Packing Checklist for Flying with Kids
Are you planning your spring/summer vacation but dread the thought of the flight and the possibility of a meltdown with your young child? Planning on how to keep your child occupied during the flight is half the battle so here is the checklist we use to keep the meltdowns to a minimum!
Let your child carry his/her own backpack.
If your child is old enough to carry their own backpack then I think it's a good idea to do so. Our youngest son is six and so he enjoys carrying his own backpack, which in essence becomes his carry-on luggage. By having his own carry-on, I'm able to bring more of his must-haves in his own luggage while leaving room for me in my own carry-on luggage.
Small Toys in Ziploc bags
Ziploc bags are my best friends when we're travelling. We use them to organize a variety of things such as toiletries and snacks. We also use it to organize our son's toys for his carry-on. So I use a Ziploc bag for each category of toys; cars, superheros and trucks. Our son is allowed to bring four of each in their own sandwich bags and they are easily accessible for when he's ready to play with them on the plane. He can also bring a couple when we go sight-seeing during our trip.
Stuffed Toy for Sleeping
If you're going on a long-haul flight or a flight that's runs over night, It's a good idea to bring along a stuffed toy for your child to cuddle up with when he/she gets tired and is ready to sleep. Our son likes to have his favourite stuffed toy in the hotel as well, as a little reminder of home. Just don't forget it in the hotel like we did, when we were in Paris!
Now that our son is six, he loves to read his own books and he also loves his usual bedtime story, even if we're thousands of feet in the air. I look for small, thin books and bring four to five of them for the flight as well as when we're in the hotel at bedtime. When we travelled from Orlando to Miami, which is a four hour drive, I was relieved that he had some books to read when I thought he had been on the tablet for too long.
There will be many hours in between the time you arrive at the airport and the time you reach your destination, so packing enough snacks for your little one is crucial. I always travel with food for all of us, because the even if you get a meal on the flight, they don't serve it right away and it may not be something that your child wants to eat. I usually bring grilled cheese sandwiches, granola bars, chips, diced apples (sometimes security will take the fruit, and sometimes not). We also end up picking up a muffin and drinks once we're passed the security line. They may not even everything during the flight, but I bring these things just in case. Better safe than sorry!
Medicine and Candy
Flying makes some people nauseous, especially kids, so I try to be as prepared for this as much as I can. Our youngest child has been on countless road trips and flights and has never been sick...until the last flight we had to Greece. After about four hours he said that his tummy wasn't feeling well. Before I could reach for the Gravol, he was doing that 'I'm going to throw-up' mouth movement. All I could do was take the pillow case beside me and let him be sick in that! Most of it got in there, but not everything. So not only will I travel with motion-sick medicine, but I will GIVE IT TO HIM, before a flight, no matter what! I also find that sour candies and ginger candies are for keeping nausea at bay. You can find ginger candies in your local bulk food store.
I also bring medicine for headaches/cold/cough but remember that they can only be a maximum of 100 ml to be allowed in your carry-on.
My son loves to draw and colour and so I always make sure to have a notepad and colouring books for him along with his crayons and markers. A trip to the dollar store is a great place to get small notepads and inexpensive colouring books. If they only have those big colouring books, I take a few pages out and bring that so that his backpack isn't too heavy. We practice some sight-words and math while on the flight and I try my best to make it into a game, which he loves. I make sure that the crayons and markers are washable so that when Keenan gets 'creative' I can easily wash up his 'creativity.' This is especially helpful once we get to our hotel and he's colouring all over the place!
Electronics are my friend when travelling with a preschooler. I have an old cellphone that we use for travel to keep Keenan busy. Before we go on vacation, I download some new games so that he's playing games that are new and challenging to him and will keep his attention for a good while.
Getting sick on a plane is a reality that can easily affect you if you're not prepared. Think about the amount of stuff our hands touch from the time we get in to the airport to the time we sit in our seats in the plane. Hauling luggage on scales, picking up the trays for your carry-on luggage, taking off your shoes...that's why we head straight to the bathroom to wash our hands after we pass the security checkpoints and then once we're in the plane and settled in we use disinfectant wipes to wipe down the seatbelts and tray table. It's a little thing, but it can make a big difference when someone gets sick during your dream vacation, especially when travelling with children.
USB key with downloaded movies/TV shows
I have found that sometimes my son doesn't want to watch the movies or TV shows that are on the plane so I've started to download a variety of shows that I know he likes so that he won't get bored on the flight as well as when we're in our airbnb. Netflix allows you to download some TV shows on your mobile or tablet which is great! On our last trip not only did I do this for our little one, but the older kids downloaded shows for themselves as well, which was great because most of the channels in the last apartment was not in English.
We hope these tips we've shared helps you and your family plan have less of a stressful flight with your kiddies. Until next time, have a safe trip and happy travels!