Air travel packing list for families with young kids
Hubby asked me to write up a packing list while it is still fresh on our minds, coming off our two week stint through New England, so I thought I’d share it with you. We’re fairly efficient travelers, taking only what is “necessary” and replenishing or buying bulky items at our destination. Please add to the list if there is something essential that you always pack, but this is what we bring with us.
Carry-on (usually a backpack so I can use this as a sightseeing carryall bag):
- Quart size zippered bag with medications for kids: acetaminophen or ibuprofen, antihistamine with measured cup or spoon, dosage written on the bag
- OTC medications for adults: pain killer, antihistamine, Dramamine
- Quart size bag with small hand sanitizer (less than 100 ml or 3.4 oz), travel size toothpaste, toothbrushes, travel size laundry detergent (in case we have to hand launder anything)
- Change of clothes for each child
- Gallon size zip bag with extra diapers, wipes, zip bags
- Non-sticky snacks: Cheerios, pretzels, dried fruit
- Sugar free lollipops for the kids (during landing) – Our kids’ dentist recommended Dr. John’s.
- Empty water bottles: to be filled inside the terminal as you cannot carry water through the scanning area
- Entertainment: Small toys, DVD player, DVD, headphones
- Prescription medications and inhalers
- Identification (driver’s license), health insurance card
- Laptop and charger
- Camera, memory cards, Flip camera
- Cell phone (making sure to program in pediatrician’s and dentist’s phone number)
- Dollar bills (for tipping and tolls if our destination has several toll turnpikes)
- GPS and maps
- Confirmation numbers for flights, hotels, car rentals, etc.
- Sunglasses and cleaning cloth
- First aid kit (Band-Aids, Neosporin)
- Tissue paper
Gate checked items: umbrella stroller and car seats
Our favorite airline to fly is Jet Blue for the free checked luggage and the typically lower airfare. Each seat has a television screen with complimentary satellite tv. If we are traveling Jet Blue, I leave the kids’ DVD player at home and just pack headphones. Continental charges $6 to watch the satellite shows, assuming the plane is newer and equipped with the screens. Some American Airline planes have the tv screens as well, but the programming is limited usually to some CBS shows. I believe on a Delta flight we took not too long ago, we had satellite tv to watch. International flights are better about on board entertainment than domestic flights. I never count on in-flight meals or snacks.
- Undergarments and socks
- Pants and/or skirts
- Toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, shaving cream, shaver, dental floss, lotion
- Hair brush, hair bands
- Flip flops
- Camera charger, cell phone charger
- Laundry bag (to hold all the dirty clothes which helps to keep the suitcase cleaner on the way home)
- Roll of quarters (to do laundry)
- Sunscreen (in a zippered bag)
- Swim suits (even in colder weather places if there is an indoor pool at the hotel)
- Small umbrella
- Extra diapers and wipes
- Kids’ vitamins
Wherever is our final destination, we usually rent a car. I try to map out ahead of time the nearest pharmacy and grocery store. On the way to the hotel or house where we are staying, we usually stop to buy some bottled water, a box of Cheerios, and bananas since that’s usually enough to curb our kids’ hunger if it will be a bit of time before we can get to a place to eat. Also I like to call ahead to the hotel to find out if they have laundry machines on the property, and if so, we will buy a small detergent and pack half the amount of clothes for the number of days traveling.
The list is fairly standard, but it works for us.