Hand Luggage for Kids – 8 Tips on What You Should Pack
The eternal dilemma still persists even after years of living in two different parts of Europe, travelling to the end of the world and back, and several solo travels with child. What to pack for a plane trip to keep the little one happy and mum stress-free? We would like to share some useful tips that have helped us turn packing into a routine procedure, thus making plane travel a bit more carefree.
8 useful tips on what to pack in your hand luggage
1. The key lies in a well-organised carry-on bag:
- Children under 2 years are entitled to 1 piece of baggage, which is usually one collapsible baby stroller or one car seat.
The child itself is not entitled to hand luggage (keep this in mind, especially with low-budget airlines). Your hand luggage should be well-organised and big enough for a trip with a child. In this way, if a crisis occurs, you will have easy access to whatever you need. When travelling with a kid, we warmly recommend the use of a backpack – it will enable you to have both hands free in case your child needs attention. We highly reccomend backpack similar to brand Okkatots, which is large and neatly organized backpack, that has come in handy many times since a baby stage, and is also useful as a weekend travel bag. It is great if you have a backpack with multiple pockets including a cooling one for liquids, a separate diaper department, a pocket for the dummy and all the rest. The backpack enables you to keep everything organized, reachable, and upright.
Children over 2 years are entitled not only to the cost of a plane ticket but also to 1 piece of hand luggage. I used the Okkatots backpack for my son for a while, but since I mostly travel alone, the 2 pieces of hand luggage became a bit redundant. Especially if your two-year-old likes to run around exploring and is quick on his feet. So, I came across children travel suitcase Trunki, and it has become an indispensable part of kid’s luggage. Everything you need for your child fits inside, and he can also ride it the same way as a balance bike. You can carry it on your shoulder or even pull him. Very useful gadget for all parents who travel extensively.
Documents must be kept in a special compartment in your hand luggage for easy access. We suggest you wrap them in an extra zip lock bag. Do not forget about:
- Plane tickets,
- assport or ID card (check the validity of your documents and the list of countries you can only enter with your ID!),
- health card and health insurance for abroad (if travelling often, consider a less expensive family or yearly insurance package)
- rent-a-car documents,
- marriage certificate in a foreign language for some countries (in case you have two different surnames).
- On the way: make sure your child is wearing light and comfortable clothing and always have an extra top piece at hand, especially if you are taking a plane flight.
- If you are planning a longer flight, take the kid’s pyjamas with you. It will help him/her go to sleep faster and in a more comfortable manner. Routine is of the utmost importance when dealing with kids.
- Take at least one extra set of spare clothes, underwear, socks, and bodies. Consider also the weather and temperatures at your final destination. The worst thing is dressing your child in winter clothes, when the temperature at your destination is over 30 degrees. If you are planning a longer flight (7h+), double the amount of spare clothing; you might need that extra pair of underwear in case of any unexpected stops.
- Separate the clothes from the rest of the luggage, and be sure to separate the underwear from the rest of the clothes. I put the underwear in special zip lock bags. This enables me to have easier access to them.
- Slippers are necessary for longer flights so the child can walk around on the plane.
4. A multitude of toys. They need to be small enough for the child to able to carry them around, and for you to be able to pack them up in bags for easy access. Never take the same toys, instead try to keep them versatile and exciting.
5. Children’s books, colouring books, mini puzzles, and a tablet with animated films. Kids aged 2+ can be easily distracted by such activities for an hour or two. As with toys, try to change kis material on every flight you take, for a longer attention spam. Do not forget to take some colouring pencils with you, although most of the airlines offer them.
6. Snacks, snacks, snacks … and his favourite drink.
- For babies – if you are nursing, it is probably the most comfortable way to take care of your baby’s needs. If you are feeding your baby with AM, make sure that you have the milk measured out in separate bottles stored close by (many stores have a perfect and affordable product for that). All you need to do is ask the stewardess for some warm water. Make sure you have enough supply of AM for the trip and always add an extra measure cup. If possible, try to feed the baby during take off and landing to make the changes in cabin air pressure more pleasant for the child.
- For children who are already a bit familiar with solid foods, we suggest puréed fruits in bags (fruit pouch); they are more practical than classical feeding. Take enough liquids, depending on what your child prefers (milk, juice, water, tea).
- For bigger kids – take their favourite snacks or, if they usually don’t like the food on the plane, prepare a meal in advance. For shorter flights, we recommend dried fruits, crackers, biscuits or salted sticks to keep you and the little one busy. Don’t forget about kid’s favourite juice, milk or bottle. I like to take coconut water with me, since it is very refreshing, a natural source of electrolytes, and a boost for the immune system.
- Keep snacks and drinks in special insulated compartments, or in purpose – made bags that hold temperature.
- Don’t forget to take a spoon or a bib with you.
7. Small essentials for a more comfortable trip:
- A baby carrier or a sling appropriate for babies will be of much help at airports and on the plane (my son was most comfortable sleeping in the sling for the entire flight)
- A small cushion to put under the head (for a more enjoyable sleep)
- A big shawl that can be sued as a scarf and for the little one to have as a blanket, or even for changing nappies,
- A cotton hat, because you never how much AC you are going to get,
- A dummy and a sleeping favourite toy, if your little one uses them,
- A travel potty, if you are in the phase of introducing the potty, or if the child is still too small to use one. We use and reccomend Pottete Plus, since it does not take a lot of space, it’s really convenient, and you can use it in public toilets as a hygienic shield for the seat.
8. Essential baby cosmetics (especially for a long flight):
- Handkerchiefs, baby wipes
- physiological solution and a small disinfectant bottle,
- Multifunctional water spray that has a calming, refreshing and moisturising effect,
- Enough nappies for the trip (always take an extra one)
For a longer flight or possible stops, take also:
- Painkillers and paracetamol (reduces fever),
- plasters, sterile gauze pads, small bandages,
- toothbrush and toothpaste,
- thermometer and nasal aspirator.
Read more advice on how to prepare for a carefree flight here.
The above descriptions are based on personal impressions and experiences gained while travelling with my family. For more information, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org