. If you’re looking for a tablet, check the Fire out.
- Medicine bag: Tylenol/Motrin, diaper rash ointment, travel thermometer, nasal aspirator and saline drops, antibiotic cream, gas relief drops, bandages, and lotion.
- 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.
- Hand sanitizer: Bring a travel size for your carry-on and add a bigger one in your luggage to keep where you’re staying.
- Disinfectant wipes: Wipe down everything in your seating area—arm rest, tray table, window and shade, and seat belt. If you use the bathroom, do the same to the changing table and sink area.
- Extra masks for everyone: Bring a couple of extra for each person. If your little ones are still getting used to them, bring more and a couple of different types. This dinosaur mask is the only one my kid wears consistently.
…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.
- Toiletries: Throw in a travel size moisturizer to dab on during the flight, lip balm, a nice smelling lotion, a hair tie, and some gum.
- Portable pump if you have one (read my review on the Willow pump): If you don’t want to nurse on board or are pumping exclusively, bring it in a tote or try to fit it in your diaper bag. Don’t forget the bottle or bag to put the milk in once you’re done.
- Walking shoes (consider compression socks for a longer flight): A pair that are comfy and can be easily slipped on and off.
- An extra layer like a cozy cardigan: Your temperature will change throughout your travels, so wear layers. Pick something that you can tie around your waist when you get warm.
- Pants that are easy to move around in: Leggings or joggers are comfy and cute.
- Baby carrier: A must when traveling with small babies! If you’re looking for a great carrier, try this one made by Ergobaby.
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!
What are your must have plane items? Let me know in the comments!