What to Pack for an International Flight with Kids

Serve kale pesto over pasta for an easy, healthy dinner. Also delicious on sandwiches or as a dip.

Soon Lavinia and I will be traveling to the USA to visit friends and family. SOLO. This will be the last time she flies for free, on my lap as an under 2-year-old. Now, as much as I love being close to my little bug, 24+ hours is a long-ass time for her to be sitting on me.

When she was six months old we made the journey for the first time. After the experience, I wrote a post detailing the list of things I recommend taking when you are traveling internationally with a baby. Now I'm in a whole new league and need to bring my A game- she is a walking, talking, sassing toddler.

I’ve taken to my trusty American-expat Facebook group to ask other seasoned parents for tips. They came up with the goods and now I have a comprehensive arsenal of suggestions for operation meltdown distraction. After the trip, I’ll write a more detailed post about what worked best but I think anyone in our situation could benefit from this list even in its infancy.

The List

  1. iPad- loaded up with games, shows and kids movies
  2. Kids headphones, so she can plug into my chair entertainment unit and iPad
  3. New, cheapie toys- wrapped up, one for each hour of flying
  4. M&M’s and other light snacks that take a while to eat and are good for bribes!
  5. Non-spill containers for those snacks
  6. Glow bracelets to play with when the cabin lights are off
  7. Ergo carrier that converts to a backpack- forget about hauling a stroller around, this will allow you to keep your hands free
  8. Coloring books and crayons
  9. Travel size Magna doodle- endless erasing and drawing without dropping crayons all over the place
  10. Paper & Glue Stick
  11. Things to paste (I’m thinking of cutting images out of magazines as they do at daycare)
  12. Dress the kid in a costume so people think she’s cute, like a bunny or something
  13. Books
  14. Their own backpack with supplies
  15. Rescue remedy- good for Moms and neighbors too!
  16. Double-sided tape, pipe cleaners, fun goo, Play-Doh, stickers
Clearly, the art of distraction is key with an under two.
Lotta Passports for a little family

There was a hot debate on the FB page about whether or not to give your child medicine that makes him or her sleepy (like Benadryl (US) or Phenergan (AUS). Look I'm not saying you should and I'm not saying you shouldn't but personally, I think using it as a last resort, like a parachute pack, might prevent all hell from breaking loose.

I think it’s smart to check with your child’s doctor who may recommend testing the medication before you are actually in the air because with some children it can cause the opposite effect. No one wants a sleep deprived, wired toddler running around in a tin can- it’s a flight, not a rave.
Please note: I’m not a medical professional, a professional parent or a professional anything. I’m just willing to keep an open mind while attempting to straddle two countries, and two lives the best way I know how. Preparation!
Anyone else out there have more suggestions to add to the list?

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4 comments on “What to Pack for an International Flight with Kids”

  1. She's probably not chewing gum yet, but suckers to suck on in case the pressure gets to her ears. My son was a great traveler except for the descent, when the pressure changes. He likes to chew gum for it now, but he sucked on suckers and pulled his earlobes when he was younger. (The first time, he was six weeks old and I nursed him on the ascent and the descent...lots of sucking there. 🙂

  2. That's a great suggestion- last time we went she was still breastfeeding so the boobs worked well to prevent any ear issues. She would go nuts for a sucker or maybe some chewy candies upon take off and landing. I'll add that to my arsenal!

  3. When we were little...Goot, Nips and I listened to a fart on a tape recorder for days and could not be distracted. We laughed over and over...you never know?

  4. I think she's still a tad young to appreciate how hilarious farts are. I'll save that one for later. Hahaha!

let's hang on the 'gram
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