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What to Pack in a Kid’s Travel Bag

Long gone are the days when airlines gave out neat stuff like games, stuffed toys, and visits to the pilot to children. Now, you have to fend for yourself. So here’s what to pack in your kid’s travel bag to make travelling a little easier on everyone. 

Batteries / Power Pack

If your child has electronic entertainment, make sure it stays charged. Pack either batteries or a fully charged power pack. Note that power packs are allowed in carry-on bags but typically not allowed in check-in bags. 


If the thought of your child bugging you for an iPad cable while you’re trying to take a nap is stressful, make sure you get them their own cables. Value brand cables are probably fine. 

Earphones or Headphones (And Backups) 

A cramped airplane isn’t much fun for anyone, but it’s a good space to teach kids to be mindful and considerate of others. After all, the next row over probably doesn’t want to hear the exploits of Paw Patrol. So be sure to pack ear buds or over-the-ear headphones. And pack backups, since ear buds are both easy to lose and essential. Again, value brand ear buds are probably fine for this. Note that over-the-ear headphones may be easier to use and perhaps a little safer for very small children. 

Refillable Water Bottle

No good comes of dehydration. Most airports now have dedicated water bottle filling stations next to their water fountains at departure gates, so take advantage and pack an (empty) refillable water bottle. 

Change of Clothes 

You never know when a layover might get extended or when airsickness might make an unfortunate appearance. Plus, a fresh change of clothes can make an extended travel day a little more bearable.


Lots of small children don’t know how to pop their ears yet. Chewing gum can help make altitude changes a little more agreeable. 


Lots of people don’t realize this, but if you’re travelling domestically you’re allowed to pack solid food items. Things like sandwiches, chips, and fresh fruit are perfectly acceptable. For more information, check the CATSA/ACSTA’s guidelines on travelling with solid food. Note that if you’re travelling internationally, you’ll probably have to have gotten rid of your food by the time you get to customs. Be sure to check the regulations of your destination before you travel. 

What Shouldn’t Go in a Kid’s Bag

Depending on their age, kids shouldn’t be in charge of certain things. For example, iPads are great child entertainment devices, but it’s probably safer that they live in a parent’s carry-on. Medication, boarding passes, and expensive electronics are best left to a parent. Noisy toys, messy toys, food with a powerful odour, food with a common allergen (like peanut butter), and toys that resemble weapons should be left at home. 

The Activity Bag Strategy 

Here’s a tip we got from a seasoned traveller. It’s especially handy on long haul flights. Pack a small carry-on bag full of snacks, puzzles, games, colouring books, and other activities. Don’t give them out all at once. Instead, ration them over time. That way, you can stave off boredom and keep your child entertained.