10 Packing Tips for Your Next Flight
I’m a over-packer. Every time I have to fly somewhere, this seems to set off a panic trigger in my head. I run around the house thinking “Pack all THINGS!”. Heaven forbid, I might forget something. Travelling with kids has intensified my need to bring everything.
On our fall RV road trip, you think we would have had everything… but instead I left with only one pair of underwear, and didn’t think through the wedding and 1 conference I would be attending and what I would wear. In fact, I packed my kids shorts instead of pants going into fall season. It wasn’t my brightest moment.
Recently, one of my friends started travelling for business each week. On one trip lasting over 21 days, she had to pack for extremes in weather from frozen tundra of the north, to warm climates of the south. With the recent changes in how airlines handle baggage, it’s in your best interests to pack smart, and light.
We combined our knowledge from business travel to family travel and came up with certain truths on what you need to bring and what you can leave at home.
Think It Through
Before you leave, it’s essential to think through what you will be doing while you’re away. What do you really need? Packing a couple days in advance then go through the suitcase and removing items a couple times before you leave is a wise move. (And probably one I would be wise to adopt).
If you’re heading to stay with family or friends, what items may they already have? When I travel with my children, I ask my family to borrow large items like playpens if possible. If staying at hotel, what amenities are nearby – is it easy to pop to the nearest store to get an item you may have forgotten?
Remember your destination… hat & gloves? sunglasses? swim goggles? swim suit? flip flops? These might be important items to bring that could easily get overlooked as they aren’t everyday items or things that are currently out of season.
- Hair Dryer: all hotels have this, and it’s not necessary to bring your own.
- Other hair appliances: Do you really need it? If so, grab a travel unit.
- Full-sized personal care products. Grab a 100ml bottle from the dollarstore & label.
- Diapers & wipes. I load up my backpack with 2 days worth of diapers and a travel package of wipes, and as soon as I arrive as my destination, I pick up more.
- Over-the-counter medicines.
- “Just in Case” items. Go back to thinking it through! If you don’t know if you will use it, leave it home.
Pack It & Check It!
- A week’s worth of clothing: 7 underwear, 3 pants, 7 shirts, 2 sweaters, 2 pairs of pajamas.
Reuse shirt for best impact. Book a hotel that has on-site laundry facilities & take small pods with you or buy small box of laundry soap at desk. Pack each outfit in a large sized Ziplock bag for ease of use. This is also a great tip if you’re packing multiple family members in one suitcase. Bring 1 cloth bag, and 1 extra ziplock for dirty or wet clothes for your return.
Avoids long-screening processes. Use a padded bag or pack all your clothing around it if you’re worried about possible breaking. I also always use a lock on my suitcase when my laptop is inside.
- Personal Care items.
- Nighttime essentials for kids like pacifiers or blankets.
Bring to Airport: Mom Edition
- Backpack, Cross body purse, coat, and running shoes.
- Passport in Passport Holder. Keep your plane tickets and passport in there so you know where it is at all times and minimize misplacing items, especially if you are carrying multiple ID’s.
- iPad, or cell phone & earphones for quick distractions for waiting times.
- Empty reusable water bottle. Fill it once you’re past security and save yourself $10.
- Snacks, pack of gum.Travelling with kids, add this:
- Travel wipes & diapers for 2 days.
- Set of pajamas for each kid. Kid inevitably does something messy to clothing when I don’t have an extra set of clothes. I will take a set of onesie pajamas with me and worst case scenario grab a plastic bag from the flight attendant for soiled clothes and put kid in pajamas.
- New toy. Pick up a distraction for each kid if you need one, something new will be thrilling.
What to Pack in Kids Backpacks
If your child is over the age of 2, they can pack their own backpack to bring treasures with you on the flight. Make sure you check anything you add to their backpack. My sister and I flew with my mom long ago and packed our regular crayon box which included stainless steel scissors. Needless to say, security was not happy to find them.
- Lovey for cuddling.
- Special treat snacks that they don’t normal get to have.
- Empty reusable water bottle.
- Sticker Books. We like the Melissa & Doug Reusable kind.
- Crayons & new colouring book. Pick up one from the Dollarstore with a small pencil case to keep the crayons in check.
- 3 Toys. Let your child pick out which ones to take with them (as long as they will fit).
- Set of headphones.
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a passionate recreation coordinator by day, crazy farm mama of two by night. i live outdoors: growing my own food, camping and hiking with my border collie with two active kids in tow. when I’m not writing, I’m experimenting with recipes, and crafts – or anything else that might keep the monkeys entertained.