What to Pack for Airplane-travel with a Toddler

What to pack for airplane-travel with a toddler: coming to Malaysia we were moving house: so I brought 7 bags!! I am not sure how I managed with my two-year-old, changing flights twice, but I did. I will not do it again in a hurry, mind, so here’s what I would recommend for a trip…

For getting around: rule of thumb-

Take what you can manage.

I ask myself: “Do I really need it? Can I manage to transport it? Will it be a hassle? Is there an alternative?”

I take a big case, a small backpack, and sometimes a car seat. My daughter takes a Trunki. Bear in mind some hotels etc. have a fair walk to the rooms and if a beach bungalow, the ground may not be even. Daisy was never that keen on the stroller so I’ve never taken it: one thing less!

Should you take a car seat?

Are you thinking of hiring a car and doing some sight seeing? If so and you can manage, go for it! At airports you can always put it on a trolley. I have found I can also manage mine, as it is light, carrying it one-handed; this means I don’t have an arm for Daisy, though. It’s worth checking out if you can hire a car seat: some car-rental companies have them.

Essentials for on the plane :

A couple of changes of clothes; nappies if needed; something warm eg. a fleece or a blanket; wipes; tissues; snacks and goodies. Oh, and something for your little one to suck on for take-off and landing- to help avoid ear pain.

Your cabin bag:

Assume there will be little room for manoeuvre when in the plane, so I recommend having a soft bag to put under the seat in front of you. Then to save too much rummaging around, organise stuff into separate bags/ pouches so you can find it more easily. A backpack can be good so you’re hands-free when you arrive


My daughter loves the kiddies snack box on Easyjet. I make my own version, now we’re miles from Europe. I try to include things that won’t spoil if they get a bit warm on the way and when opened. Suggestions: sarnies (jam, just bread with slices of cheese separate to put in later) fruit (soft fruit in a non-squashable box) biscuits, crackers, cereal bars, raisins and other dried fruit, such as mango.

You are allowed some water/ juice/ milk, so check the airline policy. (It’s worth noting here, that at Gatwick I was told to throw away a drink once as not in a children-style container so now I put her water in a baby bottle!)

Get plenty of things to do:

Crayons, a notepad, little toys (not balls- they’ll get lost), a board game, play dough. Take an iPad or other, with series or a film downloaded, headphones and a portable charger.

For when you’re there:

  • Soap or a small bath wash in case the hotel one irritates their skin
  • A small towel ( the sort that dries almost instantly so not soggy if moving on to another place)
  • A small pack of medicines including plasters, a thermometer, paracetamol and small saline solutions, if you use them.
  • Sun cream
  • Mosquito repellant (though if there are mosis you will doubtless be able to buy there)
  • A comb
  • Water bottle
  • Stuff for a bottle of milk
  • Some toys

It depends what sort of journey you are going on but it’s worth considering having a separate bag for your little one to bring. Bear in mind you may end up carrying it though!


  • 3 pairs of pyjamas (wash, wear, dry)
  • lots of knickers / pants/ enough nappies (as you may not find the right size and they could leak!) Besides, when they’ve been thrown away, think of all the room you will have!)
  • plenty of tops ( thinking food spillages and stuff)
  • mix and match bottoms
  • layers for warmth
  • a hat and an umbrella or raincoat
  • a couple of pairs of socks (for walking round room/ on plane/ for if there’s an indoor play area).
  • shoes of your choice (depending on the weather) and possibly another pair for if they get wet or whatever
  • worth considering: do you have two of his/ favourite outfit? I am seriously going to do this as when we’re on holiday Daisy keeps wanting to wear the same dress!

Please bear in mind we are currently living in Malaysia and travelling here so I may have forgotten things you need for cooler climes…

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