Many of you know that I was an expat and flew long-haul with my infant and then toddler by myself from Hong Kong to San Diego more times than I can count. Flying with kids is always made easier with the right gear.

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Ziploc Bags For Packing The Carry-On

I always pack extra clothes and diapers for my daughter in my carry on bags, especially on a long-haul flight, because you never know if an orange juice is going to tip over or what kind of accident is waiting to happen. My daughter had acid reflux, I also packed extra, small cloths as there are times (turbulence, take off and landing) when other napkins or towels aren’t available.

I compress clothes, blankets, and cloths tightly into Ziploc bags. I squeeze every spare speck of air out of the bags so I can fit more stuff in my carry-on and when a disaster occurs, a sealed trash bag is available. For example, when my daughter had a reflux incident, I sealed her dirty clothes in a Ziploc bag. On long-haul flights, where there’s time for tons to go wrong, I believe Ziplocs are totally key to survival.

Skip Hop Pronto Diaper Changing Mat

I can’t begin to tell you how many scenarios in which I’ve used the Skip Hop Pronto Diaper Changing Kit–restaurants, my car, airplanes, the park, friends’ houses, and more. All sides easily disinfect, and you can find them all over the place, from Target to Land of Nod. Let’s face it, public restrooms and airplane changing tables can be gross. Not only that, but if you have a large baby or toddler, they will find the airplane changing tables uncomfortable. The top part (solid pink in the photo) folds over to serve as a pillow which, believe it or not, helped me a great deal.

Disposable Diaper Bags

If you’re flying with kids and have to change a diaper in an airplane bathroom, everyone on the plane will thank you for using a disposable diaper bag. I don’t care what’s in the diaper. It’s your duty for the sake of the rest of the airplane passengers. There’s nothing worse than trying to throw away your paper towel to discover you’re pushing the trashcan lid down on a dirty diaper. Yes, that’s happened to me. And, these help with the smell.

The Arm & Hammer by Munchkin Diaper Bag Dispenser with Bags, Lavender Scent can be clipped onto your diaper bag or changing mat. It’s small and fairly easy to unroll. Put the diaper in it, tie the top in a knot, and—voila.

You may also buy Munchkin Arm and Hammer Bag Refills. I will warn that it is tempting for young kids to totally unroll these colorful bags, keeping them out of reach.  Eco-friendly parents might prefer Summer Infant – Biodegradable Diaper Sacks. They are scented, too, and a biodegradable diaper disposal bag. I had to order mine online.


This may be a hard to find item if you’re leaving in the next day or so, but buy it if you happen to see one in a store. Otherwise, you’ll need to order a Melissa & Doug Trunki online. Basically, your kids can pack it, pull it and ride on it (with you pulling) when you need to rush. It’s brilliant and La Jolla Girl loves hers. It fits under an economy class seat perfectly and even serves as a good footrest.

Portable DVD/iPhone/iPad

Anything that will play a movie, TV shows or games is imperative for kids that are old enough. I started flying with a DVD player as soon as La Jolla Girl could sit up. Take the plunge and buy an external battery if you’re not on a plane with a plug. However, I always bring an external battery regardless airplane plugs don’t always work. There is nothing worse than the freak out that may occur after your kid’s device powers down in the middle of a show.

Triangle Crayons

If you don’t want to constantly pick up crayons and markers off the floor, get triangle crayons. They don’t roll. I know they can be expensive but they are worth it. We like Melissa & Doug Jumbo Triangular Crayons, but any will do as long as they are washable.

Wikki Stix

I love that some restaurants in La Jolla hand these out to kids. They kept my daughter occupied for long periods of time during takeoff and landing when she was just over 1 year old. She still loves them. They do not leave residue on tray tables. You may buy an activity set where kids can connect dots and more with the Wikki Stix. However, this is probably too advanced for kids under 2. The paper in this photo comes with the pack of regular Wikki Stix and is more than fine for really young kids.

Antibacterial Wipes Or Spray

Wipe down everything you think your child may touch. The one time I didn’t do that on a long haul flight, My daughter almost wound up in the hospital with an aggressive flu. It’s better to be safe than sorry and worth the odd look or two you might receive while doing it.

Flying With Kids Tips

I have written down every single piece of advice I have in my series about flying long-haul with young kids, if you’re lucky enough to be traveling overseas.

And with that, I wish you all safe travels and upgrade karma.

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. These are great suggestions! Especially the trunki and Wikki sticks. I just posted about my first time flying with my 2 young kids (2 years and 7 months). The title is “How to Survive Meltdowns, Panic Attacks, Delays & 2nd Degree Burns at the Airport”. Need I say more?

  2. I haven’t ready your ebook, so I don’t know if these are in it. We fly to Boston quite often and have found the CARES child aviation restraint system to be so helpful!! I was able to strap both kids in, in record time without lugging 2 carseats onto the plane with 2 kids in tow! It’s the only FAA approved system.

  3. Great advice! We LOVED Ziplock bags when my son was just post-diaper stage on planes for, what we called “pee bags”. 🙂 There are times when you just may NOT get out of our plane seat, and when a toddler has to go, they have to GO. I figure, I was blessed with a boy, so why not take advantage of that? He always has a window seat, so he could stand up, face the window, I held the bag, & he could go. Then I double-ziplock-bagged it, put it in my bag & disposed of it once we could get to a bathroom. I can’t tell you HOW many times this has saved us!

  4. Thanks much for the awesome tips!!! I am definitely going to follow your advice as our family is about to embark on a year long travel adventure which will include at least two 13 hour flights. 🙂
    I love the wiki stick idea! Thanks again!