Travelling with little ones can be a daunting task. Especially when it’s a long international flight (like the 10+ hour flight to London I am about to embark on for the third time) with young children. I feel like the best thing a parent can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best – as cheesy as it sounds. I always come armed with my Mountain Buggy Nano stroller (which fits in an overhead bin) and an Ergo so we can move quickly through the airport. Having a well-organized “bag of tricks” is my main MO and as they are finally old enough to be able to carry/roll their own little backpacks I decided it would be exciting for them to each get their own new bag filled with toys, treats, and activities to amuse them. We decided on the Stephen Joseph rolling luggage (the ones pictured are no longer available but I also love this one for Henry and this for Vivi from the same company) because they are bright, fun and my kids LOVE them.
For inside the Carry-On I always pack lots of non-messy treats. My kids’ favorites are the organic gummy bears and lollipops and we always throw in some pouches for good measure. I let them have these during take-off and landing to keep them sitting quietly in their seats and to help ease any ear pressure. iPads are so helpful – especially because we limited ours to just travel days now (just airplanes and road trips – as our son was getting too obsessed with it) so it’s a very special treat that they look forward to. This alone can keep them amused for hours. Make sure you download some fun, educational apps and get a kid-friendly case and headphones to go with it.
If you don’t do the iPad route I also pack and love all the Melissa and Doug products. The Water Wow Books are great as they are fun, mess-free, and take little space. They also have these puffy sticker albums which they love to play with and, again, very light and takes little space. The Melissa and Doug Sticker Face Set is a much larger size so I pack it in my carry-on which also helps to keep it hidden for me to break out at a later time once they’ve gone through all the fun stuff in their bags. Also, it’s always a good idea for them to each have their own little notebook and markers for doodling.
Aside from the treats and activities, I always pack pajamas (Henry’s set and Vivi’s set) and a fresh arrival outfit (love this top/bottom for Henry and this dress for Vivi). I LOVE anything by Boden for the kids so I’ve linked a few cute pieces from them that I either have or want. To protect their outfits I love having lightweight, water resistant bibs (even for my son) so they keep the few clothes we will have on board as clean as possible.
And my last tip for travelling with kids is to stay positive. Have some champagne if you’re stressing out and try to have fun! My son is old enough now to travel with no major issues but if my 2 ½ year old daughter starts to cry or gets super loud and fidgety I always just quickly duck into a bathroom with her for a silly face contest in the mirror. That always helps change her tune. I try my best not to annoy the passengers around us – I know travelling can bring out the cranky in the nicest people but I am also realistic about how quiet/still a toddler can be on a long flight (while some people are SO sweet about it some can become downright rude at just the mere sight of children on the plane). So just come prepared, smile, have some champs, entertain them, and worst case hide in the bathroom like I have done many times.
Here are my must have items in my kids’ carry-on bags for a long flight:
- Treats: Organic Gummy Bears and Organic Lollipops
- iPad and iPad Case
- Cozy socks (Vivi’s here and Henry’s here)
- Lightweight bibs (to preserve the few clothes we’re bringing)
- Pajamas (Vivi’s here and Henry’s here)
- Arrival Outfit (Henry’s top/bottom and Vivi’s here)
- Vivi’s Bunny
- Wet Wipes
- Sweet Potato Pouches
- Melissa and Doug Water Wow (these are GREAT)
- Water Bottles (blue and pink)
- Melissa and Doug Puffy Sticker Album
- Melissa and Doug Make a Face Sticker Bundle
- Ergo Baby Carrier (yes, I still use it and love it)
- Mountain Buggy Nano
- Rolling Backpacks (Vivi’s here and Henry’s here)