I used to bring a ton of stuff on the plane in response to all the “what if” questions, but I ended up schlepping around a bunch of things I didn’t need. After a lot of trial and error I have a streamlined system pretty much down pat. Here is my ride-or-die packing list for my plane bag.
A big, durable bag I’ve traveled with a lot of bags but this one is my all time favorite. It is shallow and wide which lets me easily access everything inside. Nothing gets lost in the bottom (plus, it’s waterproof!). Other bags I love: this leather tote and this backpack.
Organizational bags I use these canvas bags to organize the inside of my large carryall. I pack one with diapers and wipes, one with my bag of tricks, and one for my wallet, phone, and travel documents.
Baby Carrier The Ergo 360 is our favorite carrier. It allows us to carry our babies facing out or in, it’s easy to get on and off, and they sleep well in it. I also like the Solly Baby wrap for babies under one.
FOOD + DRINK
Snacks Bring all the snacks. Everyone is different but I don’t typically pack a whole meal for the plane. It usually goes bad before we get to it or our kids see a Chick Fil A on the way to the terminal which means game over for anything I packed. I bring lots of healthy snacks like almonds, apple slices, bananas, string cheese, and blueberries (and also some crackers, veggie straws, and cheerios). I pack them all in stasher bags. Stasher bags are so great. I use them for everything. They are especially great for keeping crunchy snacks from breaking.
Portable Cooler I pack our snacks in this cooler and it helps a ton. It has a built in icepack so you just stick the whole thing in the freeze the night before and you’re good to go. We typically use it a few times on the trip, too.
Headphones We both have a pair of these wireless headphones. Our 3-year-old loves these ones (They’re pink! and purple! They light up! They are wireless! Buy them.) and our babies wear these, which are built inside of a headband. I’ll put them on with some white noise or piano lullaby music and it helps calm her down.
iPad or tablet Our three-year-old has all of her belongings in her own backpack (see below) except for the iPad. Out of sight, out of mind (at least this is what I tell myself). I bring it out when I need to but try to push it off as long as possible. A few of our favorite apps are Endless ABC’s, Daniel Tiger, and Starfall ABC’s. A durable case is a must–we use this waterproof one.
Book I rarely have the chance to read on the plane, but I pack one just in case or download it to audible. I listen to podcasts a lot which gives my brain somewhere to go while still having hands free. My favorites right now are Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, How I Built This, and Armchair Expert.
Jacket We are either leaving somewhere cold or going somewhere cold so layers are a must. This jacket is my go-to.
Portable Charger My phone always dies when we travel. This charger is a beast and carries seven full charges.
Bag of tricks lollipop (lasts much longer than other candy–I pick one up from the Trader Joe’s check out), washi tape, window stickers, a small car…anything small and cheap that will bring joy and buy you a few minutes.
Water wipes Water wipes are the only wipes we use. We use them for diaper changes, hand wiping, surface cleaning..pretty much everything.
Pacifier Clips Our baby loves pacifiers and she also loves to throw them on the ground. There is nothing worse than losing your only paci before boarding the plane. We strap these to her shirt with clips so they won’t go anywhere.
Lotion I have super dry skin anyway so planes soak up any remaining moisture in my body. This lotion keeps my skin hydrated while traveling.
Next up: what’s in the kids backpacks.