Taking your child on their first flight can be intimidating. This is especially true if they are still babies or toddlers. That age group is simply unpredictable! There will always be a bit of stress involved when flying with children. However, this stress can be significantly decreased with proper preparation. An important part of that preparation involves packing. Today, I’m going to share with you one of my favorite pieces of luggage to pack – the diaper bag.
Properly packing the diaper bag is a crucial part of having a successful flight. It can make or break this part of your trip. After going on several flights myself, I’ve nailed down a method that works perfectly for our family. I’m excited to share with you some of my best tips and tricks today. That way you won’t have to learn lessons the hard way like I did. I hope this guide helps you feel more confident and prepared going into your trip. For more information on flying with young children, check out my blog post of flying with toddlers. Now, let’s get started!
What’s the Best Bag to Use for Flights?
There are a lot of great diaper bags on the market today. You’ve got clutches, totes, cross-body bags, backpacks, and more. All of these types of diaper bags serve a great purpose depending on your lifestyle and specific situation. For a flight, I highly recommend investing in a quality diaper backpack.
A diaper backpack is perfect for travel for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, it is the easiest style to carry. This is crucial because you will already have your hands full (or overflowing) at the airport. It’s also one of the most comfortable styles to carry because it evenly distributes the weight between both shoulders. The diaper bag will be plenty full during travel, so this is especially important. Another large advantage of a backpack is how spacious they are. However, unlike other large diaper bags (likes totes) they have a ton of pockets for organization. Organization is key for flights!
I use the Petunia Pickle Bottom Inter-Mix Diaper Backpack for travel with the Inter-Mix Diaper Bag Pod System Deluxe Kit inserted. I cannot recommend this diaper bag combination enough for travel. The backpack straps are padded which make carrying it uber comfortable. Without the insert the backpack has four exterior pockets and three interior pockets. It also has a separate padded compartment for a laptop, iPad, or similar. The backpack also unzips completely in the front so you can easily see and reach anything. In my opinion, the Inter-Mix Pod System is a must have with this backpack. It’s a key tool is keeping everything organized. The pod system has two mini pixel bags, one midi pixel bag, and one cool pixel bag. You can mix and match these to fit anything and everything you need.
How to Pack Your Bag For Flights?
Now that you have the right bag for your flight, it’s time to figure out how to fill it. When packing the diaper bag, you’ll want to make sure you have more than what you think you need when it comes to essentials. However, there is a very fine line between having enough and having too much. This is a lesson I learned on my first flight with my daughter. So, I will be breaking down for you exactly what to pack, how much to pack, and how it pack it down below.
I want to take a moment to emphasize that this part of the guide is for flying with toddlers. If you have a baby that you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding formula, then your packing list will look slightly different. I based this guide on packing for a toddler who ate all solid foods and drank whole milk/water for fluids.
Diaper Bag Packing List
- Diapers – First, figure out how long your travel time will be. Then, figure out how many diapers you typically use in that time period. Finally, multiply that number by two to calculate how many diapers to pack for your travel time.
- Wipes – I recommend purchasing a refill wipes pack to pack in the diaper bag. This way, you won’t have to worry about running out if you have a blowout. Plus, you can also use them to clean up any messes made on the flight.
- Changing Pad – You never know where you will have to change your baby on your travel day. I always recommend adding a portable changing pad to the diaper bag. That way even if you have to change your baby on the airport floor (I did), you’ll be prepared.
- Mom’s Change of Clothes – I highly recommend adding a change of clothes for yourself to the diaper bag. You never know what messes will spill over onto you. If you can’t fit it in the bag, then at least get one in the carry on.
- Child’s Change of Clothes – Be sure to pack at least one extra outfit per chid in the diaper bag. This way you’ll be prepared for any blowouts or food/drink spills.
- Sippy Cup – You’ll want to bring something for your child to drink out of while on the plane. We wait until we’re through security to fill ours up. However, if you are bringing it through with liquid be sure to make it as clear as possible. According to TSA that’s the easiest way for the scanner to read it. I also recommend NOT using a straw cup. The pressure in the cabin can make water shoot out when you open up the lid to the straw.
- Snacks – The best way to keep a child happy on the plane is by filling their tummy. I recommend having a variety of snacks in the diaper bag to rotate through as needed. Some of our favorites include applesauce pouches, goldfish, graham crackers, and cereal.
- Stickers – I love to pack some type of “sticky” activity in the bag for the plane. Some great options are sticker books or pages, washi tape, or post it notes.
- Board Book – I like to pack at least one book for my daughter to flip through in the diaper bag. It’s great to have a variety of activities for children to rotate through and this is one of my favorites.
- Small Toy – Be sure to add at least one of your child’s favorite small toys to the bag for them to play with. Some great options are toy cars or toy animals. Perfect for open-ended imaginative play!
- Kleenex – One of my favorite activities to bring for my daughter on a plane is a pack of tissues. If you’re child starts to get fussy, then you just pull out the pack and let them pull the tissues out one by one. It’s a great calm down method that works every time for my toddler.
- Coloring Book/Crayons – Be sure to add a couple of mini coloring books to the bag for your child to enjoy during the flight. Don’t forget to add the crayons!
** Don’t forget to bring your child’s comfort items onto the plane. If they don’t fit in the diaper bag, then it’s perfectly fine to stash them away in the carryon until you’re ready for them. You will definitely want them for when it’s time to put them to sleep.