Travel

10 Essentials To Pack In A Kid’s Carry On

If you have been around my blog for a while, you know I am a professional procrastinator. I tend to put off packing until the very last possible second so having a checklist of things to pack is a huge help. There is nothing worse than getting on the plane and realizing you forgot something you will need to make your child more relaxed. To help you guys (and my future self) out, I have compiled a list of our family’s top 10 essentials to pack in a kid’s carry on. Let’s dive in.

1. Snacks

Much like my advice for hiking with kids, PACK ALL OF THE SNACKS! Okay, maybe not all of them because some aren’t TSA approved, but have a good variety for your tiny travelers. Snacks are good for literally everything. Whether your child is hungry or you need some form of encouragement to get them to calm down, snacks will be your best friend.

 

2. Tablet & Charger

Just because we try to limit screen time does not mean we don’t appreciate the lifesaving qualities of a tablet. Between educational games, books, and movies, tablets are a great way to keep your littles happy. Make sure your tablet is fully charged before you board the plane. Some airlines have USB charging ports in the seats so be sure to pack a charger just in case.

 

3. Headphones

Some airlines offer in-flight movies, but the headphones they provide are really cheap earbuds. If your kids are younger, chances are these earbuds will either be too big or they won’t want you sticking them in. That’s where investing in a pair of over the ear headphones comes in handy. Not only are over the ear headphones excellent for in flight movies and tablets, but they will help block out some of the background noises. For my kids, less noise means more likely to fall asleep which is a huge help.

 

4. Kid Friendly Activities

Whether your flight is 1 hour or 11 hours, you are going to need some kind of entertainment for your kids. Even if you packed a trusty tablet, there’s always the chance of running out of battery or WiFi so it’s best to be prepared with backups. For a whole range of ideas, check out my last post on kid friendly travel activities. If you would like more variety than that, Pinterest is loaded with ideas.

 

5. Neck Pillow And/Or Stuffed Animal

I listed these two items together because we have been in a pinch before where we used a stuffy as a neck pillow and it turned out okay. We also just found a SUPER cool neck pillow at Target *heart eyes emoji* that is a 2-in-1 deal. It starts as a stuffed animal and unzips to a neck pillow. It’s such a space saver to have one that doubles as a pillow. The reason these are on the essentials to pack in a kid’s carry on list is because you want your child to be as comfortable as possible. The more comfortable they are, the more likely they are to behave or even fall asleep. Bringing a neck pillow is one super simple way to accomplish that.

 

6. Empty Water Bottle

Unless you are packing water for formula, TSA is going to confiscate your liquids at check in. A really easy way to avoid spending a small fortune on water at the airport shops is to pack empty water bottles. When you get through TSA, head to a water fountain and fill it up. Another great reason to have empty bottles is for the in-flight beverage. Younger travelers might not be able to use the cups provided by the airlines. If you come prepared with their favorite sippy cup, you are avoiding spills and making things more comfortable for your child.

 

7. Extra Diapers

The most essential of all the essentials to pack in a kid’s carry on! We have all heard horror stories about flights being delayed for long periods of time. Hopefully you don’t run into that issue, but if you do you will be glad you prepared adequately. Always pack twice as many diapers as you think you will need for the duration of your flight just in case. It’s better to be over prepared than not prepared enough.

 

8. Extra Wet Naps/Wipes

Spills and accidents are inevitable no matter what the setting. At least for our kids, it happens a little more frequently when they are trapped in a tiny space and can’t move around properly. It’s always smart to be prepared with more wipes than you need in the event you need to clean something up.

 

9. Change Of Clothes

Blow out diapers and spilled drinks are just a few scenarios that pop into my head when thinking of why it’s essential to pack a change of clothes. A change of clothes could also be beneficial for a long, overnight flight. Sometimes changing your child into their jammies and doing a makeshift bedtime routine will help them feel more comfortable and likely to fall asleep.

 

10. Jacket or Blanket

Unless this is your very first time boarding a plane, I’m sure know how cold it can get. Even if you’re leaving from Hawaii where it’s hot and sunny, inside the plane is a totally different climate. Having a jacket or favorite blanket is a great way to ensure that your child is never too cold. Again, the more comfortable they are, the easier your life will be.

 

Did I Miss Any Essentials To Pack In A Kid’s Carry On?

That wraps up our family’s top 10 essentials to pack in a kid’s carry on. Let me know if your family packs anything else that’s not on my list in the comments below. We are always looking for ideas on how to improve our in flight experience so if you have any other ideas, hook a sister up!

If you love what you’ve read or think it could help out someone you know, share this post to spread the love. Don’t forget to follow me on social to get in on behind the scenes action in our lives. As always, thank you so much for taking the time to read about our adventures out in Our Happy Place 🙂


There is nothing worse than getting on the plane and realizing you forgot something you will need to make your child more relaxed. To help you guys (and my future self) out, I have complied a list of our family’s top 10 essentials to pack in a kid’s carry on. Let’s dive in.

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