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10 Must-Pack Items When Flying With Kids



By Vicki Little

Don’t you just love those feel-good stories about the kind person who sat with the crying baby until they calmed down, then gave Mom a break for the entire flight? You blissfully float through daydreams as you pack your own family for your upcoming trip, and then your hopes are dashed as your toddler goes streaking down the aisle and throws his toys at the gentleman in front of him, who is certainly NOT going to take over the job of entertaining your child. Hope for the best, but expect the worst, and be prepared by making sure you have packed these 10 items before you head to the airport.

  1. Something New to Watch. While their favorite cartoons or movies will grab their attention initially, it probably won’t hold their focus as long as a new movie will. The best bet will be a movie that just got released onto DVD or digital download.
  2. Something to Suck On. A bottle, a sucker, a pacifier — anything that your child can suck on to ease the pain of clogged ears is a definite must-have. If you can trust your child to not stick gum on the seats or choke on it, that is another great option to keep on hand.
  3. Something to Snack On. Trust me, Goldfish crackers are NOT your friend on an airplane. Snacks that your kids enjoy and are not messy will keep clean-up at a minimum and keep fidgety hands occupied.
  4. A Blanket or Cozy Coat. I have yet to be on a flight where I didn’t need a non-itchy blanket to keep my kids warm or a zipperless coat to wrap around my neck. Maybe first-class has better blankets and pillows, I don’t know. But I have never regretted bringing my own.
  5. Change of Clothes. Things happen — accidents, upset stomachs, spilled drinks, and things you can’t even imagine. Think like a Boy Scout and be prepared.
  6. A Few Dollars. I will admit I rarely have change or bills in my wallet since my debit card is so much more convenient. But I am not above bribing my kids with a snack from the vending machine if they behave in the airport.
  7. Extra Chargers. Most likely you will be using your electronics a lot more during your trip, and it is Murphy’s Law that they will die right when you need them the most. Take advantage of the wait time in the airport and re-charge the electronics.
  8. New Toys and Books. Groups of toys in little baggies are perfect. When they get bored of the bags with cars, bring out the activity book. When they are bored with that, bring out the toy they haven’t seen for months. Cuddle up and read a new book to your child when others are sleeping. Having a lot of options is helpful. The longer the flight, the more options you will need.
  9. Travel Games, Paper and Crayons. We have our immediate go-to games such as I-Spy, Would You Rather, 20 Questions, Tic-Tac-Toe, Hangman and various card games. My daughter can color for a long time, and even longer if I color with her. Make sure the games are short so if you are interrupted by meals, boarding, or anything else, you can stop and start a new game easily.
  10. Electronics. There is no such thing as too much screen time when you are traveling. Period.

Do you have a tip for traveling with young kids?

Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, reading, camping, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.


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