Essential Hand Luggage for Kids Who Fly 2


You are on a flight bound for your family holiday.  Silently cursing the carry-on hand luggage or lack thereof.

Prior to departing for this family holiday, the entire household was bubbling with excitement.  You packed the family suitcases.  Added the passports and tickets into your handbag and thought, we should be OK for the flight; meals and entertainment are provided.

Little did you know that mid-flight, with several hours still to go before landing, you would be cursing this very concept.  The kids are now restless.  Well actually, beyond restless.  They are continually putting the tray table up and down.  Kicking the seat in front.  Struggling to get out of their seat.  And crying, I’m hungry, I’m bored.  The person seated in front and the one in the row across continually glare at you.  Why or why, you ask yourself, did I not pack some essentials in our carry-on luggage?

A packing list for taking carry on hand luggage for kids

Please PIN this for later.
Just hover over the image and use the red P button

So for your next flight with kids let’s look at carry-on hand luggage.

What to pack in your hand-luggage for kids

Carry on essentials for babies and toddlers

  • Nappies, wipes, disposable change mats, nappy sacks, spare clothes.
  • Consider a lightweight stroller for your trip that can be stored in the cabin luggage.  Check with the individual airline whether this is permitted.
  • Water, milk, formula, dummies, and snacks your child likes.
    • There is only limited space in the cabin crew areas so don’t expect cabin crew to keep bottles and food cold.
    • Don’t take it for granted that the child’s meal provided will be to your child’s liking.

Hand luggage for all children

  • Gifts – new items bought specially for the family holiday.
    • These only need to be cheap small items eg. small cars, pencils, activity/sticker/puzzle books, games, reading book/magazine.  Don’t choose items with too many pieces or that are too noisy (remember other passengers).
    • Gift wrapping adds to the fun and in very small children is another item to play with and keep them occupied.
  • Food.  Take plenty of your child’s favourite healthy snacks.
    • Your child may not necessarily want to eat at the time the airline food is served or may not like what is offered.  I find it best to be prepared with loads of healthy snacks that my child likes.
  • Spare clothes.
  • Anti-bacterial hand wipes.
  • Favourite comfort toy!!  This is a godsend to help your child sleep and offers comfort when they are anxious.
  • Be prepared for delays – take extras of everything.

Carry on for older kids and tweens:

  • Provide your child with their own special onboard bag.  Allow the older kids to choose their own items that they would like to take onboard (just oversee that items are appropriate for flights eg sharp items).  Advise your child that they are now responsible for that hand luggage bag.
  • Mp3 players, handheld electronic games, DVD players, books, activity books eg word sleuths or crosswords may all want to be considered, and a deck of cards.

Check smart traveller for the latest regulations for carry-on luggage.  Also, check the airport and airline’s websites that you will be travelling through and with for all hand luggage allowances.

Of course, there is no guarantee that these packing lists will alleviate all dramas on board your flight with kids.  But they certainly won’t hinder the flight.  Hopefully, these packing lists for hand luggage with kids will provide you and your neighbourly passengers some moments of relief.

For more family travel packing lists click HERE or for travel tips for flying with baby visit HERE.

Do you have any suggestions on what to add to the hand luggage packing list?

A packing list for taking carry on hand luggage with kids when flying

Please share this on Facebook.
Just hover over the image and use the blue F button

Linking Up With:

Toddlers On Tour



About Sally-Ann Brown

I am Sally-Ann the author of Toddlers on Tour. I am a wife and mother who has always had a passion for travel. I love sharing my experiences and lessons learned to help you have a better family holiday or day trip. Read "All About Me" under the "Home" tab to discover my story and what lead me to here.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

2 thoughts on “Essential Hand Luggage for Kids Who Fly

  • Anda

    Very good advice, Sally. Your post made me smile because it reminded me of the time I had to think about all these details that would save the day. Those days are gone now and in a way my life is much easier, but I still miss the time when I had to pack lunch boxes and suitcases. Enjoy the kids while they are still young!