What’s in my bag: Airplane travel with a toddler

If you’re following me on Instagram, you’re very aware of the fact that H and I travel often. Like, really really really often. I used to try to cram 500 things in my diaper bag until I realized that H didn’t even use most of them and I kept forgetting things I wish I’d had, so now we just stick to the basics and it makes checking in, flights, layovers, the whole shebang so much easier. Having a streamlined diaper bag when traveling with a baby or toddler means much less stress for everyone involved!


Changing:

Because changing diapers is like 70% of parenthood, obviously diapers and wipes are pretty crucial. We cloth diaper at home, but while we’re out of town it’s just not worth packing however many days H would need and having to worry about having a place to wash and dry them as well. I like that the Honest diapers are natural and don’t give H’s sensitive skin a bad reaction and Huggies wipes are my bff with how much they can handle. The one time I forgot to bring an extra outfit for H, you can probably guess what happened, so now I’ll never leave home without one!
Entertainment:
Now that H is in a super interactive phase, I can’t just count on him sleeping and nursing the entire flight so I have to bring a few things for him to play with. He’s super into channeling his inner Picasso right now, so I’ve started bringing nontoxic (important because he puts everything in his mouth) chunky crayons and paper with us so we can color together. Books are always a hit and can end a tantrum in about 2 seconds. H’s current favorites are Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Animals (Baby Touch and Feel), First 100 words, and Little Blue Truck. Another instant meltdown stopper is making truck noises while pushing a toy car up and down his arms and belly, so one always stays in the bag. 
Eating:
Even though H still isn’t much of an eater, sometimes he’ll surprise me, so I always have to be prepared with puree pouches and snacks. Messes are always inevitable, so I also make sure to keep a pack of NeatCheeks in my bag for easy face and hands wipe downs with no harsh chemicals and a yummy flavor! Nûby sent me their Wash or Toss utensils a little while ago and they have been and will continue to go on every trip we make. The BPA free plastic is lightweight and small enough that they don’t take up any extra space in the diaper bag, but their Easy GripTM design means H can work on his self feeding super easily. I have been really impressed with how durable the utensils are as well – we’ve been using the same 8 forks and 8 spoons for about 3 months and none of them have broken. I am still breastfeeding, so we never take milk with us, but I do bring water and a cup with us. [FYI: I have never had any troubles bringing in a new, unopened water bottle with us – the security technicians usually just ask who it’s for, then take it to test and hand it back when they’re done.] The Flip n’ Sip is one of my favorites for traveling because I never have to worry about leaking and a bag full of wet things due to the No-Spill design. The two handles help H keep a good grip and I love that the straw is weighted so that it doesn’t matter how exactly he holds it, he’ll always have the perfect position to drink from! With this Flip n’ Sip cup, I also dont have to worry about keeping track of a pop top straw / nipple cover, as the flip top keeps the straw clean, which is really important when your son really enjoys throwing everything out of your bag and onto the gross and unhygienic airport carpets. You can find the Utensils at Meijer stores and the cups at Target!
Babygear:
Everytime I see a mom traveling with kids who isn’t baby wearing, I want to go give her a hug. Seriously. Forget the stroller. Forget running after one or more tiny tots. Forget trying to soothe a cranky, overstimulated and over tired baby. Babywearing has been the top thing that has saved my sanity so many times since H was born – especially while traveling. I loved my Solly Baby wrap while H was a newborn, but after about month 3 when the chunk started to pile on, it just wasn’t enough. I made my move to Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs) and tried the Bjorn (dont judge me, I was a baby wearing newbie), Ergo, Beco, and Kinderpack before settling and falling in love with the LILLEbaby. The lumbar support and extra padding is heaven for marathon wearing and speed walking to your next gate that’s all the way across the airport, and it’s the only carrier I can wear without back pain. 
Etc:
Regardless of the temperature outside, planes are notoriously chilly so I always bring a light blanket to wrap around him, especially during those magical moments when he gives in and finally falls asleep. Rad Revolution Kids’ striped swaddle is always in my bag because it folds up super small and it can double as a nursing cover / carrier cover as well. I never ever leave home without at least one of my nursing / teething necklaces from The Vintage Honey Shop, even more so when we’re traveling. I cannot say enough great things about them, and usually pack extras in my suitcase as well! One of the final things I bring is Ibuprofen. If / when H is in pain, and nursing doesn’t quite cut it, it’s a lifesaver – especially during the special h-e-double-hockeysticks that is an overtired and hurting baby on a redeye flight. 

What are some of your must-haves for traveling?

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15 thoughts on “What’s in my bag: Airplane travel with a toddler

  1. Your blog always makes me wish I had a kid because the outfits and pictures are so adorable! (Someday, but not yet!) These are some awesome tips! It's always difficult figuring out what to put in a carry on and I'm sure having a toddler makes it even more difficult. I love how simple you made it!

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  2. I am flying for the first time with my 16 month old. I plan on using our Ergo carrier and not a stroller. I'm concerned with what foods are allowed on the flight. He loves puffs and pretzels and Lara bars. Are these things allowed in my carry on? In plastic containers? I see you said you carry an unopened water bottle for your LO. So, your sippie cup is empty and u fill it once you get past security?

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  3. Great list! My kids are well out of the toddler stage, but we've always traveled regularly with them and I remember the toddler stage being the most challenging since they were the most active and their communication skills were still developing. Books and snacks were a life saver!

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  4. This is a great list! My baby H isn't a toddler yet, but this will be a helpful list to refer to later and some of the items are on my packing list for an infant as well. I plan to just buy the water bottle after security, one less thing to deal with, but that's good to know you can bring an unopened one with you.

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  5. What great information! I no longer have a toddler but it is so easy to over pack for carry-on. I always think I will need something and I usually never even open my carry on!! Inspired to downsize now!

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