When we first found out that we would have an opportunity to travel to Europe for my husband’s work, I got to work right away trying to find the tried and true ways to do it semi-painless with a toddler. Luckily for me, there were a number of other bloggers our there who make traveling with children look like a breeze.
Today I am sharing exactly what we’re packing for our longest flight to Europe. I’ve learned that you don’t need a lot in order to keep a toddler busy – or at the very least my toddler – but you do need things in place to keep your sanity through it all. So, here are my favorite essentials for flying with a toddler international.
This is something you definitely want to consider and invest in when traveling anywhere. No one really discusses this as a part of their planning but in my opinion it ranks up there with having a current passport. The $80 was well worth it when it means we can breeze through security – although we should have thought more about the global pre-check option when we originally did ours. But, at least in American airports we won’t have to worry about the security line, which is worth it’s weight in gold. Next time though, and knowing my husband will have other overseas work opportunities like this one, we’re definitely getting global pre-check!
Keep this simple, ladies. For long flights don’t think you can wear something Kim Kardashian would wear coming out of LAX after fashion week. Keep things comfortable and simple with items like leggings, sneaks, and a comfy top. I plan on wearing my cowl neck lightweight sweater from Pinkblush since it is super soft and even doubles as a scarf. With running after a toddler my Nikes are a simple choice and it helps save room in my carry-on for other things.
Things for Mommy
- Magazines and books on my iPad
- This really cute ‘wake me for champs’ sleep mask for the plane
- Caffeine & Jesus
- Two major things that can neither be forgotten nor gone without. Thankfully I’ll be able to find coffee practically everywhere I go (even though I’ve read to help beat jet lag we should go without caffeine) and let’s be real, to survive any flight with a strong-willed toddler you’ll need a few prayers in your back pocket.
The Mom Bag
Investing in a large crossbody purse or backpack will be essential on any long-term trip and especially overseas. I’ve trusted Longchamp as my travel bag for years and most recently invested in their backpack. The nylon material makes keeping it clean simple and the backpack makes for the perfect minimal diaper bag for simple outings. However, I have yet again set my eyes upon this crossbody travel bag. I love that it’s the brand and quality I trust, making it the perfect choice for me when I travel.
In the Bag
Inside the travel bag you can find everything that me and my toddler will need in order to survive this flight and others as we travel across Europe.
- My husband switched me over to a slider wallet phone case from Otterbox and I surprisingly love it. It holds up to three cards (i.e. my ID, a credit, and debit card) as well as one bill. I’ve found it to be so convenient to have my phone and wallet all in one place.
- The iPad. We recently upgraded my first generation iPad to a refurbished iPad Mini which not only saves space my bag, but has way more gigs than my old one which means more space for entertaining the dragon (keep reading). Taking my own earbuds will help me if wanting to listen to music or watch something myself while Grey sleeps.
- Diapers and wipes ONLY FOR THE FLIGHT. Don’t be dumb – you don’t need to pack a Costco sized amount of diapers and wipes because you’ll just buy them at your destination – or you should.
Keeping the Dragon Occupied
Can you tell I’m obsessed with Game of Thrones? Anyways, ‘the dragon’ is what I call the sleeping alter-ego that Greyson has that is awoken when he doesn’t get what he wants – and to keep the dragon from appearing in public places, on an airplane, or just in general, we must keep Greyson happy and busy. So to do that we put together a number of things that will do just that.
- iPad and kid friendly headphones. Judge us all you want about using an iPad, but it keeps Greyson happy, entertained, and there a bunch of books and games we can download to it. Not to mention Netflix has a download capability now so we can have his favorite movies and shows right there. If you have a better way to spend 11+ hours confined to a seat feel free to let me know. 😉
- I was able to find cute Cars themed headphones that worked perfectly. They have a little switch for low, medium, and high decibels for little ones. I did have to train him to wear them though – so, I recommend spending a couple of weeks practicing.
- Busy bags. Every travel blog has their own versions of busy bags. Just simply fill a bag with all the different toys and goodies that will keep your kiddo engaged and happy. For Greyson that’s buckles, sticker books, coloring, and anything he can put in containers.
- Snacks and drinks for baby. Greyson is an awesome eater and thankfully we’ll be in business class for our initial, and longest stretch, flight where I’m sure food will always be available. Plus I’ve read that certain airliners provide kid friendly snacks on request. However, on the off chance that my foodie of a son is hungry it’s important we have healthy options available for him. I’m typically against pouches only because of those mold stories from months ago, but it’s the easiest way to feed your kid without the mess.
- This is where your snack and sippy cups will come in handy. We only plan to pack one of each and keep them clean with these pacifier and bottle wipes.
- Extra change of clothes will save you in case of a poop or [fill in the blank] emergency. It’s always best to travel with a fresh set of clothes in case your toddler finds a reason to need them.
- Soothie and lovey. Greyson l-o-v-e-s his George stuffed animal and rarely goes anywhere without him. This is also true for his blanket and luckily they’re small enough that we can pack both. Having these familiar items, that also has his scent, will help keep him soothed while we’re away from home. His Soothie pacifier will also be going along with us – but we’ll begin weaning him from it after our trip.
Having these simple, and minimal, items for our personal carry-ons for Grey will really help us on those longer flights. We made a lot of our purchases through Amazon and found ourselves as prepared as we could be before our trip! But, as always keep in mind that no matter what you pack you have to be prepared for anything and everything to go wrong or not as planned when traveling with a child. I suppose they have a way of keeping us parents on our toes!
What are your favorite travel tips/tricks/ or items to bring on flights with a toddler?