Despite the fact that I am one of those who loves to travel light, I carry a lot of things on board the aircraft. One factor is the time length of my trips, which often last between 10 and 14 hours. Also, the fact that I once was stranded on Newark for several hours, has taught me to plan for the unexpectedly.
First, make sure you know how many lbs you can carry with you. Remember to ask how much extra you can bring on board for you kid/kids – often you are allowed to bring extra lbs. Also, ask what kind of food they serve on board that works for your kid. You see, you have to make sure you book the food ahead, or your kid will get the grown-up food. That has always worked for my kids, but if you have a picky eater, find out what kind of food they serve.
Since I fly often, I want to make sure my kids really enjoyed doing it. I stock up on small inexpensive gifts, like new cars, crayons, drawing materials and other things that can keep them occupied.
After take off they get the first gift, and after switching airplanes they get the next and so on. I normally do not think that you should spoil a kid, but I rather give them things wrapped up in paper that can keep them occupied for some time, than letting them eat a lot of candy (which I know a lot f parents does).
This is what I use to pack in my hand luggage:
- One extra pair of clothes for both you and the kids – anything can happen (and your luggage might get lost)
- A chapter story book to read from
- Tylenol or similar (discuss with your pediatritian what kind of medication to bring)
- A couple of KoolAid portions to mix with water (make sure those little ones drink a lot)
- If you travel with a baby, bring some extra jars of baby food. But remember, airplanes do not have microwaves so pick those that can be eaten cold
- Fill up those Ipods, mp3-players with story-books, games-apps for kids.
- It is often cold on the airplane. Dress warm in layers, if it gets cold – remove a layer.
- Spill-free sip cups. Awesome on an airplane.
- Nasal spray. Give as directed by your pediatrician, around15 minutes before entering the airplane (helps with that ear pressure)
- Diapers (remember: it is very good to have quite a few more than you think you actually need. It might take longer time than expected and in case your bags are sent somewhere else than you, you are covered for another day).
- Anti-bacterial gel or wipes.
- Tooth brushes (if it is a long distance flight). There are excellent single use toothbrushes nowadays.
- Something for the kids to drink: You are not allowed to carry a lot of fluid through the security check. My suggestion is that you go straight to the stores inside the gate and buy a couple of juices. But make sure you check the regulations ahead. I used to buy a fresh bottle of water for the long distance flight, to mix with formula. (As a matter of fact, I made sure to mix a bottle of formula before entering the air plane – the less hassle on board, the better).
- Some bribes for the kids, in case of despair. Lollipops works good for my kids.
There tend to be a lot of changes when it comes to what you are allowed to bring on board. Make sure you check when you book, so that you know both the weight limit and the limitations of fluids.