Monday, December 7, 2015

What I am packing in my carry on luggage for international travel with a toddler and a preschooler

We are preparing for our first international flight with kids - and even though my husband and I are seasoned travelers; let me tell ya - I'm a little scared. A little anxious. Really excited for our destination. Catching the extra zzzz's while I can. Trying not to overpack. But I probably did and I can't say that I will be too sorry about it.

Our upcoming trip to Germany has been greatly anticipated and over the last few months we've been talking more with Penny, our preschooler, about what to expect on this long plane ride and how we are so excited to see Babcia and Vovo (her maternal grandparents) once we land. But truly, even though we talk all about this and she is on the cusp of becoming a rational 4 year old, we have no idea what we can expect from her and her little sister, Ruby, who is 19 months old. 17 hours of travel is extremely wearing on adults, and it will be much moreso for our children. The longest flight that we have taken as a family of four has been a five hour jaunt, which was only a few months ago. Here's hoping that both of them, especially the toddler, will have a few memories of that experience so that it doesn't throw them off too much.

Can I pause for a moment and make a comment about how I can't believe that I have a toddler and a preschooler?? It was only last year that I had a toddler and a baby...

While it's very easy and temping to completely over pack and bring EVERYTHING with us as a carry on, my husband and I are opting to trim down as much as we can due to the fact that we will be hauling 3 large pieces of luggage, our carry ons, two small children and their car seats.

So without further adieu, here is what we packed into our carry on luggage for our international flight with a 3 1/2 year old and 19 month old!
  • Diapers and wipes (recommended 1 diaper per hour of travel)
  • A small spritzer of OnGuard essential oil
  • Brand new Usborne books, we are very excited to use the new flashlight book!
  • Our new Kindle Fire tablets; perfect for both parent and kid use. We also bought child ear phones and pre-loaded the tablets with a ton of apps that they got to practice with for a week ahead of the trip. 
  • 2 changes of clothes for the kids and one for each parent, each set in a gallon sized Ziploc bag (which can also be used to seal smelly accidents)
  • Token "lovies" that will help comfort the child and provide the scent of home in an unfamiliar space
  • Travel sized toothbrushes that are preloaded with toothpast
  • Coloring books with crayons
  • Norwex Enviro cloth to wipe down plane trays - thanks for the idea Erin, who will be writing a guest post here in the very near future!
  • Small, inexpensive toys and craft items from the Dollar Store that can provide entertainment but are easily disposed of. 
  • Our two soft structured carriers for ease of transport through security and to help lull them to sleep on the airplane. 

I wrapped each and every single item in wrapping paper, including the diapers. This turns it into an activity that can be either a distraction or celebration. Because my kids can't read yet, I labelled their contents so that we can quickly grab what we feel is the best item for that moment.  <-- hack="" mama="" nbsp="" p="">

I filled at least a dozen Frozen themed ziplock baggies with an assortment of healthy pop corn, cheerios, yogurt covered raisins, trail mix, granola bars, a "treat" (usually a chocolate ball or a few marshmallows) and included different themed stickers, sticky notes, crayons, or other small time occupiers. I also made a specific "take off" bag that was place mats that they color on (like you get at a restaurant), a couple suckers for their ears.

But what is really going to save me are the diapers! I've flown many a time where at the end I've been covered in all sorts of bodily fluids and it's not fun. So here's to hoping that these will stand the test of a long international flight and keep both my baby and ME happy!

What do you pack for flying with your kids? 

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. This giveaway is funded by The Pierogie Mama and is not associated with any other entity, including but not limited to Sam's Club, Huggies, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest. Please see giveaway for full rules and eligibility. 


  1. You are totally ready. We can't wait

  2. I over packed for our trip to Manitoba, Canada last week. I brought 3 carry on's plus 1 personal, and my dd's car seat plus whatever my dh was carrying. I used maybe 3 things out of each bag and thought, I should downsize for the trip back but somehow, I managed to overbuy which lead me to over pack yet again! Have a safe and fun trip!

  3. Thank you for sharing these tips. I am travelling next year with our then 1 year old quite a bit, hopefully, so this is very useful.

  4. Thank you for posting this, though I'm not going internationally, I will be traveling right after the holidays to go see my son's grandmother. I'm nervous and scared to forget something!

  5. It sounds like you packed all the essentials. We typically drive when we travel so I've not experienced flying with children. It's all good to know info though. Thank you.

  6. You are very brave- international travel with little ones!!

  7. I would be curious to hear how the diapers worked for you. About 3 years ago, we flew to Mongolia with our then 4 month old. The diaper situation was the worst. He kept having blowouts with his runny end poop. I missed my cloth diapers a ton on that trip!



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