Traveling with small kids is overwhelming for new moms especially those who are traveling alone with one kid for the first-time or more than one kid, newborn baby, a lap child, toddler or a teenager – no matter what age they are at – packing for kids is a lot of work.
When you have big kids more than 5 years of age they can carry their own backpacks and toys, or pack basic travel essentials for their flight. However, if you have little ones under 4 years of age and you are traveling all by yourself then packing needs too much planning.
Regardless of what your destination is, or how long your trip is going to be, you definitely need basic essentials in your carry-on while traveling with or without kids.
In the US, airlines charge for a carry on bag for domestic flights unless you are an exclusive member of an airline. Whereas, the international flights allow you to carry two check-in bags and one carry on along with a laptop bag or a handbag.
If you are flying alone with kids, then you need to be very specific about the stuff that you have to take on the plane since you do not want to overpack.
Traveling during this pandemic seems quite daunting at so many levels. If you are planning your trip with kids, make sure you take the right measures. Most of the people stayed home and didn’t go out because of the virus, consequently, the immunity we develop every day (under normal circumstances), has gone too low. Lack of immunity means more chances to fall sick.
That being said, when you are exposed to more people outside, it may or may not affect you. Travel only if necessary. If it is a leisure trip, do not plan for crowded destinations for a while.
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Carry-on bag Essentials for moms flying with babies and toddlers
When you have to travel you cannot skip anything that is essential while on the plane. Also, you need to have a minimalist approach as you do not want to pack on everything that you have to carry all by yourself – everywhere you go.
This post is typically to help moms with two kids under 2 years of age or traveling with a lap child and a toddler.
First thing first, you need a Backpack – light, sturdy, and spacious. As kids stuff is a lot to adjust in one backpack, It shouldn’t be heavy, and it should be sturdy to handle all the extra weight.
2. Ziplock bags
Another must-have item is TSA approved clear travel bags you need to put stuff for easy recognition or staying organized for easy access.
Your packing has to be super organized and easily accessible so you can enjoy traveling with your family, without having any delays for the TSA security scan.
Using Ziploc bags instead is another way to keep things organized in your bag. Just make sure they are sealed properly, so things don’t spill out in your bag.
3. Organize diapers and wipes in a separate ziploc bag
Diapers – Decide diapers based on your own judgment. Keep a couple of extra diapers if you are on a very long flight, or sometimes kids get diarrhea if they pick anything from the floor and eat it or put toys in their mouths.
Wipes – You do not need a full pack of wipes for flight. Keep it light and use a travel pack based on your judgment on how much you are going to need. However, do not forget to keep separate wipes for your trip in your luggage.
- Diaper changing sheets either Disposable or regular changing sheet
- Diaper disposing sacks – keep about 15 to 20 bags or more in your carry on for diaper
disposal or soiled clothes.
- travel size diaper balm.
Organize all of these changing station essentials in a freezer size Ziploc and put it in your backpack.
Update: I just had a long vacation with kids and we had to take about 5 flights in about 15 days. It was crazy, yet fun! I had experienced a few TSA security delays. Every time it was something different.
Let me tell you what were those delays all about.
In order to avoid delays, do not forget to take out baby wipes and put them in the tray.
One more thing that was different this time was diaper rash cream. In a couple of security scans, diaper rash cream was concerning for them.
Finally, if you have kids snacks, baby food, packaged yogurt, make sure you take it out and put it in the tray to save time and easy scan.
4. An Extra outfit
An extra outfit for your baby and an extra shirt for your self. If you have long flight hours like international flights then you might want to keep a full extra outfit for yourself too.
Staying comfy in your clothes is the best you can do for yourself and your kids while on the plane.
Just a gentle reminder: If you are going to wear a backpack or hold a baby on a flight, do not wear too many layers. You might get too exhausted or uncomfortable with so many layers on.
5. Feeding essentials
You need to have baby feeding bottles, either ready to use (for newborn babies) or formula bottles. You have to make sure all ready to use bottles have to be sealed.
Although airlines do not allow carrying liquids on a plane more than 100ml, still you can take baby formula milk and get everything scanned.
You can get on the plane. You can get water from the airport after a security check. Even if you need warm water, you can always check from Starbucks or any food near your gate at the airport.
If you have kids aged more than 2 years, it depends on what they eat while on the plane, depending on their preferences.
You can take chips, cookies or sandwiches with you on a domestic flight.
For international flights, you can order kids’ meals. Check with your airline and see what they offer for kids.
For toddlers or babies more than 6 months you can have packaged baby food – apple
In order to keep kids entertained the whole time, you must keep variety of candies and snacks like lollypops, goldfish, gummy bears, sour patch, fruit loops, etc. with you.
Have your kids’ food packed in a Ziploc bag, and once the security scan starts, do not forget to take everything out. There is quite a chance they might have to dig through all of your food to make sure it is not concerning in any way for air travel.
If you have a whole milk bottle for the baby, make sure it is not in the packaged bottle as it is not going to be okay if there is a plastic layer on the bottle. Although it doesn’t really matter, it is just a milk bottle, but it will be much easier if you know what to do when you have to save time and stress.
Ideally, it will be much easier if you have milk in a baby’s milk bottle instead of a packaged one.
6. Kids medicines
These medicines are must for your flight, short or long, you have to carry these in your carry on.
- Saline drops to deal with a dry nose for babies and toddlers.
- Motion sickness medicine for kids – Dramamine
- Benadryl for nausea as advised by pediatrician.
- Hand sanitizer for frequent hand cleaning.
- Disinfecting wipes if anything falls down.
You must discuss every medicine for your kids with your child’s pediatrician.
Update: Do not forget to take medicines out of your bag before security scans for more convenient TSA checks.
7. Face Masks
We all know how essential is a face mask for us during this pandemic. When you are traveling with kids or alone, you must carry a face mask with you. However, CDC does not recommend a facial covering for kids younger than 2-year-old as they may not be able to remove it without assistance. While you are traveling with kids, make sure you take the right measures and sanitize everything responsibly.
If you are traveling with an infant, a car seat cover is a good alternative to protect your child from getting sick. Also, you can use it as a nursing cover.
8. Plane friendly toys
You have to carry some easy, lightweight, and fun toys for kids to keep them engaged. Make sure you visit the dollar store a couple of days before your flight and grab whatever you think your kids gonna enjoy while on the flight. Do not take too many, just a few, and give your child one at a time.
My son loves cars and he loves to play with 4 to 5 small cars at a time. For travel, hot wheel cars pack or matchbox cars pack does the trick every-time. Do not forget to keep a sanitizing spray to keep toys clean.
For international flights, I highly recommend Qatar Airways. I had a very comfortable flight with my kids. The airline is going to provide you with everything.
9. Blankets for long domestic flights
For long domestic flights, and during cold weather, the best thing is to take kids blankets in your carry on essentials. Although it highly depends on the kids’ age still if you have two kids under 3 years of age, you need to take everything two in number. One for each.
Even though international flights may offer blankets during the flight, so you do not need to carry an extra blanket in carry-on bags. However, if you still want to, you may carry kids’ lovey blankets with you.
Check out this space-saving blanket perfect for air travel.
No matter you are going to use everything for kids or not, you still have to carry their essentials with you, regardless.