We’ve all been there. It’s time for your summer vacation. You’ve made all the arrangements; the hotel is booked and the plane tickets have been purchased. You have everything packed (you hope) and are ready to go. Or are you?
I don’t know about you, but I never seem to know just what I’m supposed to pack in Little Bud’s diaper bag. I will inevitably end up taking my teensy weensy diaper bag, not wanting to over pack and have to deal with more stuff than I will need. Either that or I end up lugging my giant weekender along with me on the plane, struggling with it the entire time, only to realize that it doesn’t fit in the overhead bin, whereas I will have to finish my flight with it crammed under my feet.
So what’s a mom to do? How do you know how much of what to take along with you on your trip? Take a look at this checklist of items to pack, and leave the rest at home. Believe me, you will be glad that you did!
The first thing to consider when planning for any kind of plane trip with a small child is your flight. How long will you be on the plane? Will you have any layovers? Just be sure to pack enough supplies to last you the entire duration of your anticipated flight, plus a little extra, just in case your baggage doesn’t meet you at the airport (I speak from experience!).
This might seem like a given, but the kind of diaper bag you choose to take on the plane can make all the difference in the world. Consider a messenger style bag or backpack/sling pack diaper bag (we love the Ju-Ju-Be BFF). They allow you to keep your hands free in order to deal with other children or baggage. I personally like a backpack style myself. It allows me enough room to pack for Little Bud while still having the extra space for my wallet, cell phone, keys, and plane tickets. I can wear it on my back while pushing the stroller through the airport, or leave it hanging on the handles. Whichever kind you opt for, just make sure it has lots of pockets for organization.
What to Pack in Your Bag…
Diapers, diapers, diapers - You can never be too careful. A good rule of thumb is to pack 2 diapers for every hour of your trip. You may not need them, but if you do, you will be glad you have them! This is one item you DO NOT want to skimp on when packing your bag.
Wipes – Wipes are a staple in every mom’s go-to bag, but pack extras. They are great for cleaning dirty faces and hands, and you can use them to wipe down just about any surface. I have even used them to remove stains from my clothes. Hey, it works!
Hand Sanitizer – Thousands of people pass through airports everyday, and they bring their germs with them. Protect yourself and your baby by taking along a small bottle of hand sanitizer and use it often. This is also helpful for those cramped, airplane restroom diaper changes. If you can’t wash your hands, sanitizer will get you by in a pinch.
Medications – Make sure to pack Tylenol, gas relief drops, a small tube of diaper rash ointment, and some Orajel (if your baby is teething). Keep in mind that Murphy’s Law will prevail. Your baby has no idea that a plane is not the greatest place to come down with a tummy ache, so be prepared.
Extra Clothes – Always make sure to pack of change of clothes for your little one, and throw them into a zip-top baggie before putting them in the diaper bag. In the event that your little one has a blowout, you can swap the clothes out and store the dirty duds in the bag. The sealed baggie is great for keeping that poopy smell to a minimum.
Food – If your baby bottle feeds, bring enough formula and bottles for the trip. Consider using a bottle system with pre-sterilized, disposable liners. This way, you can simply toss the liner when the baby is through, instead of having to worry about carting around a dirty bottle. If your child is older, make sure to pack enough juice and snacks to keep them happy during the flight. Consider using disposable bibs and take-n-toss utensils to make it as easy on yourself as possible.
Receiving Blankets – This is one of the best things I brought on our last trip. They can be rolled down quite small for easy storage, but serve several needs; burp cloths, nursing covers, and changing station liners. Instead of sanitizing that icky airport changing table each time, try throwing down a receiving blanket. They cover much more than a traditional changing pad, and are easier to tote in the bag (just make sure to designate it as the “changing table blanket”, so as not use the germy one as your nursing cover or burp cloth).
Distractions – Bring along a few small toys or other distractions to keep your older toddler busy. Most children will be well-behaved on a plane as long as they are occupied, so keep them engaged with a fun coloring book and some non-toxic crayons. I like to include a brand new “surprise” toy in our bag. When Big Bud gets antsy, I can whip it out. By the time the novelty of the new toy wears off, we’ve reached our destination.
Comfort Items – Does your baby take a pacifier? Bring it! The sucking action will help ease the dreaded ear-popping. Make sure to bring along anything that comforts your child. An airplane can be scary, so anything familiar will help. A favorite lovie or stuffed animal might also do the trick.
Tip #1; Pre-warm a bottle and have it ready to go when you get on the plane, just in case. It takes a while for the cabin crew to boil the water needed to warm a bottle, so have one ready in case you need it.
Tip #2; Dress your child in layers. Planes can often be chilly, so dress your child in a light jacket and pants. You can always remove them if it gets too warm.
Tip #3; Try to bring along items that will serve multiple purposes. Less items in the bag means less you have to deal with.
Tip #4; Overnight or extra-absorbency diapers work great for plane trips. In case you do have to change a diaper on the plane, ask the cabin crew for assistance. They will usually set the fold-away changing table up for you if you let them know you need it.
The most important thing to remember when traveling with children is to not let yourself get stressed out. If you need help, ask for it. Flight personnel are there to assist you, so take advantage. Go here to double check the TSA guidelines for traveling with children.