Tips for a Toddler’s Hand Luggage

As much as I love long-haul destinations, getting ready for the flight can be quite stressful. Many of us worry how we can keep our baby or toddler happy during the long hours on the plane. So, being organised when packing our hand luggage is crucial.

After several long-haul flights with a baby-now-toddler, I’ve put together a list of useful things to pack when flying with a young child. Remember, there are very few restrictions for hand luggage when travelling with a little one and it’s no problem to bring food and drink on board.

Here are my tips for what to pack when travelling with a toddler – a list which has served us well over the past couple of years. To keep it simple I’ve grouped it into four categories:

1. Eat: Snacks, snacks and a few more snacks.

  • Lunchbox with a meal that can be eaten cold, i.e. ready meal, cold pasta, sandwich etc. Usually kids aren’t served a meal aboard (unless they have their own seat), so it’s good to bring something nutritious that let’s them partake in the meal (and fills them up).
  • A variety of snacks, maybe some new or special ones as a surprise. While I’m normally quite strict about snack times, anything goes on a long flight…
  • Simple crockery
  • A bottle of water
  • Milk. I find pre-portioned formula easiest.

2. Sleep: All we can do is try.

  • Pyjamas. Changing into sleeping clothes helps keep little ones comfortable over night and signal it’s sleep time.
  • Sleeping bag / blanket – whatever they are used to sleeping in.
  • Perhaps a small blanked to soften the seat / bassinet.
  • Comforters / stuffed toys – whatever your little one clings onto at night.

3. Stay Clean

  • Nappies. Enough to cover time at the airport and the flight itself. Also factor in potential delays.
  • Nappy sacks. It’s only fair to the other passengers…
  • Wipes.
  • Muslin cloths for the little ones.
  • Changing mat / disposable changing mat.
  • Tooth brush & paste.
  • Creams and lotions baby may be using.
  • A change of clothes. To start the day with on an overnight flight and just in case…

4. Stay Happy

  • Books. A couple of current favourites, the smaller the better.
  • Kids headphones. The headphones provided on board aren’t suitable for children, especially little ones, so worth bringing a pair made especially for young kids.
  • A small selection of toys that can keep your little one entertained for a while and ideally over and over again. I like to take a few bricks, a couple of pens or crayons, card games or puzzles – whatever is popular with Rosie at the time (and ideally light!). Take them out of the packaging and pack them in zip-lock bags to save space.
  • A surprise. We always get a couple of new games or books to surprise Rosie with on the flight (holding the second one back for the return flight). Nothing fancy just something small to get her excited and put a smile on her face.

Wondering what else you need when travelling with a baby or young child? I’ve posted my full checklist of what to pack when going on holiday with a baby or toddler here. 



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