A well stocked carry-on bag is profoundly helpful on any journey with kids. Here are some things that have been lifesavers for us on our travels.
I start with this because no one wants a sick child (or parent) on your meticulously planned vacation. I don’t fear germs by nature but I do dread a sick child, especially if we’re going out of the country. You’re more likely to get sick from what you touch than what you breathe and small kids have a penchant for putting their fingers in their mouths. We wipe down our plane seats, tray tables, etc. We’ve gotten ill enough the hard way after multiple flights and this has truly minimized our illnesses.
Change of clothes
In case of lost luggage or an spills/accidents during your flight you’ll have a back up. If you want to really consolidate you can pack one set you know will fit more than one of your kids.
It doesn’t get used often but it’s great to have to stash wet/soiled clothes. It can just be thrown in the wash for easy cleaning
Having a well stocked tablet (with movies, games, and downloaded shows) can literally be the difference between success and total disaster on a trip with children. We rely heavily on iPads for flights. We have games, puzzles, drawing, and movies galore to keep our kids occupied. We’re more flexible in the car because meltdowns in that setting only affects us. It’s a different story at 35,000 feet…
Planes are loud and kids usually increase the volume to compensate. Most fellow travelers appreciate keeping the Paw Patrol theme song on a loop in your kiddos head only. And if you have more than one child and only one tablet, a splitter can be a lifesaver to avoid tantrums and fighting.
Pack more than you think you need. Snacks save lives.
Crayons or magic markers/coloring books
Twistable crayons are great because they help avoid broken crayons and are capped. The magic coloring books are also amazing because there’s no mess and no worry about getting marker all over your plane seat, rental car, or hotel walls.
Mini first aid kit
This has been a long standard in our diaper bag/backpack. Extra band-aids, triple antibiotic ointment, benadryl, etc have been convenient to have on hand should the need arise
Keeping some extra fluids especially for descent when most of your drinks/trash have already been picked by flight attendants can help to offset earaches in your littles. If you have breast feeding infants this is a great time to nurse. It’s also great to have at your destination to take on excursions.
A sweatshirt or light jacket is great to have in case of a chilly cabin or can make a makeshift pillow in a pinch.