A friend recently asked what I pack in my carry-on when traveling with my toddler. I gladly spouted off my favorite carry-on items, but just as important as what you pack is what you pack in. A carry-on bag with several easily accessible pockets is essential for finding things when you need them. This list may seem long, but many of its components are small and pack painlessly; and with any luck you won’t need some of them – like the extra clothes for you and kiddo in case of vomit/blowout. To make things more manageable I generally stick a diaper or two and a pack of wipes in the seat back pocket, along with a few snacks and water bottle, my phone (apps!) and some paperback books right when we get on the plane. You can worry about pulling out other items as you need them. A printable PDF version of this list (sans commentary) is available via the link at the bottom of the post.
- Documents (tickets, passports, birth certificate, insurance cards, etc.)
- Toiletries (your own plus any special soaps for kiddo.)
- Diapers (I read somewhere to pack one diaper per hour of flight, and I generally stick to this rule. I have never needed that many, but better to be safe than sorry!)
- Wipes (I usually buy a new pack for each flight.)
- Spare clothes for toddler (in case of bathroom mishaps or air sickness.)
- Spare clothes for parent (for the same reason listed above.)
- Plastic or wet bag (for the same reason listed above.)
- Food (lots of snacks: raisins in the mini boxes, suckers, and Goldfish crackers. Depending on how long the flight is I may even pack a sandwich since B is super picky and doesn’t usually eat the airplane food.)
- First aid kit (with Band Aids, Neosporin, and Tylenol etc. Not all airplanes are well stocked with these items – a friend’s daughter cut her head when a bit of turbulence hit while walking in the aisles (she ended up needing stitches!) and the staff had nothing but antiseptic wipes.)
- Non-spill water bottle (to be filled once through security or on board.)
- Tablet or phone – with videos (we like Chuggington and Jungle Junction episodes) and apps (we like Seek & Finds, Bubble Pop, Lego Duplo Trains, Preschool Prep apps and Little Critter interactive books.)
- Chargers (for aforementioned electronics.)
- Actual books (I try to buy a couple new paperbacks to stuff in my bag, generally with lots of pictures or on a topic B is interested in at the time.)
- Toys (I don’t bring too many, maybe 3 or 4 new little toys to pull out one at a time, these tend to get lost and don’t hold B’s attention as long as books, apps or stickers.)
- Lots of stickers.
- Blanket or lovey (I pack both.)
- CARES harness (even if you aren’t buying a seat for your kid – it isn’t required until the age of 2 – there’s always a chance the plane won’t be full and this thing takes up very little space.)
- Crayons and paper or a Magnadoodle (if you opt for crayons, choose the kind that don’t roll, made that mistake once.)
Download printable list by clicking here: Carry-On Packing List – Toddler Version
What do you pack? Leave it in the comments below!