The Carry On Essentials for a Baby

kids travel car plane

Have you ever heard the expression, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’? Well, any experienced traveler can tell you that preparation is key to successfully traveling with kids.

I’m a HUGE fan of lists. I make lists for everything: groceries, budgeting, to do– you get the picture. Traveling is no exception. Here is my go-to list for traveling with babies!

Need to know what to bring when traveling with your baby? Here is a list of essential items to pack in your carry on for the plane.

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What to Bring When Traveling with a Baby

1.Snacks: Bring the snacks. All of them. You will not be sorry. Depending on how old your baby is, this is SO key. Hangry is a word for a reason. Feed the baby! Cheerios, puffs, squeeze pouches, cut up fruit, whatever your child is into (assuming they are old enough) bring it! I like to pack my snacks in these:

They are perfect for portioning out different types of snacks and they are stackable– so easy to store in your diaper bag and BONUS, you can stack them and they can double as a toy!

2.Colorful books: The thinner and more condensed the better. My oldest loved the books with textures, pop-ups, and tabs!

3. Manipulatives: Cheerios and a shoestring or ribbon. You can spend an awful lot of time stringing Cheerios together and it also doubles as a snack. Blocks, stacking cups, teething toys, finger puppets

4. Music or Music videos: All my babies loved music. We watched Veggie Tales, Mother Goose Club, Superbots Super songs, etc

5.Etch a sketch: This is more appropriate for older babies obviously, but I love them because its low mess and it’s still fun for them!

6.The Barf Bag: You obviously don’t need to carry it on, but I’ve spent many a flight getting creative with them! You can make a puppet, play peek-a-boo. Put toys in there and let them pull them out one at a time. Let them wave it around. Make an airplane. The possibilities are endless.

5. Teethers/pacifiers/bottles: Pretty self-explanatory, but please double check that you have all bottle parts. Or you could end up with the bottle base, the lid and no nipple. Has that ever happened to you? #askingforafriend

6. Diapers + wipes + diaper sacks: If I’m flying, I try to shoot for one diaper for every 2 hours I’m going to be on the airplane plus an extra 2 (one for just before we board and one just after we land). I try to pack the rest in my checked luggage. No one knows whats going to happen. Maybe your flight gets delayed, maybe your plane is forced to circle due to weather or traffic, whatever.

7.Disposable Placemat + Antibacterial Wipes: Holy germs, Batman!! The tray, the armrests, the floor– I just can’t. Especially, with a new baby, the first thing I do is break out my wipes and wipe everything down and then put the disposable place mat (the kind with the adhesive so it sticks) on the tray tables we’ll be using. Ain’t nobody got time for a sick baby!

8.Socks+ Jacket + Blanket: Planes get cold. I make sure to always bring a light jacket or blanket (age dependent) for my baby. Socks are nice to keep their feet warm, but also if your kid is of an age where they are trying to walk or stand up by the seat, keeps those tootsies clean-ish (at least cleaner than bare feet on that carpet- bleh!).

Pro-tip. If your baby has their own seat, you can use the blanket the airline gives you to make a “tent” for your baby to try and get some rest. I tuck one end between the seatback and the frame of the seat we are sitting in and the seat in front of me (be a good neighbor!) and voila, a dark cave that cuts down on distractions and can help you lull that sweet cherub to sleep!

9. Baby Carrier: You CANNOT wear your baby for take-off and landing, just for your information. My recommendation for the baby carrier is for ease entering/exiting the plane and getting around the airport. Its nice have two hands to grab bags or other children’s hands!

10. Two changes of clothes: Because it’s a baby and poop happens.

I gotta know! What are your baby must haves?  Please comment below. 

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Kristen is the founder and content creator at Mom Managing Chaos where she teaches busy moms how to simplify and organize their life and finances. She writes about frugal living, budgeting, productivity and organization.