After 15+ flights with my son (he’ll be 3 in September) I finally have gotten our hand luggage under control. Going through countless bags, gear and strategies it’s all taught me one thing: be as prepared as possible with as little as possible. We’ve now had six successful flights with the two backpack set up so it’s tried and true for me. Here’s the detailed run down of what’s in our packs.
The easiest way to keep my bag organized throughout the entire trip is to utilize smaller pouches within. Everything has a spot and I know where everything is which makes grabbing items way easier. Plus, the bag gets leaner and leaner as the trip progresses, always a bonus!
1. The Backpack: I never thought I’d be the backpack toting Mom but when I’m traveling solo with my son it is essential. Now, I can’t imagine ever not using a backpack to travel when he’s in tow. I love this bag, by Passage Mignon, because it’s highly functional yet still looks cute and is comfy to wear. I also have been eyeing up The Honest Co. backpack for when our second son comes along in the Winter.
2. Electronics Pouch: A designated spot for my laptop, iPad and charging cords.
3. Wallet: This clutch with shoulder strap fits perfectly into the outer pocket of my bag making it super easy to access. It is also the prefect size to hold passports and boarding passes. Currently, each family member has their own passport holder which I thought would be super helpful, turns out it really is more of a hassle when all three of are traveling. Anyone have a great alternative option??
4. Snack Bag: An obvious necessity when traveling with little ones and I’ve also found myself hitting up the snack bag now that I’m pregnant. On our last trip back to the States the airplane food was so awful, we lived off our snacks. I always pack lollipops too to help with ear popping and/or to serve as a much needed distraction. I let William help pick out snacks to pack but all the treats are kept as surprises to help with the distraction factor when necessary.
5. Diaper Pouch: A general rule I follow is to pack two days worth of diapers in my carry on. I love having a separate pouch so I can just grab that out of my big bag and do the quick change. Another necessity for me is the OXO Travel Wipe Dispenser. I hate fidgeting with the flimsy wipe packs so this makes changing way easier.
6. Mama’s Survival Kit: This pouch contains all my travel necessities. For long flights I try to remember to remove all my makeup after take off. I recently was introduced to these Kleenex Facial Cleansing Wipes and they are amazing. They are absolutely perfect for travel and their resealable pack actually reseals! In my survival kit I also include: basic makeup, deodorant, moisturizer, lip balm and perfume.
7. Med Pouch: This little pouch just travels around with me at all times and contains the basics: tums, tylenol, band aids (fun characters because they help), after bite, hand lotion, sun screen, hand sanitizer, etc. I find myself reaching for it way more often than I ever think I’ll have to so it’s definitely worth packing up a small med pouch for your trip.
I prefer to pack all of William’s stuff together, in his own backpack. Now, at almost 3, he’s actually pretty good about carrying his own backpack when he’s not in the stroller. We’ve been using the Pottery Barn Kids Fairfax backpack for almost a year and half now. I am continually amazed at how much I can pack into the Pre-K size pack and it has withstood countless trips plus school usage. I love that it’s easy to wash however, it doesn’t have a chest clip which I think would allow my son to wear it for longer periods of time. Overall, I highly recommend the PBK backpack (here’s a coupon too). On to the goodies inside:
Necessities: you never know when or why you may need a full change of clothes or an easily accessible garbage bag.
- change of clothes
- disposable bag in case of emergency
Old Faithfuls: these items come with us on every trip
- iFrogz Headphones (these control the volume so they don’t deafen prematurely)
- Melissa & Doug reusable water painting pad
- Activity Book & Crayons
- Inflatable airplane toy from previous flight
Fun Surprises: the element of surprise is huge for toddlers and it works great on the plane. I only pack cheapie toys for trips so that if they are lost, broken or need to be ditched it’s not a problem.
- Felt busy book
- $1 Store Playdoh Set
- Scratch Off Sheets w/ Stylus
- $1 store cars & airplanes (6 per set)
- Retro Water Game
- Dinosaur Memory Match Card Game
Do you frequently travel with your kids in tow? If so, I’d love to hear what your must have items are!
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