Flying with kids is no easy task. However packing for a 12 hour flight with kids makes the actual flying seem like a cake walk. SO. MANY. THINGS.
I am a minimalist at heart and often lean towards the “let’s wing it” attitude over the prepared and planned mindset. BUT… I know that a successful 12 hour flight with a 4 year old and 16 month old doesn’t come from winging it. We have taken several 2-4 hour flights with the kids but never this long. I’ve researched, asked friends, and scoured the internet for all the best essential items for flying with kids for the 12 hour long haul from Atlanta to Oahu. Here is what I’ve found —>
6 KEY MUST HAVES FOR FLYING WITH KIDS
It is an inflatable travel footrest that turns the airplane seat into a toddler sized bed by filling up the space between the chair in front of you and your seat. It promises to easily turn an uncomfortable plane seat into a moderately comfortable makeshift toddler bed. 🙂 We will be putting these claims to the test – but from all that I have read it is a game changer for your kiddos on long flights.
Update – THIS IS CRUCIAL. After our 12 hours of flying to OAHU this is one of my must haves. It also helps keep toys off the plane floor too. Seriously so useful for many different things!
2. Comfy headphones + IPAD.
The iPad or other tablet devices are a must have for us. Once we have run through the entire stash of little dollar store toys in their backpacks, we bring out the big guns. Paying the extra $8 to have in-flight wi-fi is also well worth the money in my opinion. We load up both our tablets as full as they can get with pre-downloaded shows, movies and games, but having the ability to watch over wifi is huge.
There is a great reading and interactive book app called EPIC that we love. It is perfect for when the shows no longer hold their attention and they need a little more brain engagement. Its a free 1 month subscription so you can just subscribe the same month you’re planning on traveling. However, I have found that my kids love it and we use it daily.
I also ordered them two types of headphones. The headband kind and the over the ear kind. I am interested to see what works best. We will be bringing both on this first long trip to Oahu in the name of testing it out. We have got another Hawaii trip in November and several other things on the horizon so I want to have a battle of the headphones and truly see what works best for each of my kiddos.
UPDATE: The Cozyphones ( soft headband kind) were 100% the winner. Doubles as a sleep mask too! The kids both kept these on for long periods of time and even June didn’t fuss with them too much. PTL.
3. Snacks on Snacks on Snacks
There’s nothing worse than a HANGRY TODDLER WITH PENT UP ENERGY. AMIRIGHT?!
You can bring whatever food you need to through security in your carry on, and if you have a baby ( visibly baby-ish, under 2 years old) They will let you bring liquids like breastmilk, cows milk, water, etc in bottles for them. You will have to submit to it being tested with a dipstick test, but I have never had an issue with it in the past, and most of the nice TSA lady agents will not even dip it in, but hold it over the top just to test the vapors.
So- BRING THE SNACKS. BRING THE MILK. And for an instant air freshener for those poopy diaper moments + satisfying toddler snack, bring clemetines! Peel them on the plane for a happiness boosting smell and easy nutritious snack.
Usually a ridiculous luxury in everyday life, but an absolute necessity on the plane. Munchkin makes great pacifier wipes that are about $3 per pack at Target, and Medela makes bottle cleaning wipes that run a little pricer but totally worth it. Skip washing their bottles in the airplane bathroom sink, and have the ability to safely/ naturally sanitize the bajillion toys they will drop on the nasty airplane floor and want to put back in their mouths.
I looooove our mini Gathre mat for plane/ airports. However, any wipeable mat or blanket would do. I love that I can lay it down on any surface and have a safe space for my baby to sit/ lay/ play and that I can easily pick it up and wipe it down. Kids touch everything – and as much as I might sound like a germaphobe, there are some nasty things out there in airports and we have managed thus far to avoid getting sick while traveling so… pick your battles right?
6. THE YUMMI GO
Maybe the best baby product ever invented. This portable highchair/ plane seat/ lunchbox/ diaper bag is the BEST FREAKING THING we ever bought off amazon. Worth every penny 100 times over. Its a little portable pop up seat that you can attach to any chair ( plane seats included) and it provides a restrained place for baby to sit. Small enough to shove in a tote bag or carry on- and you can use the base of it for storing food, or diapers or any other baby needs. Literally the best $32 we ever spent. And we have had ours for 4 years now and its still going strong.
7. HONORABLE MENTION: EMPTY PLASTIC BAGS OR GROCERY BAGS
It may sound strange, but trust me, you’ll most likely need them. So handy for any soiled clothes, diapers, extra trash, putting the dirty toys in, or catching the 3 rounds of vomit from your motion sick pre-schooler. ( OMG THIS WAS THE WORST) BUT.. my bags sure came in handy.
So this is by no means the full comprehensive list of everything that we are packing or bringing, but in the name of minimalism and simplicity – If I had to boil it down- these would be the 6 things I’d bring on my trip. Everything else you can sort of improvise and wing with what is available in the flight and airports, but when facing TWO upcoming TWELVE HOUR flights with two kids 4 and under, I have identified my workhorses and these are them!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found it valuable! I’ll be sharing more about what we are packing and how we are hauling it all in the next week or so as we prepare to leave.
I’d love to know what you think and if you have any “must haves” that you’ve come to rely on when traveling with young kids!