If you are a firm believer in traveling as light as possible. But when it comes to carry-on luggage, you want to have all of the little necessities at hand on board a plane, not stowed in the hold.
The following is a carry on packing list of essentials for you followed by essentials for children by ages. Please use this as a reminder/checklist and of course, add your own items as you need them.
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Carry On Packing List:
Personal Carry On
- Wet washcloth in a zip lock bag
- ear plugs
- Moisturizing eye drops
- Breath mints
- Small spray-on or splash-on cologne
- Anti-bacterial, individually wrapped hand wipes
- Makeup kit
- Colorful scarf
- Driver’s license
- Other ID
- Reading glasses
- Prescription medicine
- Moisturizer for face
- Hand lotion
- Travel itinerary
- Pertinent notes regarding hotels, rental car, etc.
- Paperback book or magazine
- Pen and paper
- Jacket or change of top appropriate to destination weather
- Evian mineral water spray
- Toothbrush and mini-toothpaste
- Chapstick or lip gloss
- Tampax or Pads
- Tylenol or other
You could start out dressed in casual but presentable clothes. Jeans or chinos seem to work well paired with a colorful shirt. Always dress the kids in bright colored clothes to make them easier to spot and pin a whistle on their jacket ages 4 and up so that they can signal when you get separated. Also wear or carry on bulky items such as jackets or training shoes so you don’t have to pack them.
Baby Carry On
Bunting, the zip up kind which baby slips into. These are great for making a little nest to sleep the baby and keep them somewhat confined.
- Diapers and wipes
- Another wet wash cloth in zip lock bag
- Small tube diaper cream
- Pacifier or teething toy, etc.
- Change of clothes
- Baby food
- Umbrella stroller (narrow ones are much easier to fit through the aisles)
- A bag for all this gear which can hook on the back of the stroller
- Bottle and formula or at least one bottle of milk
- Dry powdered milk in a baggy just in case
- Blanket (one or two)
- A changing mat or receiving blanket
- Spoon and dish
Toddler (18 months to 3 yrs) Carry On
- Bottle (if still used) or drinking cup
- Favorite snack
- Doll or stuffed animal
- A new small toy, wrapped
- Favorite small story book
- Snack bag, i.e. little boxes of raisins, pretzels, animal crackers, etc.
Most parents would agree this is the most difficult age for plane travel. Some ideas that have helped: take a night flight when they’ll be asleep anyway. If taking a day flight, try to schedule it during their afternoon nap time and don’t let them fall asleep in the car on the way to the airport. Some children become truly hyper in the confines of an airplane. If you’ve had problems with your child on car trips, you may want to discuss with your doctor a sedative to calm your child on the plane.
Young Children (4 to 8 years) Carry On
- Change of clothes or at least a clean top
- Favorite stuffed animal or doll
- Crayons and coloring book
- Story book
- iPod with headphones
- Small set of LegoTM or DuploTM blocks
Be sure to dress them in something bright, patterned (if possible so it doesn’t show stains) and cute. The cuter they look the better your receptions by stewards, etc. This is a great time to bring out the special, new wrapped toy for the trip. With any luck, it may keep your child content for quite sometime. Always take a snack bag with goodies that are usually not so available while trying to stay light on the sugar. Some favorites are Cracker Jacks, little cheese/cracker packages, gum and apples. This is a great age for a personal cassette player with headphones. A new story tape could be a life saver. And of course bring along some of the old favorites. So have your children carry a small backpack on board complete with all the above items and their jacket, etc. This can convert into a very handy daypack for sightseeing.
9 Years and Up Carry On
- Cellphone with headset
- PS Vita
- Journal and pen
- School books
- Travel guide
By now homework is a fact of life and airplane time can be a great time to knock out some assignments. It’s also a great time for older children to peruse the guide book about your destination and organize their ideas on things they would like to do/see. If there is no homework except for an outside reading assignment, by all means make sure that book is in the bag.
Hey! My name is Karen Lyons and I’m an occasional traveler from the U.S. Aside from traveling, I enjoy running – sometimes hiking, reading books when I feel like it, and watching movies from time to time. Did I mention that I’m the one behind this site? After clearing that, this will be the place where I share my love for travel along with other contributors.