As anyone who has tried it will testify, travelling with kids requires skill, discipline, and military style packing and logistics! If you are lucky enough to be going somewhere long haul, a wonderful adventure will no doubt greet you on the other side. However, in order to get to your glorious holiday destination, you need to first survive the long flight with nothing more than a few basic essentials.
Deciding exactly what to pack for on board is critical, and having enough space in your diaper bag to safely stow everything away is essential.
In order to first determine what to pack, then, we need to ask ourselves one very important question first, how big is the diaper bag allowed in a flight?
So, exactly how big is the diaper bag allowed in a flight?
Anyone who travels regularly (with or without babies and young children) will know the rules on what you can and can’t take on board are constantly subject to change and differ from one airline to another. Generally, you will be allowed to bring with you an infant carrier, car seat, or stroller which should make traveling that little bit easier.
Every person with a seat has one carry-on bag allowance each, plus you should also get the usual passenger extras of a laptop bag, standard size purse, or one diaper bag. That should, in theory, be plenty of luggage allowance to ensure that flying with your little one is a breeze!
The trick, then, is to make sure you invest in a diaper bag that is big enough to cater to all your requirements but will fit in the over-head compartment or under the seat in front of you. It’s really no different from your usual carry-on luggage, so choose your bag wisely in order to maximize the limited space.
Don’t forget about the liquid restrictions, and be sure to bring formula that you can mix up on board rather than bottles of milk that you won’t ever get past the airport security.
So what travel essentials should you pack?
If you have a collapsible stroller, that’s a good item to take with you which can easily be stowed away on board. It also means there are no long waits at the door of the plane or on the carousel waiting for the stroller to come off when you have one seriously cranky baby on your hands! We suffer from jetlag as adults and many of us step off a long flight feeling less than refreshed. Imagine how your little one might be feeling, and do everything in your power to make their life, and subsequently yours, as painless as possible.
Other than that, we recommend you go for a backpack style diaper bag that has plenty of compartments and easily accessible storage. This will enable you to place your hands quickly on anything that you might need to locate mid-flight. Baby might get cold and need that extra blanket, or you may need to pacify a cranky and disorientated infant with their favorite bedtime toy. Do yourself and your fellow passengers a favor by packing all of these essentials and knowing how to grab them in a second’s notice.
A backpack style diaper bag, of course, also allows a bit of additional hands free mobility as you navigate the joys of maneuvering yourself and all your cargo around an unfamiliar airport. The less you have to physically carry in your hands, the better. You need those free for passports and tickets. So get yourself an on board diaper bag that is of the backpack variety or one that has adjustable straps, so that you can hang it on the back of your stroller or sling it over your shoulder.
Travelling with little ones
Make sure that you are fully prepared and have all the basics covered. If you are taking your standard diaper bag with you, just pack it as though you were going on a regular day’s excursion. Let’s face it, going out anywhere with a young child requires planning and forethought, so a plane is just a different kind of the same daily adventure you usually face!
You’re going to need all the usual items, like spare diapers, a changing pad, diaper bags for soiled clothes, and nappies or a wet diaper bag if you are using cloth diapers. You’ll also need blankets to keep your baby warm overnight. It’s a good idea to pack some of their favorite toys, a pacifier, and of course baby food and formula if you use it. Most of the good sized diaper bags will have adequate internal and external compartments to neatly house all this gear.
Also don’t forget to pack any necessary baby medication that you might need to access during the course of the flight. With most backpack style diaper bags you can easily fit all of the above and much more. If you have one with an integrated changing mat, all the better, as that could save on the limited space that you have available.
Don’t under estimate what you might need to take with you
It’s true that travelling with kids can end up being a messy business, so plan ahead and pack for all eventualities. Not all planes are equipped with adequate changing facilities, so do your research and check to see if your plane has a changing table and if not, work out what you need take with you. Where possible, it’s a good idea to change your baby’s diaper immediately before you head on board. That way you should at least be guaranteed peace for a couple of hours before you have to get up and try to navigate the cramped toilets.
A final word on traveling with your baby
While preparation is critical, try not to over think it; above all else relax, and enjoy the journey. Airplane crews are generally very accommodating to families travelling with little ones, and most passengers will have been there themselves at some point. The on board luggage allowances are fairly generous, so we recommend that you pack a good sized backpack style diaper bag with all your essentials and then try to sit back, enjoy an in-flight movie, and get some shut-eye!