Traveling alone with my son as a single mom, for a decade, I have must many preparation tips and skills along the way for how to pack a kid’s carry on bag. We have moved by car, bus, boat, train, and airplane over North America and the Caribbean. With each new address and experience I discover what works best when it gets to packing.

When flying with children there is more to study; such as size limitations of your bag, weight limits, and of course, food and free guidelines to follow if you don’t want your favorite belongings left after at the TSA. Taking into evidence that some kids have diseases (epi-pen) or need various medications, always leave room in your bag if this applies to you. These ideas are a guideline, so adjust equally depending on your baby, toddler or school aged child.

Baby’s Carry On

Ah, kids, they are so little yet need so much stuff. Despite of whether your flight is 3 hours to Florida, or eight hours to London, your carry on baggage allowance is the same. My motto when flying with babies? Be prepared for anything.

Diapers: The traditional rule is to have at smallest one diaper for every hour in penetration including airport wait times, and if you can squish a few extras in your bag, even better.

• Change pad: Make beds that fold up small

• Thin blankets

• Wipes and tissues

• Plastic bags: To order of soiled diapers, or for wet clothing

• Extra removal of clothes: Put an entire extra outfit in a sealed flexible bag

• Pacifier (optional): My son used a pacifier and I feasibly traveled with a dozen of them on our first trip, they also help with ear pressure during take off and landing

• Bibs: If you baby is a drooler I can’t stress how great these are; pack a few and include a waterproof one

• Small toys: I always carried some of my son’s favorite toys including a small padded animal

• Baby mortar, or front carrier: This is perfect especially if you compare your stroller with your backpack.

• The real diaper bag: I preferred waterproof bags with either a collar strap option, or backpack style and lots of pockets

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Whether you breastfeed or use formula, be prepared. There are liquid rules for carry on bags (100 ml/3.4 oz. including all containers must fit into a 1 liter clear chemical bag). However, breast milk is granted an exclusion that you can hold to be selected at safety. But to be safe, you may want to bring only what is essential, since breast milk has been known to be dropped out, much to the fear of complaining mothers.

Toddler’s Carry On

If you are yet breastfeeding, see up. Maybe you won’t need diapers, but if potty practice is a work in progress, pull-up diapers are great, especially if you get stuck on the tarmac for hours out access to a toilet (badly, this happens on occasion). For times I kept a pull-up in my pocket, just in case! Wipes are still fit to use at this age for sticky little hands and faces.

• Small toys are required: Traveling games of checkers, X’s & O’s, and Snakes and Ladders did my son’s loves & he chose which filled animal made the journey with us for each trip

• Lightweight books: A personal view pop-up book, or a book about the end you are traveling to, that you can read to them helps keep them engaged

• Coloring books, journals, crayons or pencil crayons (no markers!)

• Wonder Dollar Store toys: Something you child has never worked with works great; you can get a package of small plastic creatures for two dollars and dole them out at half hour intervals to keep them guessing

• Clothes: A complete change of clothing including socks and undies (I also bring a baseball cap and sunglasses)

• Endless dry snacks: granola bars, crackers, cereal in baggies, pretzels, concentrated fruit

Tip: If you don’t want to pay a lot on bottled water, bring an abandoned water bottle through forms and fill it up from the sea well before you get on the plane. (Brita offers only filtered plastic bottles).

School Aged Kid’s Carry On

It was a great event when my son eventually removed his own bags and carry on bag onto the plane. Yay! I survived the baby and toddler traveling years! He started doing this when he became five, and by the age he was six it was a lot easier to travel with him. He enjoyed having his own name on the luggage tag and felt free as my traveling friend.

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• Toys and books: Now, at life ten, he still makes his favorite small toys and moving stuff as well as a new novel for every flight (A second one is packed in his kids backpack and for the flight home the titles are switched)

• Notebook: Sometimes we keep a trip log, or list things we want to search at our end

• Magazines: He loves sport and ball magazines and I try to save a popular unread issue for the flight

• Gum: This serves ears by take offs and landings

• Ginger: My son received my sick flying issues, natural ginger helps or in any cases over the counter meds are needed

• Snacks: Really like the toddler part, but I also bring him a bag. We follow a vegan diet and can’t rely on plane food. If you are traveling with a child with food sensitivities or bigotry, you will want to bring your own food as well. (Just be wary of the no liquid rules)

• Toiletries: Now like I do for myself, I include a small bottle in his carry on that includes; lip lotion, toothbrush, travel toothpaste, Band-Aids, tiny hand sanitizer, kids Tylenol just in case!)

About Electronics: At house we have laws about using physics and there is always a time limit on games and movies. But when traveling, the electronic rules are set for the flight and remaining in the airport. But that doesn’t suggest he plays video games the whole flight. For case, for every hour of automatic use there is an hour of study or writing.

Tip: My boy loves making his own journey pillow that goes around the rear of his neck so he seat relax while he shows or plays. If the carry on is full there are blow up stories that fold up quite small. They come in handy if your flight gets postponed. It’s a good idea to bring one for yourself too in your personal carry on bag.

As small and large traveling friends grow longer they will add their own ideas of what they want to pack in their carry-on luggage. These days I help my son to make his own disposal list and choose something ends up in his bag. Maybe making those choices will trickle down into other sections of his life as he grows older and gains more confidence.


Whether you’re traveling with a baby. toddler, or school grown kids it pays to be made. Packing a carry on bag with the essentials to make a flying more easy and to head off any crisis is smart.

For Babies:

• Set extras of everything

• Method for feedings

• A weapon or carrier can help put your holds free

For Toddlers:

• Pet toys and new shocks keep them working

• Pack a variety of things

• Don’t skip the snacks!

For School Aged Kids:

• It’s all about self-confidence

• Bend the rules on sciences for travel dates

• Plan around nutritional variances to have everyone well.

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