Traveling with Sloan is one of my favorite things to do. To be able to see her explore foreign parts of the world at such a young age is incredible, but that doesn't mean it's without its challenges (any mom knows that!). Earlier in the year, I shared how I approach packing for international trips, but I didn't include the essentials in her carry-on. When I pack for Sloan's carry-on, I like to prepare for everything and anything in order to avoid potential boredom, tears, or sleepless flights. Here's what I include:
1. Change of Clothes: I pack these just because you never know what can happen (plane delays, spilled food, etc.). I like to have everything from socks, shoes, an extra sweatshirt, and a pair of leggings ready to go, especially if our luggage is lost!
2. Sequin Pencil Case: To avoid color pencils spilling all over the place, I pack her little sequin pouch full of all her art supplies. This entertains her for most of the plane ride and is easy to clean up when she gets bored.
3. Tiny Notepad: This index-card sized notepad has easily rippable pages perfect for designing a little phone (Sloan loves to "make calls") or writing notes to friends.
4. Coloring Books: Sloan's favorites are usually princess themed, and I love how busy these will keep her. Plus, I can occasionally color along too.
5. iPad: At home, we limit Sloan's screentime to make sure she spends enough time reading or playing outside. On trips though, we know that an iPad is the best way to entertain her during rough layovers or long flights. With her headphones and protective case, we can set her up with one of her favorite downloaded shows and let her sit and enjoy.
6. Fun Snacks and Bentgo Lunchbox: All rules go out the window when you're traveling. Of course, we have some nutritional things like apples, cheese, and granola bars, but we also bring bagels with cream cheese and a bag of goldfish. This way, if there's a delay or she's hungry because of a time difference, we're totally prepared.
7. Frozen Waterbottle: I always have her refillable water bottle on hand to refill during touring or especially hot days.
8. Lollipops: On one of our first flights with Sloan, she was uncontrollably crying during landing. At the time, we didn't know what she needed, but then an incredibly kind mother sent up a lollipop from a few rows back. The sucking relieved the pressure on her ears, allowing them to pop. Now, I never fly without lollipops to ensure that Sloan and the kids around me are completely covered.
9. 3 Fun Toys: I secretly pack three toys that I present to her on the trip, whether we're in line at security, when there's a delay at takeoff, or at any point in the flight when she's feeling restless. The toys are never over the top, but unwrapping a little doll or new coloring book is exciting enough to distract from any travel annoyances.
10. Light blanket: A light, muslin blanket is perfect for traveling since it isn't heavy in the bag, can be rolled up as a pillow when you need it, or can be lightly draped over her body for sleeping.
11. Honest Wipes: Kids make a mess, and you don't want to be caught without wipes to fix the problem. If we have an accidental spill, we're covered.
12. Little Bags of Toys: When we travel, we want to make sure Sloan is as comfortable as possible while G and I are exploring and trying new things. For example, at dinner, we pull out a little bag of her mice friends or little figurines she loves to play with at home. She's entertained, and we can enjoy our night. Other toys we bring for the hotel or to keep in her backpack are her fake cell phone, Anna and Elsa dolls, Japanese tiny fake foods, and her little critters.
13. Magazine: Kid's magazines are exorbitantly expensive ($8!), but it's a great entertainment option for the flight back. I always pick up a princess magazine at a kiosk and never regret it, since she's thoroughly entertained by her new gift. Plus, the magazines usually come with puzzles and crafts that you can tear out and do together.
14. Favorite Stuffed Animal: I'm always slightly nervous to bring her favorite stuffed animal in case she leaves it behind by accident, but having the one she sleeps with every night is great for getting her to sleep in a new, uncomfortable place.
15. Paperback Books: I usually grab five to ten paperbacks for the trip (these are Sloan's favorites) since G and I read to Sloan every night, and we don't want that to change just because we're on vacation. This way, she feels comfortable, in her routine, and ready to sleep by the end of the story.
16. Children's Benadryl/Motrin/ Tylenol: I technically keep these with my things, but it's essential to travel with medicine. God forbid she starts to feel ill, we have this on hand instead of stowed away in the checked baggage.