I’m headed to the airport for my seventh flight this month… and it’s not over yet. I’ll be racking up a feel more sky miles before the days are all checked off the calendar page. I have to say, even with baby (I mean I’ve been doing that for about 10 years now) I think I’ve mostly got this traveling thing down. For the most part anyway. There will always be last minute changes, weather differences and activity variations to account for in packing. There will be hiccups in plans and sleepy, groggy days of forgotten things. And though right now I’d honestly rather be at home in our normal rhythms, playing dress up with paint on our new house walls… I travel on average about once or twice a month. The game changes slightly as it’s either by plane or car and either for work or for family travel. As a result though, we have a pretty solid game plan and have our routine for airport security lines. I pretty much know what we do and especially what we don’t need, at least for getting us from point A to point B with our carry-on bags and stroller.
I thought I’d do a few packing travel posts because I know with the approach of spring and summer, there will be many people traveling. If you have tips you’d like to see, let me know! And tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments so we can all learn!
Today I’ll kick it off with a “What’s In My Bag” kind of post with my carry on tote. This is what I pack when I’m traveling solo with baby. Believe it or not, it’s been pretty much the same for the last 10 years, just rotating out the old for the new! A couple of things to note, this is for when I travel solo with baby. When there are more kids in the mix or when I’m completely solo, things change slightly. But I know there are a plethora of “what to pack in my carry-on” type of posts (just search Pinterest), and I thought you other mamas would appreciate seeing what you need and don’t need for a carry-on with baby in tow! Also, this is not for an international flight! My bag stays pretty much the same for all domestic travel, meaning up to 5 or t hours of travel (basically getting across the country), even with a layover, but add in hours and international borders and my options would change. With that said, many of the standard things that don’t change much regardless of destination, activities planned, and climate.
I don’t like having a massive, heavy carry on tote bag to lug through an airport. Of course, when traveling by car, it’s easy to add more into the mix, but especially for flying, I’d rather just pack less as much I can. With baby it’s easy to over-do it, but really there are just a few things that are really needed.
Here’s what’s usually in my carry-on tote:
Tote. This has been the ultimate traveler bag for me, and it’s going on three years of use! For me a bag that converts to a backpack equals hands free, and that’s priceless.
Laptop. It always comes with me! Now, when I’m traveling with my baby, I don’t ever really get the chance to use it in-flight, but it’s something I don’t want to pack in a checked bag and keep it close just to keep it safe.
Reading material. I often take the traveling opportunity to read or catch up on the latest magazines filling my mailbox. This is obviously easier when traveling alone, but there is just about always time when baby falls asleep in my arms, so I keep reading materials close by for those times.
Small bag of essentials: travel Tylenol or Exedrin + Chapstick + travel lotion + travel tissues + gum + hair tie + pen + travel oils/sanitizing spray or sanitizer. Flights can be so absolutely drying, which is why I keep lotion with me, and you don’t want to be 10,000 feet in the air with a headache with no pain reliever. The key is to keep it to essentials and when possible, a small size.
Wallet. Don’t forget your ID and credit cards. Whenever I leave, I at least double check this, I know if I’ve got a way to purchase what I need and my phone, I’ll be fine… though it’s best to keep the necessities on hand.
Headphones. While there are some amazing headphones out right now, and I’ve got my eyes on a couple different rose gold colored pairs, right now I’m just using my Apple ear buds and they were great. Nice and compact so they don’t take up much space and I can pop them in for a movie on a long flight once the babe falls asleep in my lap.
Chargers. While they aren’t shown here, I do keep a phone charger and sometimes a laptop charger in my bag. Many times, though, I’ll make sure my laptop is charged and just pack that charger to save on carry on space. I also love traveling with this portable power strip.
Sunglasses with a little pouch or case. (Again, not shown here, but usually I’ll pop them in my bag last minute as I get out of the car).
Snacks. Because a hangry traveler is no fun. My last flight was so early, nothing was open to grab a quick little something, so always keeping a bar or two in the bag is essential. When packing snacks, don’t forget a couple of options for baby too!
Scarf. I get cold on flights, so I always bring an extra layer, but I don’t like to have large heavy layers or bulky items through the airport, which is why a scarf is perfect. I can throw it in the top of my tote, around my neck, use it as a blanket for baby or myself, use as a nursing cover, and more.
Diaper Tote. I like to keep most of baby’s items together in a smaller tote within the carry on tote and that way I know where to find something when I need it for her. Diapers + travel pack of wipes + infant tylenol + extra pacifiers + nail clippers + hand sanitizer all fit into our little waterproof tote bag.
Extra onesie. Accidents happen. Unless it’s a really long travel day, I don’t often pack an entire outfit in the carry on, but I always want to have something in case of diaper leaks or spills that are too much to wipe up.
Toys. I find the fewer the better here, but I do usually grab one or two small toys that my babe is currently enjoying. When we need something more, we can play with a water bottle we grabbed from the gift shop, a box of mints, bracelets from my arm… really just about anything can keep them entertained and I find that they really don’t play with any of the extra toys the few times I’ve actually traveled with more.
Anyway, I’m packing up to head to the airport right now actually and I’d better hurry! So, what do you carry in your carry on tote?!