Packing.  Dreaded packing.  There is so much gear and “must-haves” when you travel with kids.  I’m here to break it down for you and show you my packing tips with kids.  But first, let’s break it down into sections.

  • Carry-ons for airplane travel
  • Carry-on for kids for airplane travel or car trips
  • Clothing and toiletries
  • Kid gear
  • Miscellaneous essentials

Carry-ons for me for air travel

I usually find out what the policies are on my particular airline before I decide on carry-ons.  It seems to change on a daily basis and I once had a gate attendant tell me that my purse was considered a carry-on and that I would have to check my backpack.  Yeah right.  Most airlines are now charging for carry-ons, but double check before you pack anything.  In most cases, I have a backpack and my purse, leaving enough room in my backpack for my purse in case a gate attendant tries to tell me that I have two carry-ons.  In my carry-on, I carry the following:

  1. My Kindle
  2. Either my iPad or my small laptop
  3. A change of clothes in a spacebag, for those unfortunately situations where you are delayed or, even worse, when you arrive but your suitcase doesn’t.
  4. Some back up toiletries in case my suitcase gets lost.  In this small toiletry bag I have a small pot of moisturizer, a small bottle of saline solution, chapstick and maybe some shampoo.  See here for a genius idea on how to pack these items.
  5. Flight documents and passport if I’m traveling internationally
  6. Tons of small and medium sized ziplock bags.  I use all these bags to organize things, for example all my toiletries in a small ziplock, all my flight documents in a medium ziplock and my iPad or Kindle in a medium ziplock.  That way, you aren’t rooting around for stuff when you’re on the plane and looking for something.  never underestimate the power of ziplock organization!!
  7. Essentials like my glasses, power cords for electronics and my camera.
    • Organization
      • I keep my kindle, iPad and power cords together in one medium or large ziplock bag
      • I keep my change of clothes in a spacebag
      • I keep my flight documents and passport in a small ziplock and tucked into a zippered pocket within my backpack
      • My liquids are in a small ziplock bag, which is then tucked into a larger ziplock bag which also contains my hairbrush and my glasses
      • My camera in a neoprene pouch on it’s own

Electronics in one bag, toiletries in one bag, change of clothes in one bag, cords in an old eyeglass case, wet wipes for icky places and a snack.


See how nicely it all fits? Plenty of room for my giant camera and my purse for super strict gate attendants!

Carry-ons for kids for airplane travel or car trips

This definitely needs two sections.

Up first – airplane travel carry-ons.

  1. Either coloring books, activity books or iPad (no judgement here on electronics….do what you need to to survive!)
  2. A change of clothes in a spacebag
  3. Back-up toothbrush just in case of delay
  4. Activities and toys.  See this post for ideas on how to keep kids occupied during plane trips.  I am also a big fan of packing small, wrapped toys for extremely long flights…..I go to the Dollar Store and buy little things and wrap them up.  I dole them out throughout the flight to keep their interest–it’s also a great bribery tool.
  5. Snacks.  Some ziplock snack bags work in a pinch.  And when the flight attendant comes around asking if you want beverages, request your child’s beverage in a coffee cup with a lid to avoid spills.

A few toys in a bag, a change of clothes and a snack. Make it easy for your kids to find things.

Car trip bags for inside the car

  1. Food!  Nothing keeps a kid’s attention and calms them down than yummy snacks.  Buy a small organizer at a craft store and fill it with little bite sized snacks
  2. A travel tray for activities like coloring and building.  You can make your own or buy one here
  3. Books
  4. And, of course, electronics.  No judgement!


Clothing and Toiletries

When we travel, I usually share a giant suitcase with the kids and, no matter where we are going, everything fits.  Keith gets his own suitcase (jerk :))

I can’t say enough about space bags.  I usually sit down and write a list of everything I need and a big key is having a toiletry/medicine bag packed at all time.  I keep mine in the linen closet and when packing for a trip, I just grab it and throw it in the suitcase.


One side has toiletries that I know I will always need


The other side has medicines and first aid type stuff

All I do is add my moisturizer and saline and I'm good to go

All I do is add my moisturizer and saline and I’m good to go

Next are space bags.  I use one large one for my clothes, one for Max and one for Zoe.


The final product

Kid Gear

When it comes to gear related to kids, the options are unlimited.  Here is a quick list of some of my favorite things:





  • A good umbrella stroller…..we used this brand through at least 6 countries before Keith broke it by getting a little overzealous with a curb in Thailand  –


  • Last but not least, the backpack or baby carrier….seen here on Keith (for bigger kids)…


This thing saved our butt in LebanonThis thing saved our butt in Lebanon

  • ….and a carrier for babies on me…

    See how much Zoe is enjoying the baby carrier? Sound asleep

    See how much Zoe is enjoying the baby carrier? Sound asleep


Miscellaneous essentials


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