Tips For Packing A Carry On Bag For A Child

Tips For Packing A Carry On Bag For A Child


Once children are over the age of 2 years old you are required to purchase their own seat when flying.  Although this does add to the cost of a family vacation there is an added benefit.  The child is able to bring on their own carry on luggage and I highly recommend it in order to spread the load.  The focus for a carry on for children should be entertainment especially if you are boarding a long flight. Generally, children under the age of 7 have shorter attention spans and while they may be able to sit through a whole movie if it interest them an activity, such as coloring, will typically only last 15-30 minutes.  That is barely enough time to taxi along the runway for take off so you need to be prepared!  Here are some tips for packing a carry on bag for a child:

Tips For Packing A Carry On Bag For A Child

Electronics – The biggest bang for you buck will be from small devices holding a variety of applications such as an iPad or V-Tech loaded with learning games or e-books. Just remember to charge these devices prior to departure as there may not be an opportunity along the way.   I know that we have talked about limits on screen time, but there are also times when you need to be flexible with your normal screen time rules and this is one of them.  It is only temporary and you will be back exploring your destination soon enough.

Activities – Essentials include crayons or markers, coloring books, small puzzles, and a few books After you’ve put in the essentials make sure your kids pick out a few of their favorite toys to bring along.  It is also worth bring along a set of head phones for kids to wear for in-flight movies as ear buds are becoming more popular now, but are harder for kids to wear.

Clothing – Skip packing the pajamas they take up valuable space. Dressing your child in layers for a flight is crucial especially if you are expecting a dramatic change of temperatures from beginning to end of trip. I usually make sure I have their flip flops and a pair of shorts packed on the top of their checked luggage making it a quick change before leaving the airport in warmer climates. If landing in the late evening consider putting pajamas on top of your checked luggage instead.

Snacks –  Snacks are a must if you don’t want to spend a fortune on in-flight options. Children typically can’t wait for the full in-flight service to get rolling or may have fallen asleep during the service and awake starving. Pack double what you think you might need – just trust me on this!  Also bring an empty water bottle or sippy cup you can fill once you get through security, pour your child’s drinks into to it to help limit any spills during your travels.

Tips For Packing A Carry On For A Child

Make sure the carry on bag is a size and weight your child can handle and wear on their own.  It is not really any help to have a carry on for your child that you end up lugging around the whole time.  Practicing at home with a small backpack a couple of days before your trip is a good idea and will help get them used to carrying their own carry on.

Checkout: The Best Travel Back Pack

Hope you found these tips for packing a carry on bag for a child helpful, but remember above all pack your patience and sense of adventure.  Happy Travels!

Photographs provided by Araya Adventures


83 thoughts on “Tips For Packing A Carry On Bag For A Child”

  1. Pingback: sheblogs – Tips For Packing A Carry On Bag For A Child

  2. I have yet to fly with the kids but I have gone on long drives and all of this stuff is great to have within easy access in the vehicle as well and not sitting in the truck. Thanks for the tips!

  3. Great tips! We have an awesome set of carry on luggage for the kids that is essentially a backpack with wheels and a pull out handle. Perfect for when they get too tired (or lazy) to carry their pack on their back.

    Now, just to book a vacation so we can use them again! 🙂

  4. Excellent tips! We travel quite a bit and have integrated most of what you mentioned – but we use a rolley pack that she can ride on when she’s tired and pull when she’s not. It makes her feel like she’s mommy and daddy. Ha! But the backpack makes so much sense as one day (hasn’t happened yet, thank goodness), she will be too tired of her bag and will make me lug it around. Pulling it wouldn’t be a problem, if I didn’t have my own rolley. I guess one of ours will have to go 🙂

  5. These are great tips! I agree that variety is the best way to keep kids entertained!! My kids spend 5 hours in a car a few weeks ago and their MP3 player was their best friend!! (Mommy’s too!)

  6. Great tips for flying with little ones. Love your idea of having shorts and warm weather items on the top or PJ’s if landing at night. Certainly makes for a quick change without looking through the entire bag. Packing twice as many snacks and a sippy cup are invaluable tips!

  7. Great tips! I always found snacks were number one – no matter how much I feed them before travelling they are always starving the minute they see a concession stand! And electronics are perfect because they are small but have such a great variety of games/reading and apps to keep them occupied

  8. I love the sound of that backpack with wheels someone mentioned. So far it’s been great using his school backpack 🙂

  9. Thanks you very much for sharing all the helpful tips,i think snacks and activities for entertainment is so important

  10. Totally agree with these. We only give our son a tablet when flying and it’s the best thing for keeping him quiet the entire flight. He knows it’s just for flying and hands it back before we leave the aircraft. And snacks, yes to double of what you think you need, especially if on board but delayed at the gate or tarmac!

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