After several flights with E, I’ve developed a few rules for our carry-on bags to help make our journeys more enjoyable. While every flight is different, and needs change as E grows, we have a few tried-and-true items we never leave home without. Will they eliminate the possibility of melt-downs? No. Will they end all boredom and wiggling? No. But hopefully they will give us at least a bit of peace and quiet and keep us from being that family on the plane.
E loves to carry his own back pack and pick out the things that will go inside. I got him this yellow Fjallraven for a few reasons:
- It is mini-sized, so it won’t make him top-heavy.
- The top handles make it easy for me to grab if I need to keep him out of harm’s way.
- The bright color makes him easy to spot and and the backpack hard to accidentally leave behind.
- The straps adjust all the way to grown-up length, so if he decides to ditch it, I can put it on and keep my hands free.
It doesn’t hold a lot, which I think is a good thing. He can find what he’s looking for and there aren’t’ so many items that I can’t keep track of them when he invariably pulls them all out and dumps then on the floor.
In his back pack, we tend to stash the following:
- Crayons and Post-it notes in an old Altoids tin (thanks Pinterest!)
- A stuffed animal
- A Melissa and Doug Water Wow tablet
- A few books
- A rubber dinosaur
- Fuzzy pipe cleaners
- Tape (Tape is awesome. Make tape balls, stick it on your face to make funny faces, re-seal snacks, label stuff…)
I carry my trusty L.L. Bean Quad backpack which has traveled with us on several trips and holds an amazing amount of gear and flotsam.
In my back pack:
- Toddler water bottle
- E’s blanket
- Overnight essentials dopp kit (toothpaste and tooth brush, facial wipes, contact lenses and glasses, etc.)
- Diaper change pack
- Set of clothes for E
- Set of clothes for me (Do not discount this one. If your child gets motion sickness, the person they throw up on will not be themselves. Trust me.)
- iPad and charging cord!
- Travel documents and wallet
- Headphones for both of us (one noise-cancelling set, one ear-bud set)
- A few small, wrapped toys to use in a emergency
Will we forget something? Of course! But we are not traveling to a remote or desolate destination. We’re traveling to a major international airport. As long as we have enough diapers to get us through any delayed flights and tarmac-sitting, I think we will be OK.