Family holidays with your kids are so much fun and one thing we have learnt first hand is that a great holiday abroad starts with a good flight. How do you ensure a good flight with kids? It’s all about what you pack in that flight bag my friend! If you are looking for ideas of ‘what to pack in a kids flight bag’ for a fun, stress free journey, then you are in the right place.

If you are regularly readers of Life Unexpected you will know that we are travel mad (you can check out our family travel section here) and we have been so lucky to have been able to travel all over the world with our daughter. One thing we have learnt from our travel experiences is to always be clever about what to pack in a kids flight bag.

What you pack in your kids flight bag, is honestly make or break for having an enjoyable flight, no matter how old your child is or how long your flight is.

Our First Flight…

One thing that will stay with me forever, is my first ever flight with Evie. I was so unprepared I honestly almost cried. It was one of the most stressful flights of my life. Flying with a cranky toddler actually trumps my experiences flying through storms and experiencing major turbulence.

What To Pack In A Kids Flight Bag

I remember that naive moment I sat down on the plane, really excited about the fact that we were going on our first family holiday. The doors of the plane shut, our seatbelts were on and Evie (who was in the midst of the terrible twos) announces ‘I’m hungry.’ I looked over at her dad and we both went…uhoh. We were so excited about our first holiday that we hadn’t packed a thing for her to eat or do on the plane and it hadn’t even crossed our minds that we were flying bang on her lunchtime and we might have needed to pack her something.

We didn’t have snacks, we didn’t have water and all of her toys and entertainment had been checked in with our luggage. The next few hours were not fun. Us vs. a very grumpy and bored toddler in a seriously confined space.

Nowadays, I tend to over prepare for flights. Especially since we’ve also now experienced severe delays on our travels and we’ve also experienced long haul flights.

In the following I will be sharing what we typically pack in our kids flight bag. This flight bag is suitable for kids aged 12 months and up, so, whether you are a new or an experienced family flyer, I really hope you find this post helpful.

What To Pack In A Kids Flight Bag

We do try and keep Evie’s flight bag completely technology free. Not because we are anti-ipads, but we find these make her really grumpy and tired when we fly. Therefore, everything we pack is ‘old school’. Hands on activities that will inspire hours of fun!

Lets Start With The Bag…

If you are looking for the perfect kids ‘carry on’ flight bag, I cannot recommend a SkipHop ‘Zoo Collection’ Bag enough. We’ve got Evie the unicorn one because she’s absolutely unicorn mad but there are so many other animals to choose from. 

What To Pack In A Kids Flight Bag

This bag is also perfect as a kids travel bag because of its amazing features. My favourite part is the mesh drinks pocket on the side. This is fully adjustable too so it can fit a whole range of different sized bottles or cartons (or even your kids favourite snuggly which is what Evie often uses it for). I love that its on the side. It honestly makes it so much easier for you to grab your kids drink. Evie always wants to sip water as we walk about and queue for the planes. It’s great that we don’t have to keep going in and out of her bag for this.

Inside the little front pocket these is also an insulated pouch for snacks. Again, great that they are so easily accessible and I love that you can keep them separate from everything else in the bag. This means they have no chance of getting squashed and spills can be contained.

The straps are also padded on the bag and they’re fully adjustable. We’ve had backpacks before that really hurt Evie’s shoulders, but this one is so comfortable and I love that it will grow with her.

What To Pack In A Kids Flight Bag

Then there is the main compartment. It is so roomy. It’s amazing how many things we can squeeze into this bag and a bonus for me…the inside is wipeable! So any spilt snacks, or drinks, or arts and craft bits can really easily be cleaned up. Evie loves it too, for very obvious reasons…it’s a unicorn!

We use this backpack so much now. Not just for flying but also for road trips, for days out and as Evie’s overnight bag when she goes for sleepovers at friends or families.

Now, here’s what we love to pack in our kids flight bag:

If we are on a short flight, we usually just take a magazine, a snack and two other small activities. If we are on a long flight we take this entire bag full of activities, so it lasts us through both the flight there and the flight back again.

What To Pack In A Kids Flight Bag

A magazine –

We never go abroad without getting Evie a magazine. Firstly, kids always seem so obsessed with the free little bits that come with them don’t they? We always try and pick one with as much ‘tat’ as possible. Secondly, they are full of activities; from games, to stickers to colouring in. Evie’s favourites are typically PAW Patrol or Disney Princess.

Activity Books –

We always grab at least one activity book for Evie for flights or road trips. If we are going on a long haul flight then we take at least three. Our favourite kind of activity books are wipeable ones because they can just last again and again. But, Evie also loves ‘magic paint’ activity books, sticker books and the really clever ‘mess free’ colouring books from Crayola.

What To Pack In A Kids Flight Bag

Mini Travel Games –

We never go abroad without at least one mini travel game! As a family we’re are a little bit obsessed with a kids company called Orchard Toys and they make these really sweet ‘mini travel’ games that are perfect for on the go. We always take these on holiday with us as they’re great activities to play on the plane, in restaurants while we’re waiting for food or if we’re having to wait in long queues for anything. 

Comfy items –

If you’re flying long haul, planes normally supply a blanket and a pillow, but if we’re flying short haul we tend to pack small fold up comfy things like pillows or blankets to keep warm with. These especially come in handy while you’re waiting to board the plane in the airport lounge. Sometimes these can be freezing!

What To Pack In A Kids Flight Bag

Busy Bags –

We don’t go on any day out, road trip or family holiday anymore without packing a couple of Evie’s busy bags. These are little ‘activity bags’ that I have actually made. They contain something small and educational for Evie to do; whether its lacing, cutting, colouring, counting or learning about shapes and colours. These were so easy to make and I’m forever making her more of them. I got little zip bags off Amazon and I love that you can fill them with any activity you like.

  • You can read my post about how we made our busy bags and also what we’ve put in some of them here: How To Make Busy Bags.

Crayons/Pens/Paints –

When Evie was younger, we just grabbed any budget friendly, super cheap crayons we could (honestly, toddlers lose and break everything so there was no point getting anything fancy), but now she’s older we usually take with us either crayons, mess free pens or mess free paints. I tend to avoid taking ‘pencils’ with us, just because they always tend to get knocked about and break easily. But, if you have older kids, definitely have a look at packing mess free pens or paints, they are amazing!

What To Pack In A Kids Flight Bag

Healthy snacks –

I always try and pre-pack healthy snacks in Evie’s flight bag as the airport can be really expensive and not great at stocking healthier option. We usually take ‘Organix’ snacks with us or ‘Naked Bars’ as these are delicious, filling and junk free. Just a word of warning though…if you do want to pack healthy snacks too, try not to pack fresh fruit. We learnt this the hard way after we once opened our flight bag to find one very squished banana and one mushed up juicy pear!

So that was my post on ‘What To Pack In A Kids Flight Bag’. I hope this post was really helpful and if you’re planning on going on a family holiday, I hope that you have a lovely journey and the best time.

What do you think of Evie’s flight bag? Is there anything you’d add to these bags? Let me know in the comments below.

* Features products that were gifted. 



  1. Sonia
    December 7, 2018 / 10:29 am

    These are all fantastic ideas. I always plan snacks and then double them! You can never have too many

  2. December 7, 2018 / 1:44 pm

    Preparation is definitely the key I think snacks and activity books and lots of stickers are absolutely key…keep them busy, keep them happy = keeps you happy too!

  3. December 7, 2018 / 5:22 pm

    This is such a great idea, I know from experience how bored children can get. This is really lovely, so many brilliant bits to keep them entertained.

  4. December 7, 2018 / 7:03 pm

    There are so many good ideas here! We’ve only flown once with our first daughter and hope to go abroad next year, so will be needing these tips 🙂

  5. December 8, 2018 / 4:54 pm

    So many great ideas to keep children busy on a flight. I love the unicorn bag that would go down well with my girls.

  6. December 8, 2018 / 8:08 pm

    Fab ideas> I love that bag, my kids have always had Skip Hop lunchboxes – such great quality! We love Orchard Toys too they are amazing game x

  7. stickymudandbellylaughs
    December 10, 2018 / 10:25 am

    Great suggestions! We are yet to fly with the kids but when we do I will be sure to pack enough to keep them entertained! x

  8. December 10, 2018 / 11:07 am

    Food keeps them so occupied doesn’t it!! Great ideas for a flight bag and nice for them to be able to carry the bag too

  9. December 10, 2018 / 11:32 am

    Sending this to my brother as they look to take my nephew on his first flight abroad, such lovely ideas.

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