Travel Planning

Flying with Kids: Carry On Checklist (1 Mom, 2 kids)

I’ve flown solo with both kids on several occasions and it’s always gone well but I still get nervous in preparation. Tomorrow morning we’ll be leaving the house at 5:15 am, kissing my husband at the curb, and traveling for 7 hours 40 minutes (including one layover). So what am I doing to prepare for this especially hands-on day of parenting?

I’ve approached this with several different philosophies in the past.

  • Maximalist (stroller, carseats, every toy the kids have, every snack they might possibly enjoy, 3 changes of clothes, etc.)
  • Kid’s as pack horses (kid backpacks stuffed with all their entertainment)
  • Minimalist (baby carrier, backpack, hands free!)

The explanation point may give it away, but right now I’m preparing for a totally minimalist approach to flying with the kids. Goal #1: Keep my hands free!

So can I possibly fit everything I’ll need to keep the kids happy for 8 hours and still keep my hands free? Here’s what I’m taking:

  • Tula Toddler Carrier (we don’t leave home without it, either kid can fit for some hustling between gates)
  • Diapers and wipes (enough for 1 diaper per 2 hours or typical use + 2)
  • Wet bag
  • Waterbottles
  • Change of clothes for each kid (thin, long sleeved options that can be easily rolled and packed)
  • Fully charged tablet packed with kid’s shows, books, and games (we use the Amazon Fire tablet)
  • Two pairs of soft kid sleeping headphones (we use CozyPhones and they are great for kids who don’t like wearing headphones but want to have volume)
  • Coloring books and stickers
  • Watercolor postcards (the kind we have has the paint built directly into the pages so we don’t have to worry about too much mess)
  • Crayons
  • Flashcards (the kids like these and I have a hard time finding the patience for them at home, while flying there aren’t many better options!)
  • New little toys (I picked up a few little cat and dogs figurines, my son is going to love them)
  • Kid’s passports (If you’re flying domestic this isn’t a requirement, but I like to have them on hand just in case)
  • Mommy’s laptop and charger (in case by some miracle they occupy themselves enough for me to get some work done!)

Packing for flying

  • Snacks and meals, I’m hoping to completely avoid the hiked up airport food prices!
    • Lollipops (for sucking on during take off and landing, if your kids still nurse or take a bottle/pacifier that works better!)
    • Whole apples (for getting those little mouths opening wide if their ears do start to hurt)
    • Oranges
    • Breakfast cookies (recipe here)
    • Pesto pasta
    • Pizza rolls
    • Green beans
    • Fruit gummies (recipe here, mine are pomegranate and white grape)

Snacks for flying

So everything is packed and there’s nothing to it but to do it! Hopefully we come out unscathed on the other end!

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