If you are like me you probably read a bunch of blog posts on what to pack when traveling with a toddler or baby. I've travelled with Kalei since he was 3 weeks old so what I packed has has changed a lot since having Kili.
It seems weird to say but try your best to pack light. You don't need the whole world but you do need whatever it takes to keep their attention!
We've also hit that age of where Kili wants whatever Kalei has. It happened about a week before we were leaving - so not enough time to guarantee that Amazon Prime arrival (when are they going to fix that for Hawaii shoppers???).
For your reference...Kalei is 4.5 years old and Kili is 17 months old.
In the past I've always had Kalei's thing in a mini backpack. It was perfect to carry his snacks and small toys for a quick neighbor island day trip. Since we were gone for a week this time around and I didn't have my husband...I told Kalei he had to pull his own suitcase. He was super excited!!!
I chose the Yodo Zoo 3-Way Kids Rolling Luggage with Wheels. It was the perfect size for Kalei to use as a rolling suitcase (a little big for a backpack) - it measures 11.8 x 6.1 x 15 inches. They have different options for designs - Kalei is into sharks and we got Kili the Unicorn.
This bag is perfect because you can tuck the backpack straps in and cover the wheels if you decide to use it that way. It also unzips open all the way, so it makes it easy for Kalei to help me pack and to use all the space! The front pocket was also perfect for a small snack, some toys or wipes! And there is two mesh pockets on the sides for water bottles or bottles!
Kili loved it so much I ended up ordering one for her...but since it wouldn't make it in time I had it shipped to my Aunty's house so it would be waiting for us for our trip back. So for our flight up she borrowed one of Kalei's mini backpacks and we kept it light enough for her to carry without tipping over (but big brother decided to carry it for her so she didn't have to).
TOP 10 THINGS WE PACK
Now onto what you've been wanting to know!!! What do we pack in their bags??? Going up we fit this all in Kalei's shark bag. Since we had more space with Kili's bag on the our trip home, we basically split their things and I added extra change of clothes that I usually carry and swaddle blanket if they get cold.
1. Snacks - I chose their favorite snacks. Things that they don't get to have all the time so it was like a special treat. I also went for small things that weren't too messy. The take & toss toddler bowls with lids were perfect for dividing up snacks they both ate. Best part is I wasn't heartbroken if we lost these containers.
2. Water Bottles - I made sure to pack these in those mesh pockets. They both have 12oz CamelBak eddy kids insulated water bottles. It is a great travel size and I just fill with water once we are in the airport. If you fill these before you get on the airplane, I recommend you open the lid before flipping the straw once the plane is at altitude. We got squirted by the water on our first flight and learned quickly taking off the top relieves the pressure that builds!
3. Sippy Cups - I also got take & toss sippy cups for Kili for her milk. She did find the sweet spot to make it leak but it was good enough for traveling - and again, I wasn't heartbroken to lose or leave these behind.
4. Mess Free Coloring - My kids aren't big on coloring but I always have these ready just in case they feel the urge to color. My favorite is Crayola's Color Wonder packs. It doesn't take up a lot of space and it leaves no marks!!! I have had enough encounters with Kili and the sharpie.
5. Busy Book/Board Book - Kili isn't really interested in toys but she loves to sort and I thought I would try this buckle board. It kept her busy for about an 30-45min at a time on each flight which is pretty incredible. She got the hang of it after the first flight so we kept it hidden until we went home. Since she didn't see it the whole trip she was still interested and tried to buckle again! Be prepared to unbuckle a lot! If you baby vocalizes frustration this might not be for you...when Kili got frustrated she did scream a couple times!!!
We also brought a book they both enjoy. I find that small board books work best and we only bring their favorite. This time it was Dear Zoo (a flip book) although we also love anything by Sandra Boynton.
6. Wikki Stix - I had no idea what Wikki Stix were until Kalei got them at one of his last tee ball games. I fell in love and so did Kalei! He loves playing with these and it keeps him busy for a while. It's easier and cleaner than playdough, and I just toss it when he's done. Warning: it does get a little yucky after a while (it's a wax stick). I like to keep a stash of these party favor packs available and give him one at a time. Kili enjoyed splitting them apart so I would just clump it back together after she pulled each stick off.
7. Play Dough - I'm not a fan of play dough...I never realized how messy it was but loved it as a kid. Kalei can play for hours and we don't let him play at home unless we are outside. It's a perfect treat for him on the plane and these play dough party packs come in mini sizes. Just like the Wikki Stix, we toss it when we're done.
8. Stickers (not pictured) - Kili has just discovered stickers so I try to bring some. This past trip I found a coloring book that had stickers and coloring pages. Kalei colored while Kili covered herself in stickers.
9. Window Gel Clings (not pictured) - If we have window seats, I try to make sure we have window gel clings so the kids can stick their decorations on the window. Sometimes if I can't find those I use those reusable window stickers.
10. iPad - I feel like this is self explanatory but both kids have their own. Leave it to if Kalei has one I want one too. Kili doesn't really play but it's a very expensive toy for her to pretend to swipe right now since she doesn't really play any apps or watch any TV shows. If you do have an iPad don't forget your portable battery charger! I usually carry that in my bag for the kids and my phone.
Don't forget their headphones if you bring the iPads!!! Nothing worse than having to listen to whatever your kids are listening to. We've tried a few different ones but this one fits the kids best. Kili wasn't interested in them but I had one for her just in case. You can choose from a number of characters from CozyPhones Kids Headphones. It's also nice that it has a volume control that limits how loud it gets.
OTHER ITEMS WE PACK:
I carry some of the other stuff for the kids in my bag and I'll probably do a post on what goes in my bag.
But I also throw in the kid's bag a favorite toy or stuffed animal. Kalei loves his George and he goes to bed with him every night...we actually have a back up George that we rotate in just in case we ever lose the real George...
This is what has worked for us but remember...meltdowns can happen to even the most seasoned of travelers. We were blessed that Kalei was always the perfect travel companion but Kili loves to be heard and is that loud baby with those loud meltdowns.
If you're a first time traveler with baby...try not to stress. If they cry they cry...
I found that most people are very sympathetic in all of our travels. I've never given those little "kits" some people say you can give your seat mates (ear plugs or whatever).
And even if your baby has the meltdown of the century...you will probably never see those people again!
Want to see all the items in one place? Check out my Amazon List: Must Have for Carry On Bag for Baby and Toddler