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Traveling with a little one? The best advice is to pack you carry on bag light. It is absolutely true, especially if you solo traveling with kids. As the only adult to pack all the stuff, you will need an extra hand.
But, some of us are chronic over packers. I am.
This is my attempt to keep my carry-on bags light, while bringing it all. I always check one bag because it is totally worth the $25-50.
Most of the time I pack two carry on bags for travel. One with all the baby necessities for the travel day – Typically this all goes in my Lug Bag (Find it at Lagoon Baby or Well.ca). And a second bag like this nifty light weight back pack I borrowed.
Airline Carry On Bag Restrictions
Quantity: Most airlines let you bring a personal item and a carry on bag PLUS items for the baby in one bag & a stroller/car seat for gate check. (That’s a TOTAL of 3 bags – one for under your seat, and 2 in the over head) Serious. It would be totally crazy to navigate that much stuff and baby in an airport.
Liquids: Don’t fret about baby liquids. Traveling with someone one under 24 months gives you much more flexibility in how much liquid you can bring. If needed, baby food, formula and breastmilk don’t need to meet the maximum 2oz size. Make it easier for security and pull it out for easier inspection —before they do. (on our way home from Quebec we brought back two bottles of amoxycillin, a yogurt cup, plus my regular liquids, no questions asked! I just pulled it out and placed it in the tray and because the yogurt was for the baby, it was a-okay).
How to Pack a Carry On Bag
I love packing everything in ziplock bags, or other easily sortable pouches in my carry on bag. Since this trip, I now use an assortment of reusable wet bags to keep my bag tidy. Check them out at CozyBums in Canada or Diaper Junction in the USA. . This helps me keep track of all the little things, and makes it easier for me to find what I’m looking for.
Pack only what you need and try not to get carried away. I always remind myself I can buy it if I forget it.
What’s in MY Carry on Bag?
- Liquids & Medications: Hand Sanitizer, Hand Lotion, Infant Tylenol, Diaper Rash Cream, Lanolin PLUS my personal medications and adult tylenol.
- Electronics: iPad, phone PLUS chargers & power charging brick.
- Snacks & Personal Items: Granola Bars for me, Teething biscuits for Little Man, kleenexes, Deodorant and neck pillow (neither of which I used and were removed from my bag on the return trip).
- Baby Supplies: Diapers, Diaper Cover, Wipes, Change Pad, Hand & Face Wipes, Muslin Blanket (for everything and more), soother.
- Change of Clothes: Fresh shirt & underwear for me, Sleeper for baby.
- Toys: Easy to pack toys such as Sophie the Giraffe or Fun Beads. But of course, he never uses them because the world at the airport is much more interesting.
- Not Shown: In my backpack I have my hand pump and bottles packed, my wrap and soft structured carrier (SSC), and a coat. I used my SSC at the airport, but also brought my wrap because its worth too much too loose in my checked bag. Check out the selection of SSC at Lagoon Baby (Canada) or Diaper Junction (USA) to find something that would work for you.
I never used my spare outfit till the return flight when I smeared chocolate all over my shirt. Walter also pooped out of his diaper. We flew 6 times and did not use either of them, so I was skeptical. They are useful to have in the chance a flight is delayed, a bag is lost, or someone has an accident (both child and adult).
I would pack less toys in my carry on bag. I didn’t take Sophie. I took a new chew toy we had, along with the circular toy. But even with just two toys, Walter is much more interested in other things. Like my empty water cup, or water bottle. He much rather sleep or play with something else.
Muslin Blankets are perfect for anything and everything. They make a quick change table, they work as an impromptu cover if you’re seated next to someone you don’t feel like showing your boob too. They are easy and light to pack. Bring one.
Disposable diapers take up much less room than cloth diapers. I have traveled with cloth on the airplane, but that was just a short day. When flying long flights it adds to the extra bulk and traveling with disposables meant my bag just got lighter as the day went on! I’d also recommend bringing a roll of bags to put your diapers in for disposal. The airline hostess will likely give you one, but its also good to have on hand.
Where possible try to pack your coat in your checked luggage. If you have to walk out on the tarmac to your plane this might not be possible, but if you can it really cuts down on the things you need to remember. I forgot my sweater on the plane from Italy, and keeping track of my jacket on the way back to Montreal was another thing in my already full arms. On the way to Montreal I shoved it in my bag, but I had done some shopping at the airport and my bags were already too full! (oops).
One Last Thing
The last little thing I add to my carry on bag is a reusable grocery bag. It squishes into the carry on bag easily and provides extra space at the airport. You can pack up snacks and drinks purchased at the airport, or even if you do some airport shopping.
I also loved it for when I boarded the plane. I could put the items I needed for the flight in it while leaving my diaper bag in the over head compartment. This left me with more leg room. After boarding, I would toss a snack in it, my headphones, my ipad/iphone, a toy, soother, and the muslin blanket. Then my other bags were placed in the overhead compartment and I had a small bag at my feet and the room to stretch out!