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What’s in my carry-on – Toddler Mom edition

I am currently embarking on a four week trip alone with my almost-3-year old. We will be making stops in Indiana, Ohio, and California! My daughter Saige is beyond excited to see Nanas, Grandpas, aunties, uncles, and cousins! I have traveled alone with her soooo many times, starting when she was 5 weeks old! I was terrified, exhausted, and had not really gotten the hang of breastfeeding yet. I ended up sweaty, more exhausted, guilt drinking caffeine, and nursing her in the airplane bathroom 😳 I have gotten a LOT better at solo travel with a baby since then and realize it all comes down to being organized and prepared. I know a lot of Mamas have told me they would never do it BUT, I’m here to help with a few tips on what to pack in your carry-on! This is mainly applicable to toddlers because babies are a whole different ballgame. Also, this is just what I have found works for us. I would love to hear some of your tips!

What’s in my carry-on

First off, start with a great bag. I have had several and the type I have found to work the best is just a nice big one without too many compartments. We tried the Petunia Pickle Bottom first and I honestly thought it didn’t hold enough things. The bag I am using on this trip is a Lilly Pulitzer inspired tote I randomly found in a boutique in Hawaii. It is perfect because it just a big open space that I can throw everything into. I do a little bit of organizing with cosmetic bags, wet bags, and ziplocs too.

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me to fill the bag!

1. Surprises! This is so key for a flight with a toddler. It does NOT need to be expensive. Just fun little things that will bring her joy for a few hours. I like to raid the dollar spot at Target 👌🏼 I try to always include a new book, an activity like stickers, coloring, or puzzle and a small toy. I also bring along a few favorites from home. (P.S. This is not a post on how to pack super light, just how to survive 😜)

2. Electronics. Saige does not get a lot of screen time at home, but when we are traveling… different story! I have an old iPod that I let her use and I download a few Disney shows, movies and games before we leave. You don’t need too many really. Kids will watch the same episode on repeat for days if you let them! For this trip, I bought a pair of kid friendly headphones on Amazon. They are adorable and work great! For yourself, download a good book onto your phone. Don’t forget chargers for everything, including a car charger since those outlets are often found under airline seats.

3. Toiletries. The very first thing I always pack in my carry on is sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer. As soon as we are in our seats, I wipe down every surface which probably makes me look like a nut case, but I KNOW she is going to try to lick the armrest at some point so it better be clean! I also bring regular wipes, tissues and lotion. A few things I have recently started bringing along for myself is a toothbrush and toothpaste for very long flights (which they all are now for us living in Hawaii) because it feels sooooo good to do something that simple after you have traveling for a long time, and oil absorbing sheets. These are amazing because my makeup always seems to start smudging and melting while traveling and a quick blot with these does wonders. Also, they keep me from wanting to touch my face which is so gross on an airplane. 4. Clothes/Comfort items. This one is easy. Always pack an extra outfit and pair (or 2!) of undies. I also like to throw in jammies if we will be landing late at night. Also bring your child’s favorite small blankie and lovey. This will make airplane napping easier. For yourself, dress in layers. I am always either freezing or sweating trying so have options. I usually wear comfortable pants, closed toed shoes, and a tank top. I bring along a wrap or a sweater in case it is cold. One of my favorite tips passed on to me by another mom friend, is to pack a swimsuit. That way if your bags don’t make it when you do, you can hang out at the hotel or resort pool. This HAS happened to us before and it was a lifesaver!

5. Water bottles. I like to bring reusable water bottles for both of us because I think it is SO important to stay hydrated. If you have your own you won’t have to keep flagging down the flight attendant, your skin won’t dry out, and your toddler won’t go on a poop strike (seriously ya’ll. I know you know what I’m talking about. It’s the worst.)

6. Snacks. I like to bring snacks that are nutritionally dense like dried fruits and nuts. Some flights will not allow you to open nuts though so roasted chickpeas are a great option. Lots of protein and so filling! Remember, a fed baby is a happy baby!

7. Wet bag. This is in case of potty accidents or spills so you have somewhere to put the wet clothes. I always store the dry clothes in it until (knock on wood!) it is needed. Mine is from Pottery Barn and you can get them monogrammed too. I didn’t because we did not have a name picked out yet when I ordered ours.

Besides the obvious things like passports and such, these are my favorite things for flying with a toddler. Hope they are helpful! Happy and safe travels to everyone!

xoxo,

Gretchen

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