What to bring in your carry-on, when traveling with kids


When traveling, I found there are certain items to keep on hand that can be handy. In my post, Flying Solo with Kids, I explain what type of bag I think is a must for all Moms traveling. Here are my top items to keep on hand. I also created a YouTube video with these items and tips.

  1. Baby wipes, extra napkins or tissues. This may seem obvious, but having some extra on hand are always a good idea in case of a spill, accident, or anything unforeseen happens.
  2. Lysol or sanitizing wipes. Sometimes, kids are gross. To try to keep germs at bay, it’s always a good idea to have these on hand to wipe down the armrests or tray tables on the plane. Also, good to have on hand in case # 3 happens. Full disclosure: this is something I forget EVERY trip. I always think of it as I’m observing my kid do something gross. But, hopefully you won’t.
  3. Plastic bags. These are easy to shove in the bottom of your carry-on. Gallon ziploc bags are also a good to have, in addition to the plastic bags. I’ve been through it all on planes….throw-up, diaper blow outs, accidents…you name it, I’ve probably had to deal with it. Having these on hand will help in all of those cases. Barf bags aren’t always in the seat pocket and, truth be told, they don’t work all that well when a toddler is projectile vomiting.
  4. Bottled water. I mentioned this on the Flying with Kids: from Start to Finish post. You cannot bring bottled water through security, so it will have to be purchased once you’re in the terminal. The air can get super dry in flight and having this on hand, without having to wait for the flight crew to get, while dealing with a thirsty kid is huge.
  5. Snacks. Another thing you’re like “Duh, obviously I’ll have snacks on me”. Well, sometimes when you’re doing a million things in preparation for the trip, you forget the obvious. Snacks that don’t make a ton of crumbs are always a good choice. I try to bring a variety of sweet and salty snacks. And, of course if you have more than one kid, the same amount and variety of snacks for each kid so they’re both not arguing over the same flavor of crackers.
  6. Tylenol. This is for you, but if you’d like to bring a kids option too, that’s great (just remember any liquids through security will have to be checked). I always carry a few of those sample size Tylenol packs for myself, in case a headache may arise.
  7. Back-up battery/charger for phone or tablet. There are always an abundance of plugs and charging stations in the airport. Once you get on the plane, there usually isn’t any top of USB or plug to charge up any devices that may need it. Good to have one of these on hand (fully-charged! I’ve traveled with one, just to find out I hadn’t charged it prior. 😦 ) Some cross country flights with newer planes may have these options, but it’s really not the norm at this point. The chargers are cheap and available at most stores or online.
  8. Headphones. This is for you and the kids. Our kids use the cheap over the head earphones from the Target dollar spot. They’re about $5 and come in different colors. If they break or are lost, you won’t care too much, since they’re only $5. Don’t forget them for yourself! If, by chance, you get some silence or free time, pop those in and enjoy. Also important to remember that our lovely *sarcasm* new iphones don’t always have the same adapter for the jack the planes have. Airlines do sell these, but they’re usually more expensive.
  9. Change of clothes. This is for the kids, but wouldn’t be bad to keep maybe just an extra top or something on hand for you too. Even if your kids are potty trained or older, STUFF HAPPENS. My kids get motion sickness and have thrown up more times than I can count during flights. As all Moms know, even one little speck of throw-up on an outfit will stink to high heaven and no amount of wiping will get the stink out. This also ties in with the extra plastic bags that are good for these stinky things.
  10. Activities to keep your kids occupied. This is something I only recommend bringing in your bag while your kids are little. Once they’re old enough to wear a backpack, these items should be in their bag. The Flying with Kids: From Start to Finish post gives me do’s and don’ts for this. Basically, bring things that will keep your kids busy, doesn’t play music or make any loud noises, can’t get on the seat, tray table, etc like crayons or markers. Unless your child is old enough. Learn from my experiences: two is NOT old enough. :-\
  11. Neck pillow and small blanket: no one wants a floppy head when they’re dozing off. A neck pillow will make napping so much easier for your little one. And, a small blanket will not only keep them warm if the plane is cold, but will keep them cozy if they’re a little nervous about flying.

I hope this information is helpful and probably will be adding more as they come to mind. If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment!

Want to get all the details on how to make flying with kids a breeze? Check out our Flying with Kids From Start to Finish post for ALL the details on that

Here is a picture of the extra phone battery I have. It comes with a cord to plug into your phone charger adapter.

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