We are certainly not seasoned travellers when it comes to travelling with toddlers. We have done plenty of travelling prior to kids and man do I miss those days! But when we do travel with our kids we tend to do the long long long (feels like eternity) haul flights. I am sure there are longer flights than Calgary to Sydney but that total of 18+hours of travel time (in air and layovers) is long enough! My main tip would be to keep the on board bag simple!

Packing simple for toddlers when flying

The first time I travelled with Noah I was actually pregnant with him, so that doesn’t count. It was nice though, I had 3 whole seats to myself and I literally slept the entire time. Shortest flight of my life. However as Murphy’s law goes, the chances of having 1 free seat let alone 3 next to you, when you are travelling with babies or children is slim to none. My first solo trip with Noah to Australia was when he was 11 months. I was very lucky enough to have a spare seat next to me and then there was a lady at the window who was lovely and even offered help when he was whining at the beginning. But on that flight I over packed, obviously, it was my first time travelling long distance with a baby. I had no idea.

There were books, snacks, toys, all sorts of things I had packed “just in case” and you know what he did. He was on my boob the entire time and slept. All those extra things I had packed were VERY annoying to sift through and look for stuff once I was waiting at the gate and on board the plane. Both of our belongings were in that one bag. I swore I would never do it again. Coming back to Calgary I had Joe with us (he came later on in the trip) those extra hands were great but yet again we packed too much for on board “just in case” he was 1 by the time we travelled back. All he wanted was to be walked or carried down the isles.

Packing simple for toddlers when flying

The next time we flew to Sydney we had Siena, we were better organized but I still feel like I packed too many things for on board. A 2-year-old and an almost 1-year-old really don’t need that many things. Plus the flight leaves at midnight from Vancouver, you really just want them to sleep! And if they don’t sleep chances are, once they are on board they end up being way too hyper from the excitement of it all and they don’t want to sit and play with play-doh, cars, puzzles and all those other little things you think you will need.

Of course every child is different. Some are more active than others. But in the end, if you have one, an iPad and snacks is really all you will need. Once you reach security and you’re trying to pull out your liquids, baby food and bottles and whatever else you need to show, you are in a sweat having the stress of where your kids are wondering off to, whilst trying to recover your pram and put all your belongings back into your bags. That part of the airport always feels 100 degrees hotter than the rest of the place! When travelling with kids I honestly find that section the most daunting part of it all, before I start worrying about how my kids will be on the actual flight.

I have heard of people making little “goody bags” for their fellow passengers around them but I am not one of those people. I won’t apologize for travelling with my children, we pay the same amount for those seats, more actually because we are travelling with said children so in my eyes, deal with it. No one likes to hear crying babies on board but you can always put on your headphones and turn it up and quite possibly pop a sleeping pill or two. I cannot.

Normally each person who has a seat is allowed one carry on bag and if you are travelling with an infant in lap then you are also allowed a bag for them. We usually fly with Air Canada because it is the most direct, so baggage allowance may vary from airline to airline. You may want to check the rules with who you are flying with. If it is possible I like to just have 3 bags so we can fit them under the seat in front of us for easy access and don’t have to keep getting up or down once we are in the air to get a bag out of the overhead luggage department.

Packing simple for toddlers when flying

So here are my tips for simple packing tips for flying with toddlers!

  1. Write a list of what you may need

  2. Practise packing your onboard bag (This can help eliminate things you don’t really need)

  3. Pack a fully charged iPad with various games and movies downloaded

  4. Toddler head phones

  5. Pack chargers for phones, iPad and all other tech items

  6. Pack some snacks, not too many but their favourite

  7. Pack only a few toys, depending on your flight time. You don’t want to have a whole bunch of toys that they won’t play with. Same goes with activities books, most airlines supply those

  8. Pack spare outfit for each child and a shirt for each parent.

  9. Pack 1 nappy/diaper for every 2 hours and throw in a couple of extras. In addition to a new pack of wipes and also a disposable change mat (I like to put my wipes, nappies and mat in a separate wallet/compartment purse that is from my baby bag like this one so its easy to grab and take to the bathroom)

  10. Any blankies, soft toys etc that your child cannot sleep without


I hope this may help with any lucky duck whose travelling soon! Is there anything you would add?


Simple packing tips


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