Travel Checklist For Kids: What To Carry On the Plane

Forget packing a small tote with a book and a couple of mags. Flying with kids is much more complicated and requires significant skill and forethought. But it's easy if you know how. Don't start your holiday off with urine soaked pants and a cold wailing child on your lap. Here are some essential travel tips for how to pack your carry on luggage when traveling with kids. 

  • All the critical and important travel documents. [For a comprehensive list of all the important travel documents you should always have when traveling with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.
  • If your child has a different surname to you carry an original of the birth certificate with his or her passport. Even in countries like Australia and the United States they can refuse you admittance (or departure) without it. 
  • Count how many nappies you think you will need, then double it. You never know when you will be delayed and not all airports or airlines carry nappies. Same with wet wipes. 
  • If your child is only recently toilet trained, put them in a nappy for the flight. It's awkward trying to explain a soaking seat to the hostess. 
  • Always have a full spare change of clothes for younger children and infants. A wet child for a long haul flight is not fun for anyone. 
  • Always have a spare change of clothes for yourself (for the same reasons as above).
  • Plastic bags to bring home all the wet clothes. 
  • You need your hands for security checks and passports and tickets so baby carriers are invaluable in airports, even if you have a stroller. 
  • If you are bringing baby's milk, ensure that it is properly wrapped in plastic bags (to avoid spillage) and that you have plenty of it (in the case of delays). Frozen breast milk or pre-made milk bottles should not be carried with you onboard. To find out how to you can transport frozen milk on the plane, click here
  • Carry as much food as you can. Childrens’ airline meals are usually full of junk such as crisps, chocolates and processed sweet drinks best not shown to kids if you can help it. This will also insure you against hungry tummies if there are any delays. For some suggestions of travel-friendly foods, click here
  • Sweets that little ones can suck on are particularly useful during take-off and landing to prevent "popping" ears during pressurisation. Plus the good behavior that can come with an enticing promise of a reward sweet makes flying with kids that much easier.  
  • Carry snacks for yourself too, especially if you are travelling as the sole adult. There is every chance you will miss your meal while trying to feed the kids, so a museli bar or something you can rip open and eat with one hand will be invaluable. [For more tips on travelling solo with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
  • Be strategic about which toys to bring onboard. Tiny things that are easily dropped and can roll away are not a good idea. Similarly precious, irreplaceable toys that may get lost probably shouldn't come onboard. Also be strategic about when you produce them. They are going to need to last you the whole flight. For a list of travel-friendly toy ideas, click here
  • Pack some Blu-Tack or double sided tape. This is useful for sticking light swaddles to the wall to drape over the bassinet to protect baby from light and other inquisitive passengers, but you should test it at home first to ensure the tape can take the weight of your swaddle.
  • A devil-may-care attitude. People are going to give you hostile looks, no matter how well behaved your kids are. Some people might even refuse to sit next to you. Remember – the worst that can happen is the baby cries. At least you will get a holiday out of it. 

For more handy hints for travelling with kids, read the suitcases&strollers Travelling Tips