Long Haul Flights with Children. What I Pack in Their Carry Ons.

Long Haul flights can be anxiety provoking when we travel alone but add a few kids to the mix, only one parent and many of us would choose to avoid the scenario all together! Sometimes though, we know a pot of gold is waiting for us on the other side so we have to make the best of it. I recently flew on my own from London to San Diego with our three kids and I put a ton of thought into what we packed. It’s important that our children have more than screen time so I packed lots of activities and accessories to ensure they will be entertained and comfortable enough to sleep!

Here is a video of the stuff we schlepped with us with descriptions and links on the left.

Our 10 year old has a 15 liter Fjallraven High Coast Kids backpack which I can’t find on the U.S. page. Here is the link to the pack on the U.K page and I have included a similar size pack from Cotopaxi that I think would work great for older kids. We loaded her bag with Two Usborne Sticker Dolly Dressing Books, her soft and cozy baby blanket (which she still loves), a wrap around sleep mask (I like these better because the elastic doesn’t get caught behind their ears or pop off their head), a change of clothes (just in case), an inflatable neck pillow, and her own water bottle. 

Our six year old is using his sister’s old rolley bag. Here is the link to the brand and bag we purchased. The colors aren’t my favorite but the bag, so far, is indestructible. I love the rolling backpacks for younger children because they can be independent without getting tired. We use a Plane Pal on long flights because it turns the seat into a bed and can be used as a great foot rest. I love stretching my legs out so this is an awesome addition to long flights. There are many different options that are less expensive on Amazon. I will link to one here. However I have not tried it so I can’t guarantee that they will work the same way. It’s also important to double check that the airline you are flying allows this type of accessory. Cedar also has his cozy baby blanket, which he still loves. On this flight, I tried a new product called Seat To Sleep which is an inflatable U-shaped pillow. I really liked this product and because it’s so small we can take it on shorter flights too. Check out the pictures below for how we used it. Cedar also had the same sleep mask as Sage, a change of clothes, and his own water bottle. I love these water bottles. Both of our boys have one and at 350ml/11oz they are the perfect size for younger children.

Our three year old carried his own Fjallraven Kanken Kids Mini stuffed with his cozy baby blanket (this has been a favorite brand for 10 years. They have the softest stuff), an eye mask (I couldn’t find a wrap one for our littlest so this eye mask was my choice. I don’t love it but it did the trick), a water bottle, wipes, and change of clothes. I like the Fjallraven mini backpack but only for the 3 and unders. It’s very small but works well when your child wants to feel independent but doesn’t actually need to carry much stuff.

Because the kid’s bags were pretty full. I loaded my 28 liter Patagonia Arbor Lid Day Pack (which is on sale!) with a few more sticker books, crayons, colored pencils, and markers (because our kids love art and each kid prefers using different things), a folder with paper (which takes up much less space than a full pad), a Nature Origami Book, and On The Plane Activity Book which we LOVE. My sister in law gave me this book two years ago and we are still using it on flights. It’s awesome.

Here are pictures of how our children used their Seat to Sleep. It worked great!

What do your children like to do on the plane? Tell me in the comments and please share this post with a friend! Happy adventuring!

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