Are you planning a trip with your toddler?! How exciting! Traveling with your toddler on an airplane, especially on your lap, may seem daunting. But let me help you prepare! Our daughter just recently turned one year old. She is incredibly mobile and never wants to be still, but she has been a great traveler so far.
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We have found that she doesn’t need a lot to stay entertained during travel- she truly just wants our company most of the time. But now that she is a little older, I do want to make sure I’m prepared on our long-haul flights (we have a several 6-10 hour flights planned within the next few months). Most of these items are perfect for road trips too, and you can check out more road trip tips for toddlers here.
I’m excited to share what we pack in our toddler’s carry-on. I’m leaving out the obvious items like snacks and diapers (if applicable), because those are things that you can likely figure out on your own (you know your toddler best!). I’m sharing the toys and practical items that we pack that help make our trips easier. These are the exact items that we pack, and I will update this list over time as we continue to travel with our daughter and discover what works best. I’ll start with the fun stuff (the toys!) and then will share a few practical items at the end!
If you’re a family who loves to travel (or wants to start exploring!), you might want to check out these other blog posts that I’ve written:
- The Best Compact & Lightweight Travel Strollers
- Camping with a Baby: 5 Items to Take with You
- 20 Baby Registry Ideas for Traveling Families
What to Pack in a Toddler’s Carry-On
Our daughter loves to play with buckles. “Buckle” is one of her favorite words, and she chants it often! This toy is soft and full of buckles! It keeps out daughter occupied longer than any other toy.
This toy is brilliant and keeps their little hands busy with its soft, silicone bubbles. Our daughter loves “popping” the bubbles back and forth, and she is currently working on learning her colors too.
These activity pads are amazing- they contain a ton of reusable stickers. Our daughter loves to stick and re-stick stickers over and over again, so these pads keep her occupied. The stickers are really durable and do not rip easily.
These books are re-usable! Simply fill the little pen with water, and your toddler can interact with the pages over and over again. It’s technically for older children, but our toddler is figuring them out (and it is less messy than packing crayons and pens!). Just one is enough for now!
This is our daughter’s favorite book. She loves to read and will occupy herself for a long time with her books, but packing her entire library obviously isn’t an option. This book made the cut because it’s silly, a decent length, and small in size.
This second book is another one of our daughter’s favorites. It keeps her occupied for long periods of time. She loves saying the words and pointing them out on the pages. It is also small in size!
I highly recommend this Siliskin® Straw Cup by GoSili. It’s a great travel cup with an easy-to-use, easy-to-clean, durable silicone lid and straw. It is non-toxic and great for the environment. Our daughter loves this cup, and we love that we can also remove the lid/straw and use it on other cups that she might use during our trip.
These cups are really inexpensive, and our daughter has loved them for most of her life. We don’t pack the whole set- just a few- but they keep her little hands busy.
This purse is adorable and affordable. My daughter loves playing with keys and looking in the mirror, so I knew it would be exciting to give her this little set of her own! It’s perfect for packing and un-packing too!
We really limit our daughter’s screen time (as in…she hardly has any). But I’m not above letting her watch a few shows on long haul flights (as a last resort and only near the end of the flight!). I researched multiple headphones before landing on this pair. They are inexpensive, have an optional volume control function (nice for airplane traveler) and supposedly last for years. Headphones are also helpful when it comes to screen-free activities! Check out this post on screen-free entertainment inspiration for kids!
If you already have a tablet, then use what you have! Our toddler certainly does not need her own tablet, but we are happy to share with her. Pre-load your device with a few shows that your toddler loves. Our daughter rarely watches anything, but when she does, it’s Baby Signing Time.
Bring your toddler’s favorite comfort stuffed animal, so they feel at home (especially if they are used to sleeping with it). Our daughter has a few favorites, but she definitely loves her Lucy Lamb from CUDDLE + KIND. We love this company and what they stand for. They are hand crafted and fair trade. Each time you buy a doll from the company, a child in need received 10 free meals. It’s amazing and beautiful!
These little finger puppets are tiny and easy to pack (we don’t take the entire set). Pack a few for some fun, pretend play!
This is hands down one of our favorite baby items! The Rohm portable white noise sound machine is a true life-saver. It is very small, has a great battery life (days!), and the volume can go up really high or really low (perfect for when you’re traveling and want to control the sound). We use it for our daughter daily, and it’s easy to bring on a plane, in a car, in a stroller, and even in a baby carrier.
If you’re toddler still fits in a baby carrier- bring it! On the airplane, you might find that it’ll help comfort your toddler and help them go to sleep when all else fails. We love our Ergobaby 360, because it allows us to carry our daughter on our front or back (and she can forward face when we are exploring our destination too!).
I hope you found this list helpful! I would love to hear your thoughts! Any must-haves that I have missed? Anything that your toddler has loved during flights? Please share in the comments below!
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