Are you going on holiday with your family? In this post I share with you the carry-on essentials you need when travelling with kids.

My family are huge travel enthusiasts. Since my toddler has been born, she has been on a grand total of 12 planes and we’re hoping that this number will be a lot higher by the end of the year. With all of this experience of travelling with a young child, we have definitely learnt what carry-on essentials you need when flying with kids and what things can just be left behind.

On our first ever flight with Evie, I definitely didn’t pack the carry-on bag well at all. In fact, I forgot most essentials and only took one thing on this list, that I have written below. I also didn’t realise how much of an impact this would have on our travel and I’m very grateful that our flight was so short. If it had been any longer, I think our holiday would have started off with one very grumpy family.

Flying on a plane with small children isn’t the easiest thing to do. A well packed carry-on, can surprisingly make all the difference. After learning our lesson, I’m now sharing with you 5 carry-on essentials you need when travelling with kids. Don’t make the same mistakes I did!

5 Carry-On Essentials You Need When Travelling With Kids

Video Version

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5 Carry-On Essentials You Need When Travelling With Kids

1. Travel Wallet

A travel wallet is quite possibly the BEST thing that I ever put into my carry-on. I really mean that. Before every flight, I tuck the newly printed boarding passes into the travel wallet, alongside everybody’s passports. Some airports ask for your bordering passes several times. During one flight we were asked to show ours six times! So, it’s really good to keep them on hand for the duration of time you are in the airport and all the way until you’re strapped into the plane. Here’s when you usually get checked:

  • Whilst checking in your luggage
  • At the security gate
  • At the boarding gate
  • As you get on the plane to find your seat.

The travel wallet saved us from fumbling around in bags every time we were asked for our passports and boarding passes. It also meant that I could hold all of the documents and passports safely and securely in one hand, without risk of losing them. We got our travel wallet from a company called Busy B, one of my favourite companies for helping you to stay organised.

2. Hand Sanitiser/Wipes

Why do toddlers insist on touching everything? Evie always wants to touch everything in airports. While she’s walking, she runs her hands along the walls, the doors, the chairs. Or she tantrums and rolls around on the floor. Airports are full of germs and 90% of the time, the airport toilets barely ever have any soap left.

Hand sanitiser and wet wipes are always my two best friends when we go to the airport. I’m all for letting a child build up their immune system, but when it comes to feeding them snacks, or eating yourself, its great to have both of these products on hand.

3. Snacks and Water

On our first flight I completely forgot to pack any snacks. As soon as the doors closed on the first plane, after an already long day of travelling to the airport, Evie announced that she was hungry. It made for an interesting take off when it dawned on both of us that it was lunch time and we were snack free.

If you’re travelling with kids, definitely make sure you have snacks and water on hand. We always find it a lot easier to buy snacks just before getting on the plane, purely because of the hassle of going through the gates, and security, with food. It might be an extra expensive, but we find it much easier in the long run.

Quick tip: You cannot get through the security gates at an airport, with more than 100ml of liquid. But, you can take through your empty water bottle and re-fill it for free on the other side from a water fountain.

4. Play Pack

We bought a themed magazine for Evie for her very first flight, the one thing I was organised enough to remember! The magazine came complete with some little plastic transport cars, stickers and crayons. These toys were played with the ENTIRE six weeks of our holiday, so it was a great investment. Now whenever we fly, we pack Evie a little play pack of toys or entertainment, or we buy her a couple of kids magazines. Lots of parents also pack iPads for there kids, but for us magazines have always been enough.

5. Fold Up Shopper Bag

Possibly the most un-obvious of things to take on the aeroplane, but I 100% recommend taking a fold up shopper bag with you. These are incredibly handy! Going through the security gates with kids (especially toddlers), isn’t the most fun thing to do. You need to take off your shoes, belts, jewellery, take out your electronics and liquids, put your luggage separate and also make sure your kids don’t wander off.

The process of having to pick up all your items again on the other side and pack them away quickly, can be a little too much.

We always pull out our shopper bag at this point and put everything in it, then move to a quieter location to pack everything away again properly. We saw many families struggling at the gates with the same issues. You feel so rushed and stressed, having a shopper bag completely takes this away. It’s also a great place to put your duty free buys for the plane, such as snacks, magazines and books.


As a thank you to all my lovely readers, I am currently running a whole month of giveaways. Today I am giving away my favourite ‘travel wallet’. Simply enter to win via the rafflecopter below. Terms and conditions apply! Don’t forget to also check out the other giveaways I am running. You can find these on my blog giveaways page.

5 Carry-On Essentials You Need When Travelling With Kids

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We hope that these tips helped and if you are going on holiday with your kids for the first time, we hope that you have an amazing time.

If you’re looking for further tips about travelling with kids (we have definitely learnt some lessons), then check out our post Tips For Travelling With Children. Or, if you want to know how to keep kids entertained in the airport, check out fellow blogger ‘The Life Of Spicers’ travel tips: ‘10 Ways To Keep Kids Entertained In The Airport‘.

What are your carry-on essentials for travelling with kids? Do you have an item you wouldn’t fly without? Let us know in the comments below. 



  1. November 24, 2016 / 5:12 pm

    Definite essentials! I always bring some kind of play bag and failing that, a CBeebies magazine…actually usually it’s the simplest of things that keep them entertained isn’t it?

  2. November 24, 2016 / 7:33 pm

    These are great essentials. I remember travelling when mine were little, we needed so many things.

  3. November 24, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    we haven’t braved a flight yet – three children under 4 on a plane doesn’t appeal!

  4. November 24, 2016 / 9:03 pm

    Sounds like a great trip and some really useful tips! Travelling with kids is fun but challenging too!

  5. November 24, 2016 / 9:09 pm

    We haven’t flown with Erin yet but these tips are great. I’m bookmarking this for a later date!

  6. November 25, 2016 / 7:55 am

    A travel wallet is such a great idea! I check tickets about 800 times in the car on the way to the airport thinking that they’re going to spontaneously disappear. A travel wallet is a genius idea to solve these worries!

  7. November 25, 2016 / 2:31 pm

    The folding shopper bag is definitely crucial! We took a plane from Amsterdam to Bonaire with our baby of 7 months and because of that bag we didn’t loose anything on the plane and airport.

  8. November 26, 2016 / 9:12 pm

    I do not yet have kids but I like to think of myself as an expert hand luggage packer lol I have it nailed to a T since I do a lot of weekend getaways. But I always forget hand sanitizers which I will remember for my next getaway

  9. November 27, 2016 / 8:04 pm

    These are definitely must when travelling with or even without kids. Great tips!

  10. April 3, 2018 / 7:23 pm

    Kids Trunkis are great as it encourages them to carry their own ‘hand luggage’ and they have something to sit on too!

  11. Solange
    April 3, 2018 / 8:32 pm

    My favourite carry-on essential when travelling with kids is colouring books.

  12. bn100
    April 4, 2018 / 4:06 am

    My favorite carry-on essential when traveling with kids are books and markers.

  13. Iain Maciver
    April 4, 2018 / 11:01 am

    colouring books /pens are a great way of passing the time

  14. Michelle Smith
    April 4, 2018 / 1:28 pm

    Colouring and word search books are always great for keeping them amused

  15. April 4, 2018 / 6:36 pm

    Wetwipes are my must have absolutely everywhere I go with her! 🙂

  16. Charlene Merrall
    April 4, 2018 / 7:28 pm

    I think baby wipes, snacks and something to play with are essential so pretty much what you’ve already covered!

  17. Margaret Gallagher
    April 4, 2018 / 9:25 pm

    Wipes! Coloured pencils colouring books cuddly toys and snacks – music and earphones – hours of fun

  18. Jen Oconnell
    April 4, 2018 / 9:28 pm

    I love the idea of a travel wallet. It will be my first time travelling abroad with my new baby in a few months – thiscwould help the anxiety!

  19. April 4, 2018 / 11:52 pm

    its got to be something that will keep her busy such as her tablet.

  20. Jennifer Toal
    April 5, 2018 / 7:18 am

    Something to do an activity book

  21. Karen Barrett
    April 5, 2018 / 2:36 pm

    A fully loaded tablet, games to play and films to watch, we travel to Australia so a lot of entertaining to do!

  22. April 5, 2018 / 3:15 pm

    We haven’t been on a plane yet, we are thinking of venturing onto one next year. I think it’s about making sure you have things to keep them occupied & with our boys not hungry!

  23. Rachael Sexey
    April 5, 2018 / 3:16 pm

    When travelling with children I make sure I have wipes, fully charged tablets and headphones 💖

  24. April 5, 2018 / 3:20 pm

    I don’t have kids but I love the idea of taking a shopping bag, will definitely be taking that idea!

  25. Sheena Batey
    April 5, 2018 / 3:36 pm

    Baby wipes are an essential item for stickiness or worse

  26. Sarah Maher
    April 5, 2018 / 3:49 pm

    Aww these are lovely! When I travel I love packing my hand luggage the most with travel accessories, these would be perfect for me 🙂

  27. Pamela Gossage
    April 5, 2018 / 3:58 pm

    When travelling with kids my essential is Baby Wipes

  28. Suzanne
    April 5, 2018 / 4:13 pm

    apart from wipes and cold drinks , pencils and paper are essential.

  29. adeinne Tonner
    April 5, 2018 / 4:23 pm

    For me i think it has to be wet wipes, colouring books,colouring pens and water.

  30. Katy Malkin
    April 5, 2018 / 4:47 pm

    Stickers and lots of books to keep her entertained. Also snacks and wipes.

  31. Jackie Howell
    April 5, 2018 / 7:12 pm

    Wet wipes, colouring books and colours

  32. simon tutthill
    April 5, 2018 / 8:26 pm

    It has to be a selection of games and books to help on the long journey and some food and drinks too

  33. Rachel Craig
    April 6, 2018 / 1:27 am

    Holdall containg snack, baby wipes, books, etc. As essential to be prepared regarding child care, aiming to keep the children comfortable and occupied.

  34. April 6, 2018 / 10:08 am

    i always take a foldaway shopper bag , my kids have a habit of unpacking half thier suitcase while we travel

  35. Sadiyya Maryam
    April 6, 2018 / 10:10 pm

    Has to be baby wipes as they are so super useful and my daughter is forever spilling something or the other. They have saved me countless times!

  36. Irena Matković
    April 7, 2018 / 6:51 am

    Snacks and Water are must have! Children are allways hungry on travelling.

  37. Vicky Q
    April 7, 2018 / 9:14 am

    We always pack a magazine! And sanitizer is a must!!!! Love this post xx

  38. Hali Kinson
    April 7, 2018 / 9:52 am

    Pencils and crayons and paper

  39. Claire Glace
    April 7, 2018 / 4:10 pm

    I must admit, I would panic if i left home without our memory foam neck cushions for the children, they love them so….

  40. Lydia Anne
    April 7, 2018 / 6:57 pm

    I love her trunkie!! 😍 we have the ladybird one for Eloise but I will need to get one for willow eventually and that Cat one is gorgeous!

  41. Kim Styles
    April 8, 2018 / 2:05 pm

    an ipad- this provides a wealth of different entertainment so getting bored is unlikely!

  42. April 8, 2018 / 4:37 pm

    For me it is snacks, as my little one knows what he likes haha

  43. April 8, 2018 / 7:19 pm

    This list is point-perfect! We always have to have some form of entertainment like a play pack or colouring! Fingers crossed! 🙂

  44. April 8, 2018 / 7:55 pm

    I always make sure i have baby wipes because someone always gets in a mess,colouring books and crayons,snacks and drinks and spare underwear and socks incase theres any accidents

  45. Simone Griffin
    April 8, 2018 / 8:22 pm

    I always pack a few tiny ‘surprise’ toys to keep my little one entertained during a flight or long journey

  46. lorraine kirk
    April 9, 2018 / 10:08 am

    I am never without Dettol Wipes and an activity book with colouring pencils for a long journey 🙂

  47. April 9, 2018 / 12:28 pm

    We are crazily doing 5 flights with our 18 month old this summer, so these are great tips! Thank you!

  48. Rich Tyler
    April 9, 2018 / 3:34 pm

    Has to be our tablet, if only for distraction from boredom!

  49. April 9, 2018 / 7:21 pm

    Snacks and drinks because my granddaughter always asks for them

  50. Erin Bryant
    April 10, 2018 / 2:40 pm

    We always keep a tablet in our carry on. Great for our daughter to watch films, read, play games etc! Would love to win this travel wallet, a great idea! X

  51. Carole
    April 10, 2018 / 9:28 pm

    my essential list would be lots of paper and crayons to keep amused

  52. Julie
    April 10, 2018 / 9:29 pm

    We always take wipes, tissues and a small toy for each of them.

  53. Donna W
    April 10, 2018 / 9:52 pm

    Thank you for the tips, we’re flying next month with 2 little ones and I’ll probably forget something but I find kids behave really well as long as they’re kept amused and fed! We always take a bag of books, toys and healthy snacks as a distraction but thankfully our 2 are usually pretty well behaved in public!

  54. April 10, 2018 / 10:03 pm

    a bag full of distractions – games, colouring etc. Also good to have some practical items like spare change of clothes (my daughter was once sick in the airplane all over herself on a bumpy landing!)

  55. Katrina Adams
    April 11, 2018 / 8:11 am

    Snacks, sucky sweets (to help with cabin pressure) and magazines and of course a favourite teddy to keep them company on the flight.

  56. cheryl hadfield
    April 11, 2018 / 10:23 pm

    colouring books and crayons are essential with my daughter

  57. Collette
    April 12, 2018 / 8:40 pm

    Going aboard with the family so the wallet will be fantastic x

  58. Laura Browne
    April 13, 2018 / 7:58 am

    Anything to help get organised on holiday would be fab!

  59. Anna Hogan
    April 13, 2018 / 3:51 pm

    I think lots of treats and snacks are needed to keep littles entertained!

  60. ElizM
    April 13, 2018 / 10:50 pm

    I like to have lots of small but entertaining things in my bag – the tiny portable etchasketch was a great hit for a while.

  61. Emma C
    April 14, 2018 / 8:39 am

    Always hand wipes and entertainment but really like your idea of carrying a fold up bag to put everything in while you go through security too – always a nightmare trying to make sure you pick everything up!

  62. Maureen M
    April 14, 2018 / 2:14 pm

    Snacks that easy to carry and are NOT messy or sticky!

  63. sheri Darby
    April 14, 2018 / 6:52 pm

    We always get a comic each for long holiday journeys

  64. Faye Reed
    April 14, 2018 / 9:59 pm

    I always take a mini connect4, it keeps them busy for a while x

  65. April 14, 2018 / 11:02 pm

    Mine as to be activity books as my son loves different puzzles to do

  66. Susan Smith
    April 15, 2018 / 9:45 am

    Activity books and crayons and always carry comics

  67. Linda Hill
    April 15, 2018 / 10:37 am

    Some spare clothes in case of any accidents – spillage or other!!

  68. Emma Smith
    April 15, 2018 / 12:38 pm

    We always take books, colouring pens & books, sweets, cuddly toy and snacks

  69. Susan B
    April 15, 2018 / 1:02 pm

    I find an old fashioned bumbag with pockets is both secure and useful.

  70. April 15, 2018 / 3:29 pm

    I always carry a packet of wet wipes for messy fingers

  71. Kim M
    April 15, 2018 / 4:47 pm

    Definitely wet wipes x

  72. Laura Pritchard
    April 15, 2018 / 6:56 pm

    We have to have some books to distract my 3 year old if there are delays.

  73. Sam Parkes
    April 15, 2018 / 9:30 pm

    Plenty of snacks, top trumps and kindle keep my daughter entertained on long journeys

  74. paula cheadle
    April 15, 2018 / 11:19 pm

    plenty of things to do, eat and drink, and then lots of baby wipes to clean them up

  75. Stevie Fairbairn
    April 16, 2018 / 8:47 am

    I think wipes are an essential, My niece loves reading so something appropriate for her.

  76. Ruth Harwood
    April 16, 2018 / 8:48 am

    I always carry a few sweets to keep them happy and quiet!

  77. Diana
    April 16, 2018 / 10:01 am

    An Activity book and some pens, always entertains my daughters and keeps them busy

  78. April 16, 2018 / 1:17 pm

    A backpack with food, drink and puzzle books. If they are amused then I can relax

  79. April 16, 2018 / 2:40 pm

    Plenty of snacks and a blanket to make sure they’re comfortable

  80. adrian price
    April 16, 2018 / 4:59 pm

    it has to be an i pod (to hopefully) keep them amused

  81. April 16, 2018 / 5:06 pm

    A toy or colouring books are a must. Anything to keep the ‘I’m bored’ cries away!

  82. carol Boffey
    April 16, 2018 / 5:21 pm

    wipes and toys are essential

  83. natalee gosiewski
    April 16, 2018 / 5:25 pm

    well i always buy a cheap note book each and pens in each book i write exact same a list eg a man with a shopping bag baby in buggy a cow a police man a police car a train a red car and on our journey the kids have to spot items and cross them off keeps them entertained

  84. Tracy Newton
    April 16, 2018 / 5:46 pm

    I always pack a note book and Crayola twisable crayons. They don’t need sharpening so they last all holiday

  85. Laura Avery
    April 16, 2018 / 5:50 pm

    Kindle for us we share it (I have an old one so do’t need to worry about wifi being on as I have only got it so it can connect at home!) it gets used by me, my kids, my mum , make sure there something for everyone on it..oh and a mp3 with music and audiobooks

  86. zoe brown
    April 16, 2018 / 7:59 pm

    it has to be a teddy bear they always say they dont want one then wont go to bed without one

  87. April 16, 2018 / 8:13 pm

    baby wipes, pens, papers and picture cards

  88. Natalie Crossan
    April 16, 2018 / 8:16 pm

    I take wipes with me everywhere, they come in handy for so many things x

  89. Tee Simpson
    April 16, 2018 / 8:59 pm

    I would say their favourite magazine and some pencil crayons to colour the magazine.

  90. Emma Middleton
    April 16, 2018 / 10:24 pm

    Anything he can chew on as he’s teething

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