Traveling with your children is one of the very best ways to expose them to new experiences. The knowledge they gain and the new discoveries they make will stay with them for a lifetime. Traveling with your kids is also a wonderful way to make long-lasting family memories.
However, if you’re not prepared, you might find yourself stepping into a potential nightmare! Children definitely have their own special needs. Being prepared when traveling with a child by having activities to help reduce boredom and dissipate restless energy is essential.
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Fly With A Toddler Checklist
Carry-On Bags – Their own carry-on bag they can pull themselves.
- Drink Bottle
- Bottle and Formula if they still use it. Just make sure to remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings. The best way to do this is by placing the items in a clear gallon Ziplock baggy.
- Night-time nappies / diapers / pull-ups for sleep or landing time.
- Daytime Nappies (Diapers) if still needed
- Nappy (Diaper) Change Mat
- Wet wipes
- Wet/Dry Bag for dirty nappies & diapers
- Bottle of hand sanitizer
- Acetaminophen (100mls or less in your hand luggage) and syringes if needed.
- Other medicines your toddler requires
- Changes of clothes for your child
- Change of clothes for you in case your child is sick or wets on you.
- Enough snacks to keep going between meals or waiting. Dried fruits, nuts, granola bars, cereals, cracker, pretzel, and cookies are all good options. Creamy items such as jams, peanut butter, and yogurt, however, are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces or less per item and will need to fit into a quart-sized bag.
- Dummy / Pacifier if your toddler uses one. Have at least one spare in your hand luggage and perhaps another in your checked-in luggage. Also, have something to attach it to your babies clothes.
- Your child’s special toy if they have one
- Toy s – coloring books and crayons, books to read, art activities, learning toys, portable DVD player or iPad
- Sun Screen
- Ziplock Bags – For collecting shells, storing food.
- Small plug-in night light
- Emergency Phone Numbers
- Water or Juice – Just make sure to remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings. The best way to do this is by placing the items in a clear gallon Ziploc baggy.
- Extra Formula to refill your dispensing container
- Additional nappies / diapers
- Swimming nappy / diaper
- Extra snack-food
- Extra medicine and first-aid supplies
- Sharp Knife
- Portable Baby Seat / High Chair – we traveled with the fisher-price high chair
- Portable Travel Cot
- Car Seat – check the requirements of the country you are visiting and then decide if you will take a car seat with you or hire one
- Extra baby clothes so you have plenty until you can wash again and also for the various conditions you may encounter.
- Additional toys, books, games, and activities that you could not carry on in your hand luggage.
If you’re traveling with an infant by plane, be aware of the current regulations for carry-on items, especially regarding formula and other liquids. You can get further, specific information by going to
The TSA says
Did you know formula, breast milk, juice, baby food, and even liquid medications in quantities greater than 3.4 ounces are exempt to the 3-1-1 liquids rule! That’s right, when it comes to baby bottles and sippy cups you are in the clear! Just make sure to remove these items from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings.
Dried fruits, nuts, granola bars, cereals, cracker, pretzel and cookies are all good options. Creamy items such as jams, peanut butter and yogurt however, are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces or less per item and will need to fit into a quart-sized bag. Just make sure you take the zip-top bag out of your carry-on prior to sending it through the X-ray. Learn more about what you can and cannot bring through the checkpoint. – Kids Rule (TSA)
So what SHOULD you bring?
Well, first of all, it all has to fit in your carry on. You’ll want to have a variety of things, but don’t go overboard.
Here are some good suggestions:
- Small toys
For children under 1-year-old, toys that seem to work well are colorful, geometric toys as well as small familiar toys from home.
For children over 1 year, purchase several new small toys that you think will be of interest to your child. Do not make your child aware of these toys. Just pack them in your carry-on for use during your flight. The ‘surprise’ will carry you a long way.
In general, children love colorful books. Pack several small picture books that you can pull out and read to your child. As with the toys, familiar books from home are good, but new books will capture their interest longer.
- Art Activities
These activities include crayons and blank paper, coloring books, markers, magnetic drawing pads, etc. They encourage use of imagination and creativity and expand a young attention span. As with books and toys, purchasing new art supplies or coloring books and surprising your child with them throughout the trip works best.
- Interactive Learning Toys
There are many interactive learning toys on the market today that work well for entertaining children. If your child is old enough, toys such as the LeapPad Learning System, are great. But if you’re flying, be careful about bringing items that take up too much space in your carry-on.
- Portable DVD Players
If you are flying with your child, do not count on getting video entertainment from movies shown by your airline. Yes, many flights do have movies available. However, flights that have one movie rarely show a movie that is appropriate for children 4 years old or younger. Small portable DVD players are becoming affordable for many families to own. If you bring your own DVD player and children’s DVDs then you will have full control over content and timing of video entertainment for your child. You can also play DVDs on your laptop.
Be sure to ration your entertainment resources throughout the journey. Don’t pull everything out at once. Bring out new items gradually throughout the trip and think of ways to use them as rewards for good behavior. Wrap toys to add to their entertainment value. If you’re flying, leave one end of the package open so that you can show it to security if you’re asked to.
And in addition to the usual hats, visors, sunglasses etc., you should also make sure that you have a recent photo of your children in your wallet or bag. If you were to get separated from them in a crowd, you can show people who you are looking for. And for the same reason, your kids should carry pictures of you. •
When traveling with children, even the most prepared parent is bound to have a few little mishaps along the way. Don’t get fussed when you do. That only adds to the disaster.
- Take a deep breath
- Cut yourself some slack
- Treat any time to relax as a bonus.
- Keep smiling and laugh with your child
And above all, ignore rude people, especially those whose job they think it is to help. As well-intentioned as they may be, only you know the right way to handle your child.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Try to book nonstop flights
- Make sure to book at least one aisle seat.
- Plan ahead for the security checkup line
- Don’t Board early
- Don’t Forget to bring extra supplies
What kind of ID does a child need to fly?
In general, for domestic flights, most airlines do not require identification for minors. However, keep in mind all airline carriers have their own set of rules so it’s best to check with the airline your flying with. Generally speaking, children do not need additional ID. If your unsure, checkout with your airline. For a comprehensive list of airline toll-free numbers check out this article.