What I Pack in My Carry On Bag

On Board Essentials with KidsChild with headphones on board an airplane in a window seat reading emergency card

  • What: I pack in my carry on bag
  • When: Traveling by plane with kids
  • Why: Be prepared
  • Where: En route

I recently got back from traveling with my kids. If you’re wondering what to pack in your carryon luggage when you travel with kids, here’s what I chose. 

Carry on suitcase Orla Kiely packed with Eagle Creek Large pack it cube in blue and other miscellaneous items

My carry on suitcase packed for our recent trip.

Spare Clothes: I love the 4-2-1 packing list. If I can’t fit all of that into my carry on bag, I make sure I have a complete change of clothes for each kid and a spare shirt and underwear for myself. Even though my kids have outgrown the spit up phase, I’ve found the spares handy so many times, like when my son spilled syrup all over everything he had on before we even boarded. And if your plane gets diverted or your luggage gets lost, you feel much less stressed when you have extras. 

Child relaxing wearing blue kid headphones buckled on board airplane seat

My kids bring their own electronic entertainment and headphones.

Electronics: For me, I only need my phone these days, as it includes plenty of reading material and even videos and games in a pinch. I make sure I have a pair of earbuds as well. My kids each get a Kindle Fire tablet of their own, along with a set of headphones

Entertainment: I keep a few stickers, activity books, crayons, and even an emergency inflatable ball on hand. That way I can handle just about any unexpected travel changes that may arise. On some trips, I will also include a magazine or two for myself, but not generally when I travel with the kids.

Electronic cords: I always keep a spare charger for things like my phone, activity tracker, and my kids’ electronic devices in easy reach. I never check these items because I use them onboard or want them in case of delayed flights.

Bag with travel bathroom supplies pouring out hairspray toothbrush packing list

My bathroom bag has lots of necessities.

Bathroom stuff: I have a bag packed with basic toiletries. I include a solid shampoo bar, a small container of lotion, any hair products I need, eyeliner, glasses, contact lens solutions, and a hair comb. For my kids, I have hair accessories and toothpaste, and toothbrushes for everyone.

Over the counter medicines cream Neosporin hydrocortisone thermometer syringe adhesive bandages

I keep a first aid bag stocked as well.

First aid bag: I keep a medicine bag on standby as well. I toss current bottles of Children’s Benadryl and pain reliever inside, along with tubes of first aid cream and anti-itch cream. I also include any items needed for dosing, like syringes or measuring cups. And I never leave home without a nice selection of band-aids.

Green apple on cutting board cut into slices

One apple cut into slices can go a long way.

Snacks and drinks: My kids eat like bottomless pits when confined for long periods of time, whether in a car or on an airplane. I tend to pack fresh fruits like sliced apples, fruit leather, nuts, crackers, and a few small treats for bribery or to use as rewards for good behavior. I also keep a water bottle without a straw for each kid. I can fill it with water before boarding and use it for any drinks we get on board.

JetKids BedBox packed up and ready to go

Our faithful traveling companion, the JetKids BedBox.

JetKids BedBox: Even though my youngest is well past four years old and can walk anywhere we need to go, I still take the BedBox with me. It not only works as a bed or footrest on board the plane, but it carries so much stuff. And my kids argue over who gets to pull it and ride on it. It also doubles as a seat for up to two kids when the boarding area gets crowded. I never leave home without it.

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