Like most people, I love to travel, especially when it is for fun. Now that I have kids, my love for travel has not changed, but my approach to travel is a bit different. This is especially true when it comes to flying. Flying with kids is a big deal and it takes some planning and preparation. When you are a mom, your carryon bags are your survival bags. They should have everything you need to survive a long airplane trip with your kids.
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Your ID and your family’s ID’s are probably the worst items you can forget when traveling besides your tickets. You can find ID holders that will store all your travel documents in one place with identify theft blocking protection.
Foreign and Domestic Travel requirements do differ so be sure to read up on the differences. A passport is the best identification for any type of travel. Although it is not required, I suggest bringing a birth certificate for all children traveling with you in the domestic United States.
Forgetting your tickets for anything is the worst feeling, especially if you have left them a long way away. Thankfully, most tickets are now digitized and you can pull them up on your smart phone. Even so, it is always best to double and triple check that you have them with you.
No matter where you are traveling to, you always want to be sure you have your insurance cards as well as cards for any fellow travelers who are not on your insurance plan. You never know where an accident or injury might happen.
This one is pretty obvious, but always be sure your wallet is with you when you walk out the door. You can get by without cash, but if you are traveling with small children or out of the country you should probably have a few dollars on you. You never know when you might need cash to pay for something in the airport, on the plane or at your destination. I highly recommend using an ID holder for all your money, tickets and identification when you are traveling.
How did we manage to exist before these little palm sized computers? I have no idea either. Whether you like them or not they are here to stay. When you are traveling with kids you will be glad to have this device. So pop it in your bag and make sure you have the charger! I find portable chargers can really come in handy especially if your battery tends to run low fast.
This is kind of a broad category, but I like to think of this as anything you might need. Prescriptions are the most important item in this category as they can be difficult to replace. Medicine can include vitamins, birth control pills, prescription medicines, pain relief medicine, cough and cold medicine, insulin and glasses or contacts. I just love having a medicine organizer in my purse. It allows me to always have a supply of general medication with me wherever I go. A small first aid kid or pack of bandaids are also handy to have.
Baby and Toddler Gear
If you are traveling with a small child, you probably feel you need a small entourage to carry everything they need around the airport. There is so much you need that it can be overwhelming. Even on the shortest trips you will need pacifiers, bottles, formula, snacks, water, a blanket, diapers, wipes, tissue, plastic bags and changes of clothing to get by.
Snacks, Water and Gum
No trip is complete without snacks. If you are traveling with kids make sure to pack plenty and a variety. You may not know where your next meal is and if you are onboard longer than anticipated, your time will be much more pleasant without hungry children. I never travel without at least one bottle of water for our family. Gum is great because it will keep your child busy and it will ease ear pops from changes in altitude.
Airplane entertainment has gotten a little more sophisticated since we were kids. While you can go overboard packing items to keep your children entertained, it doesn’t hurt to have a variety. I suggest crayons, coloring books, cards, books/magazines, tablets and headphones.
Extra Clothes and Basic Toiletries
Have you ever flown somewhere and had your luggage lost or misplaced? It is a major hassle, but what’s even worse is having to sleep in the same clothes you wore traveling all day. If that is not bad enough you have to hope that the place you are staying has extra toothbrushes and toiletries. It is not fun and it has happened to be more than once. If it were to happen to you while traveling with your kids it could be a disaster.
Now I always pack my pajamas, a change of shirt and underwear in my carryon bag. I do the same for my children when I travel with them. When they were little I always packed more than one set of extra clothes and I am so glad I did. I was most thankful I did this when my son threw up on an airplane. You can read more about that in my post 10 Tips That Will Make Flying Alone with Kids Easier.
It’s easy to be a packing minimalist until you have small children depending on you for several hours on an airplane. Follow this list and you will always have everything you need to survive an airplane flight with your kids. If you want a handy and thorough list of carryon items to bring, check out my family packing travel checklist.