Most parents are overwhelmed with the idea of traveling with a toddler. I know I have! The first time we traveled with Luna, I was overwhelmed not knowing what to pack and what I was comfortable leaving behind. If I could, I would pack her whole bedroom!
We’ve traveled a few times with Luna since she was born. The first time was when she was 10.5 months old as we took her on a 6 hour airplane ride to Mexico. We did the same trip the year after when she was 1 year old. Then last year at the age of 2, we took her on a 12 hour plane ride to the Philippines. To my surprise, all 3 trips turned out a lot easier than I thought.
Most people always wonder what to pack on a long airplane ride. I wondered that myself and wasn’t quite sure what I needed to bring. But here’s a list of what has worked for us that I thought I would share with you.
What to pack in your hand carry:
Wet wipes. You can never have enough of these. I like to wipe the seat handles, tables, windows & walls (if you have the window seat) and anything I know Luna would touch. People stare at me as I do this but imagine all the germs that stay on the plane!
Hand sanitizer. When you’re traveling with a baby or a toddler, you’re allowed to bring liquids. Just squeeze a bit on your wet wipes and start cleaning away. Get rid of those germs!
Clothes. If it’s a long overnight flight, I like to bring pajamas for Luna to change into when it’s time to sleep (so she knows it’s bedtime), extra socks, leggings, shirts & undies (or nappies). I usually like to bring a few of each and be prepared in case our luggage gets lost. At least she’ll have some clothes that will last for a couple days.
Stuffy & blankets. If it’s an overnight flight and your toddler sleeps with a stuffy, bring it along with a few thin blankets.
Lollipop. Great for take off and landing to help with ear pressure.
Snacks + drinks. I like to bring new snacks that Luna has never had and some extra special ones (chocolates etc) for tantrum emergencies. A small container of water and some juice. I particularly like those organic fruit juice mixed with vegetables. Happy tot is one of the brands out there but they come in a variety of different brands. These are great as they are easy to drink and pack.
iPad + headphones. Upload new games your toddler has never played before.
Activities/Toys. I like bringing an activity colouring book that includes stickers. But to be honest, I actually don’t bring a lot of toys especially small ones as they become a headache. You end up running after them as they roll down the isle and you’re constantly picking up crayons while your toddler continues to drop them on the floor as he/she colours.
Medicine. I like to be self sufficient and be prepared in case illness suddenly happens while on the plane. I bring kids advil, diarrhea medicine, thermometer and band aid. Put them in ziplock bags.
Hope the list above helps. We also have a fantastic Maclaren Techno XT stroller that we love and always take with us when traveling. I love how the seat reclines all the way flat like a bed and the hood extends all the way down. Luna would comfortably nap in it for hours while we would be out and about. I don’t like the idea of having to cut the day short running back to the hotel for nap time. So this is great as nap can happen anywhere.
Here’s the US Department of Homeland Security’s website with info of what you can bring when traveling with children.
PS: You might also be interested in reading an older post called Dining Out With A Toddler.