In Part 1 of our Airplane Travel with Baby series we looked at some useful travel advice from parenting expert Elizabeth Pantley about planning your family holiday and making sure you’ve thought of everything in advance. In this article we’ll look at what you need to pack in your carry-on and baby changing bag.
Packing your carry-on
The right carry-on bag can be a lifesaver. Make sure that your bag is easy to lift or roll, and that it falls within the airline’s size limitations. Pack an organized bag that carries:
- Lots of nappies. Plan for an unexpected layover or delay.
- A baby blanket, which is good for multiple uses.
- A nappy-changing pad in case you end up changing your baby on the floor or on a dirty changing table.
- Plenty of snacks. Often the only snacks on airplanes are peanuts, which are a major choking hazard for babies. Also, snacks are a great distraction for a bored or antsy child. Even if you’ve ordered a child’s meal, it might show up when your child is asleep or isn’t hungry, or your child may not like the menu. A few ideas for easy-to-tote snacks include:
- Baby food
- Dry cereal
- Bread or rolls
- Dried fruit
- Drinks. Bring along favorites in a sippy cup, drink-box, or bottle. You may even want to pack these in a soft lunchbox cooler.
- Infant pain reliever in case of ear pain or other discomfort. (But don’t try anything new; make sure it’s something your baby has tolerated well already.)
- Lots of new toys, or old favorites that have been hidden for a few weeks. Avoid noisy toys that will annoy fellow passengers.
- Great travel toys include:
- Crayons and a small pad or sticky notes
- Stickers and sticker books (Sticker books have the advantage here; their stickers are reusable if stuck on their specially surfaced pages, whereas a sticker placed on paper is there for good — which is fine, too, but a sticker book prolongs the activity.)
- Building toys like Legos TM or Duplos TM
- Tiny plastic animals, cars, or dolls
- Playing cards (Go Fish or other games that feature interesting cards)
- Tape or CD player with kid music or books on tape
- Extra pacifiers, or your baby’s lovey, special blanket, or toy
- A book, magazine, or activity for you when baby is sleeping or playing, should you be lucky enough for that to occur!
- A small medical kit with bandages
- Wet wipes for nappy changes and cleaning baby’s hands and face
- Empty plastic bags for soiled diapers
- If your baby uses a bottle, bring several. It’s usually easier to take along premeasured powdered formula and small bottles of water for mixing.
- A complete change of clothes for baby and an extra shirt for you (spitup and spills happen).
- Toothbrush and toothpaste for unexpected layovers.
- If you’re traveling as two adults with two children, divide up the children’s supplies into two separate bags in case your seats are separated on the airplane.
- Consider packing toys in a small child’s backpack for any child old enough to carry one.
[box][Editor’s note: Trunki’s Go Vinci (pictured above) is absolutely brilliant for young children – it’s a doodle-pad and carry case all in one, and is just perfect for toting your child’s airplane toys and sticker books.[/box]
- A small belt-bag is handy for tickets, ID, and cash. Wear it on the front of your body, not the back.
- Test your bag in advance to be sure it’s not too heavy!
The night before the trip
- Get a good night’s sleep so that you can be more relaxed during your trip.
- Pack all of your bags and put them in the car or near the front door so you’re not scrambling when it’s time to leave.
- Review your checklists.
Next in the series are Elizabeth Pantley’s tips on what to do at the airport, and how to make your time on the airplane less stressful.
About Greatvine Consultant Elizabeth Pantley:
Elizabeth is USA-based parenting educator and president of Better Beginnings Inc, an American family resource and education company. Her No-Cry parenting book series achived worldwide recognition and won Amazon’s Best of Parenting Award in 2005 and 2007. Elizabeth lives with her husband and four children in Washington, and can offer expert advice through Greatvine.
[button link=http://www.greatvine.com/elizabeth-pantley]Click for more expert advice from Elizabeth Pantley[/button]