Unless you're loading into the family truckster and heading out on a road trip, chances are that you’re going to have to pack a carry-on bag for your kids on your next trip. If you’re traveling by air it gets pretty tricky. After years of travel with kids, here are my six golden rules for kids who are walking and out of diapers.
1. Get your child a backpack. No, not one from REI that can hold camping gear for a week, but one that’s just their size, and when full isn’t too heavy for them to carry. There is nothing chic about being a pack-mule so get your kids used to carrying their own stuff early.
When my son was three we got him a rolling Thomas the Tank Engine backpack, but as soon as he was big enough to carry something on his back we ditched the wheels. This may sound crazy, but it’s hard to forget a bag that’s attached to your back and it keeps their hands free for escalators and picking up the random “treasure” (aka garbage). Pottery Barn has a great selection of small and medium size packs with pockets and straps to keep it all together.
2. Take an empty sippy-cup or water bottle. TSA does allow some liquids over 3 oz for babies and toddlers, but it’s a blurry line and if you’re anywhere near post-toddlerhood, just don’t bother with the liquids. Even though some airlines offer lids for their cups, not all do so for the sake of your sanity, belongings and lap, take a cup.
3. Pack snacks, not a feast. You want your little lovey to be able to carry her own bag so be mindful of the weight. Unless you have specific eating requirements or are going to be in the air for 20 hours, a couple small items should do the trick. If you’re sitting in the back of the plane don’t count on buying food onboard. The good stuff usually goes fast.
4. Entertainment is a must. I, myself, am a huge fan of a loaded up iPod and/or the Nintendo DS. I always throw in a couple of books, a few cars and drawing material too, but don’t kid yourself, your goal on a plane is peace and quiet not educational enrichment. Whatever you’re into, bring it, but keep weight in mind.
5. Zip-lock bags for organizing. I love them and their many uses. Put like items in zip-lock bags (ex. crayons with paper, headphones with iPod, games with DS). The transparent bags make it easy to see what
you're grabbing and by having stuff together there will be less digging around. Plus, if a drink does get spilled you can dump out the books and store the wet clothes in your zip-lock.
6. Bring something warm. Airplanes are like movie theaters, even when it’s 100 degrees outside they are freezing inside. If you child has a blankie that will do. If not, bring a hoodie or long-sleeve shirt. Even if they aren’t cold they can use it for a pillow.
These are the basics, and assumes that you’ll be carrying necessities like hand wipes for wiping down the tray table, hand sanitizer and extra clothes if potty-training is still a work in progress.
Have any chic carry-on tips? Share with us!
I'm a recovering attorney/CEO and NBA executive turned entrepreneur. Before I could travel in style I just traveled, bed bug bites and all.True story. Today, I'm fortunate enough to visit iconic locations and stay in the very best hotels with my husband and son. So, whether you're living the champagne travel reality or just dreaming about it, I'm glad you're here!