When moms travel with babies or children, their main concern seems to be what to pack for them, and how to entertain them at both the airport and the airplane so that they don't have temper tantrums. But it shouldn't be that difficult if moms keep one thing in mind: less is more. You should only pack essentials--and that's true not just for kids but also mothers. To save space in your carry-on, your best bet is not to bring physical toys. And besides. children have short attention spans, which means they'll get tired of a toy and never go back to it again. So bringing familiar toys will be a waste.
Your best bet is to bring "flat" entertainment because these things take less space in bags. Children will be kept busy scribbling or drawing on paper, putting together a mini-puzzle, watching a movie on an iPad or laptop, and coloring in a color book.
Moms also should follow the 'less is more' method. You'll know you've brought too much if all your personal items don't fit in your carry-on and tote bag. Women should bring only clothing that they can wear at least twice or three times. Or take this tip from Jessica Biel: "One of the best pieces of advice I got for packing is pick a color scheme and stick with it. Like black, white, and blue and that’s it. Then you can wear everything with everything."
That said, moms also need to know what not to pack in their carry-on. But where do you start? How do you differentiate between what's essential and what's not? To help out moms, we've not only given them 15 examples of what to bring on flight, but also ten items to leave behind.
25 Bring: Things You Need To Change Your Baby
Here's what you need to bring along when changing your baby, according to First Cry Parenting. They may be obvious, but hey, we do forget things when we travel, and usually those items are essentials. Bring diapers, but make sure you carry one for each hour that you would be traveling. You can't rely on the changing station in the bathroom, so your best bet is to bring with you a foldable changing station. Carry with you disposable bags for used diapers and, finally, bring with you a lot of hand sanitizers because, as we all know, the bathroom's sink just spews out very little water.
24 Leave Behind: Certain Foods
Moms who have traveled internationally know that most countries will not allow you to bring meats, fruits, vegetables and plants. If you do bring these things abroad, they will be confiscated on arrival. That's why moms with children or babies should pick certain foods to bring with them on the plane to feed them. That means apples and pears, a fresh salad, hamburgers or any type of meat sandwich, to name a few. We know, just the things kids want on a long-distance flight. But you should be okay. Most of your food products will be eaten by your kids while the airplane is still in the air, according to Travel Made Simple.
23 Bring: "Flat" Entertainment
Never bring physical object toys like Lego sets or Barbie packed with a lot of Barbie accoutrements. Those things will weigh down your carry-on and your child can easily lose pieces or make a mess because your chair and your child's chair is so cramped. Here's what you should bring instead: flat entertainment, which is easy to stash and makes packing easier. Bring with you mini-puzzles, travel games, papers to scribble on, stickers and coloring books. But according to Parents, once on board, don't take out all the toys or games; do it one at a time so you can stretch out all the things you've brought.
22 Leave Behind (Or Check): Bulky Clothes And Outerwear
Moms who are traveling on a plane should never pack their outerwear or other bulky clothes like sweatshirts. The same goes with their children. We know that the cabin gets cold, but you can always bring something lighter, like a thin wool blanket. You can even get a blanket for your kid if you just ask the flight attendant. The reason why bulky items should stay in your checked bags is because "airlines don’t count sweatshirts and jackets as one of your allotted two free bags," according to Mental Floss.
21 Bring: Lollipops
Lollipops are essential to bring on flight because they serve two major functions. Kids love them and you get some free time as they lick the pops. The other reason pertains to the flight. You should give your kids the candy during take-off and again when landing because it's the best way to reduce ear pain due to the changing pressure. Trust us, this is a necessity; your kid will be crying nonstop without the candy, according to Aha! Parenting.
20 Bring: Clothing You Can Layer
Layering clothes is the easiest way of dressing appropriately on a plane. Some clothes that layer well, according to Packsmith, are cotton T-shirts in any style, cotton or merino wool sweaters (a cashmere one is your best bet, as it is both thin and warm) leggings (pair with a dress when it's cold), and a lightweight waterproof jacket if there's rain or if the A/C on the airplane is too cold. Layering means you can peel off a layer when it's too hot, or add a sweater when it's cold. This way, you'll be comfortable on the plane.
19 Bring: Snacks
Kids are always hungry, so moms who travel should always bring snacks. How much? Well, it depends on the duration of your flight, according to Full Suitcase. Food to bring are fruits you don't have to peel (or else make a mess) like apples, pears and grapes, sandwiches (when kids are at their hungriest), sweets like mini cakes and cookies or brownies, some portable fruit drinks (like Capri Sun), and candy (but only as a reward for listening to you).
18 Bring: Tablets And Headphones
Tablets are perfect for hyperactive kids. You can download movies, TV shows and kid friendly apps at home before your flight. Your children will be preoccupied for at least two hours while watching Beauty and the Beast for the fourth time, according to The Mom Trotter. We recommend the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8-inch, the iPad mini, The Fire HD 8 Kids Edition, the Kindle For Kids Bundle and, for babies, Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages. But don't forget the headphones! We recommend the Beats By Dre Solo Wireless Headphones if you don't want any wires hanging around.
17 Leave Behind: Familiar Or Old Toys
Children and babies have short attention spans, which means the moment they're tired with a toy, they will never go back to it again. Bringing these "old" or familiar toys will take up space in your carry-ons and will be a total waste. Instead, buy as many new toys and activities as you can fit in a carry-on, according to Reader's Digest. Don't feel guilty about spoiling your kids in this way. Just put it in perspective; flights cost a lot, so spending, like, fifty bucks on new toys will keep your kids preoccupied and minimize temper tantrums.
16 Bring: Milk And Formula
We used to have a limit on how much breast milk we can carry. But now that airlines--and above all the TSA--are getting lax, you can bring along as much formula and breastmilk you need to last your flight. According to Parents, it can now go through security without hassle. But remember to separate your milk and formula from all your other items, which means they should get their own tray to go through the x-ray machine. Once you clear security, you can buy bottled water to mix with powdered formula for your baby.
15 Bring: Books
Books follow the flat rule for entertainment, just as tablets do. Since they're flat, they're easy to carry around. If you have kids under five or six, bring some illustrated books. For those who are a little older, pack some children's books that they can read or that you can read for them, according to USA Today. Classics like The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, to name a few, will keep kids occupied. If your kid is a tween, bring along books that target their age, such as the John Green novels.
14 Bring: Safety Seats
In most cases, your baby flies for free if you keep him on your lap. But that's not a good idea. Sure, you're saving money by not buying the baby a seat, but what happens during hard landings, updrafts and turbulence? Your baby--as well as other things on your tray-- can become a projectile if you lose his grip. The Today Show recommends bringing a car seat because that's the safest way to buckle up the baby. You can use it if there's an empty seat for free, but don't count on it during packed flights. For long flights, just splurge and buy your baby a seat. Besides, it's required.
13 Leave Behind: A Strong Fragrance
Even moms want to smell fresh. But while traveling on an airplane where we're all sharing the same air, you should keep your favorite perfume to the minimum. Or better yet, especially when your scent could offend other passengers, you should do without. And you should also not be experimenting while up in the air because you may spray too much perfume on you. Be respectful of passengers around you. People with allergies, or those with asthma or anyone prone to headaches, as MSN Lifestyle pointed out, will also be bothered by your scent.
12 Bring: Workbooks And Twistable Crayons
We've already told you that you should bring coloring books for your kids on the plane, but you should also bring workbooks. Workbooks are better than papers because they won't come loose and go flying around. In addition, since you are bringing various paper products to color, don't forget packing pens, pencils and colored pencils. You should not bring ordinary crayons because you can make a mess sharpening them. Your best bet is twistable crayons because they never need sharpening, all you have to do is twist to keep the colors going, according to Crayola.
11 Leave Behind: Toys For Your Kids
Never pack a bag of toys, as there's a big chance that kids will play with them and get bored with them like ten minutes later. But there are also other reasons why less is more. According to Full Suitcase, toys take a lot of space in your luggage, kids may find that their favorite toys are now boring and never get unpacked, there's the risk that if you have two or more kids, they will fight over the toys, and finally, toys can easily get lost or broken. You can always buy new toys at the place you're traveling to. But, as we told you, flat entertainment is the best way to go.
10 Bring: A Moisturizer To Hydrate Your Skin
Moms also want to look healthy and bright, but the canned air and the cabin pressure on the plane leaves their skin parched and dry. Along with their makeup essentials, moms should also bring a moisturizing cream they love and know will work, according to Our Next Adventure. The cream and mask should heal dry skin, hydrate it and reduce fine lines for a more youthful appearance. Not all the things moms pack have to be for their kids. They work hard and looking good helps.
9 Leave Behind: Peanut Butter
Kids love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. While they are messy to eat, it satiates your child because of all the sugar. Moms can make them ahead while still at home, and let their kids eat them when they are hungry on the plane. But unfortunately, peanut butter is banned in flight. That's because any food that can be considered a liquid is not allowed if it is more than 3.4 ounces, according to Smarter Travel. Peanut butter counts as a liquid, so do without.
8 Leave Behind (Or Don't Keep It There): Laptops in Checked Baggage
Moms usually bring laptops to get work done while traveling, but they store it in their checked bags because they don't need to use it on flight. But a laptop should be stuffed in your carry-on, as they are expensive and may break if put in checked bags, according to AirfareWatchDog. And besides, if your luggage never makes it to your destination, you'll still have your laptop. Moms who travel with kids should know that the laptop is an essential. If the laptop has a CD tray, you can bring DVDs for your kids to watch. Or you can download movies before the trip.
7 Bring: Silk Pillow and Sleep Mask
If you're on a long flight with your kid, you may find yourself exhausted from keeping them in control. So when your kid goes to sleep, you should use that time to take a nap. To make yourself comfortable, a neck pillow is essential. You should also bring a pillow or sleep mask made from silk, not cotton, which tugs at the skin. The benefits of sleeping on silk is that it helps retain the moisture in your skin and also reduces bedhead and split ends. According to Travel + Leisure, your best bet is the Slip For Beauty Sleep Silk Travel Set, which includes a silk travel pillow, silk travel pillowcase and matching sleep mask.
6 Leave Behind: Sharp, Heavy and Breakable Toys
Moms should never bring on the plane toys for their children that are sharp, heavy or that break easily. The TSA bans such items. Kids have enough entertainment to keep them busy if you bring along what we addressed. If they need something physical, then bring a stuffed animal. Children also have tablets to keep them busy, but if they have electronic games, make sure they use them only during the cruise portion of flight. Electronic games, like smartphones, can interfere with an aircraft's navigation system during take off and landing.
5 Leave Behind: Expensive Jewelry
Moms should never bring with them expensive jewelry when traveling, even if they have several formal events to go to. Here's a foolproof idea. Since the best way to pack is to bring a few outfits that you can mix and match, bring with you the essential, the little black dress. If you pair it with jewelry, it's a formal look. If you pair it with a floppy hat and wear a cardigan tied around your neck, it's an informal, day-time look. But stick with costume jewelry if you want to add something a little extra to your outfit. No one will no the difference and you won't be a target to thieves when you travel.
4 Bring: Compression Socks
Socks are the last thing on your mind when you start packing for your trip. You usually just bring white no-show cotton socks to match your sneakers for day trips. But if you are flying, compression socks are a necessity, according to The Travel Channel. Sitting for a long period of time wearing regular socks will swell your legs and also cut off the flow of blood circulation. To avoid deep vein thrombosis (also called "Economy Class Syndrome"), always wear compression socks on a flight, which will combat the problem. And don't ever go sockless on the plane; the floor is gross and doesn't get vacuumed a lot.
3 Leave Behind: Extra Beauty Products
When traveling by plane, the idea is to whittle down all your "essential" makeup, lotions and beauty products to a few that you can't travel without. Stay lean, with just the basics. According to Reader's Digest, "[Flying] isn’t a girls’ weekend or a fashion show," so that means leaving behind all your shades of lipstick. And besides, bringing too much beauty products on your carry-on may be confiscated by security since you can only bring 3 ounce bottles, and only enough that will fit in a quart size plastic bag.
2 Bring: An Extra Pair of Pajamas
Packing a spare pair of pajamas for your baby or toddler is a must. One reason is that the pajamas are more comfortable than other baby clothes, and most have footies so they can keep warm on airplanes that blast the A/C. Another reason is that it's easier to change a diaper in your plane's bathroom if all you need to do is unzipper the pajamas. Finally, a spare pair is ideal if the child gets messy from eating or from spitting up, according to Our Next Adventure.
1 Bring: Wipes
Wipes such as Baby Wipes are a must for moms who travel. You can use them to wipe down the face of your baby or child if they are messy eaters. Similarly, you can clean your child's hand or your own hands after each meal or snack to keep everyone clean. In addition, according to Money Saving Mom, bring Purell hand sanitizers, which will kill germs on contact. But the best reason to carry wipes is to clean your tray table, which is the filthiest thing on the airplane. Keeping things hygienic and clean no matter what should always be a priority.
Sources: The Today Show, Travel + Leisure, Business Insider, The Telegraph UK, USA Today, Parents, Reader's Digest, The Travel Channel, The Mom Trotter, Smarter Travel, Aha! Parenting, First Cry Parenting