Monday, February 20, 2012

Flying with kids: 6 great carry-on items

When traveling by plane with kids, it's a good idea to be as organized as possible. This is especially true when your kids are younger, and not yet able to have their own carry-on. This is the time when you may be carrying a lot of items: diapers, bottles, wipes, changes of clothes, baby food, and so on.

Here are 6 items that could make your time on board easier:

1. Okkatots Travel Baby Depot Backpack Bag 
My kids are out of diapers by now, but just reading the list of features makes me wish I'd had this when they were still in diapers on flights:
  • Diaper station with soft changing pad, removable wipe dispenser, and dispenser for sixteen diapers
  • Insulated pocket holds six full-size baby bottles
  • Easy-access Pacifier Pouch keeps pacifiers clean and dry
  • Outside pocket securely holds DVD player for viewing then zips and stores easily when done- Note:
  • Machine-washable laundry bag locks in moisture to keep everything else dry
And all in a backpack, which frees up your hands. Even now, when my kids are 5 and 9, I definitely prefer flying with a backpack for that very reason: I can carry my stuff on my back, and use my hands to help them out if they need it.

I travel with a backpack very similar to this one now, and I love it. It has a multitude of pockets inside and out, making it easy to stay organized (or at least try to), and the separate laptop compartment is really nice. I haven't yet met a security screener that would let my laptop stay in the backpack, even though hypothetically they could according to TSA rules, but at least the laptop is nicely protected and easy to access. The backpack is roomy, feels durable and the straps are comfy: I carry enough weight when traveling with my kids that this really matters!

3. Travelon Slim-Line Messenger-Style Shoulder Bag
I like to keep all travel documents, money, and credit cards on me at all times when I travel with the kids. This means I don't even want to put them down in the bathroom: it's just too easy to forget stuff behind when you've got children to pay attention to, flights to catch, and all sorts of things on your mind. So passports, credit cards, money, printouts of e-tickets or my itinerary, and my cell-phone go into a small bag I keep on me all the time. This bag is small enough to be easy to carry, but big enough to hold everything it needs to. It also has zippers so that nothing can accidentally fall out.

4. J World New York Sunny Rolling Backpack
My kids love their wheeled backpacks when we travel. For kids, it can often be easier to pull their own stuff than to carry it on their back. It's a good idea to pick a kids' backpack of decent quality, since a carry-on will take have to withstand some handling, squishing, stuffing, and occasionally even some stomping.

5. Alex Car Valet 
This carrying-case with a fold-out table was designed for car travel, but can be very handy on board an airplane as well. Pens, crayons, papers, pencils, and other supplies can all be kept together and tidied up quickly. Put a sticker book and a coloring book in there too, and you have a great activity set for a child traveling by car or plane (or any other way!). It can either be used as a carry-on by itself, or it can be put into a backpack or other bag to bring along.

6. Baby Portable Changing Pad w/ Detachable Storage - BabySpec's Travel Change Station Kit - Black
Changing diapers on board an airplane, or when you're on the go in an airport or anywhere else, can be a challenge. Sometimes you can't find a change table, and even if you do, you might not feel that great about putting your baby on that bare plastic. Bringing along a diaper-changing pad can make things easier for you and more comfortable for your baby as well. This kit folds up nice and small and can easily be packed into a carry-on.

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